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Top Schools for Medical Ethics and Bioethics

Find out which top schools offer programs in medical ethics and bioethics. Read about the degree options at three high-ranking universities, and get an idea of what other schools in the U.S. teach students how to handle the controversial issues associated with medicine and biology.

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Schools with medical ethics and bioethics programs often approach the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, offering classes in philosophy, the humanities, public policy and human rights. Instruction and training takes place at the graduate level and can lead to a Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); individual universities also offer dual-degree programs through their medical and law schools.

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School Information

Noteworthy programs in this field can be found at the schools featured below, each of which earned a high ranking from U.S. News & World Report for 2017. One school also offers bioethics as a focus area in its Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program.

Brown University in Providence, RI

School Highlight: Included at this school is the School of Public Health and the Alpert Medical School.

The Alpert Medical School at Brown offers a concentration in medical ethics through its M.D. program. Once enrolled, students take a course on special topics in medical humanities. They also participate in monthly seminars, during which time they discuss readings and case studies. U.S. News & World Report ranked Brown #14 among national universities for 2017.

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH

School Highlight: From the school's Department of Bioethics, five dual-degree programs are offered.

The Department of Bioethics offers both Master of Arts and Ph.D. programs, as well as dual-degree options for medical, law, nursing and public health students. Aspiring professionals enrolled in the master's degree program have the opportunity to work at a medical center and gain hands-on experience in clinical ethics. Students can also choose study abroad options for the short-term. The school was ranked tied at #37 among national universities for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report.

New York University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Areas of focus include environmental or clinical ethics.

Through the College of Global Public Health at NYU, students can earn a Master of Arts in Bioethics degree. Over the course of this year-long program, students take foundational bioethics courses as well as electives in topics such as health policy, environmental law and philosophy of biology. They must also complete a practicum in the field. For 2017, NYU was ranked #36 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Medical Ethics and Bioethics Program

Here are some more universities with particularly strong Medical Ethics and Bioethics offerings:

  • Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, publishes Atrium, which reports on the Medical Humanities and Bioethics programs.
  • Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, MO, offers an undergraduate minor and Ph.D. program through its Albert Gnaegi Center of Health Care Ethics.
  • At the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, the Master of Bioethics program offers an additional certificate in clinical ethics mediation.
  • At Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, students can complete a traditional thesis or write a report based on an internship or practicum experience.

For students who are interested in medical ethics and bioethics, some universities offer full degree programs in the field. Others cover these topics through minor and concentration options.

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