Issues concerning the ethical, legal, and social implications of advances in biotechnology and biomedicine are increasingly arising both in the United States and abroad. From stem cell research to healthcare reform, these topics involve critical dilemmas at the intersections of law, society, culture, public policy, philosophy, religion, economics, and history.

Scientists, healthcare providers, and policy-makers confront how to approach these complex questions, yet scientific and technological advances have far outpaced our ability to understand or make key decisions about these issues.

The Master of Science in Bioethics, part of Columbia University’s Programs in Bioethics, which also include an Online Certification of Professional Achievement and Online Noncredit Courses, grounds students in historical, philosophical, legal, and social-scientific approaches and models to address bioethical challenges. The program prepares students to work in various capacities within this new and ever-growing field, and includes a concentration in global bioethics – the first of its kind in the United States.

Students can study with faculty from across the University and draw on the extraordinary resources of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the schools of Law, Journalism, Nursing and International and Public Affairs, and the Arts and Sciences.

Who Should Apply

The Bioethics program is appropriate for students who are interested in working in various capacities in biomedical and health-related areas. The program includes and benefits four types of students:

  • Recent undergraduates who plan to work in the healthcare profession and are interested in bioethical issues, such as medical ethics. Students will have a diverse range of backgrounds, and may have majored in the social sciences, the humanities, or the sciences.
  • Pre-med students who wish to strengthen their application to medical school by adding the breadth and experience of Columbia’s bioethics program to their curriculum vitae, while also enriching their eventual training in medicine with a grounding in critical ethical issues and perspectives.
  • Graduate students in fields such as medicine, science, business, law, public affairs or journalism who wish to combine their training with the study of bioethics.
  • Professionals in healthcare or related fields such as law, medicine, nursing, or related industries, who are interested in enhancing their skills and problem-solving abilities concerning bioethical issues.


Participants in any of Columbia University’s courses in Bioethics can obtain Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit.

Accreditation Statement
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The College of Physicians and Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 19.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

More program options in bioethics

Online Certification of Professional Achievement in Bioethics

Ideal for healthcare professionals and medical practitioners, researchers, IRB members, attorneys, educators, and others interested in the field, including patients and their kin who have confronted bioethical issues.

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Noncredit Courses Online

An ideal option for busy professionals, who may hone in on a point of interest and select one or more courses from the certification to take on a noncredit basis.

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