36 points for degree completion On campus or online
Part-time or full-time program* Fall intake only
3-6 terms to complete**  
Master’s Thesis

* International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. In addition, if studying on a student visa, you must enroll full-time (12 credits per term) and study on campus.
** Three years maximum.

The 36-point program is composed of five core courses, six electives chosen from the University course offerings, and a master’s thesis. Students are assigned to a primary faculty advisor, with whom they work closely to design an individualized program that best meets their needs. Students may then focus, if they choose, on one of a variety of areas, including clinical ethics, research ethics, neuroethics, reproductive ethics, environmental ethics, or other realms.

It is recommended that students take the Philosophy of Bioethics before the Introduction to Clinical Ethics and Global Ethics. Additional course work includes six electives chosen from the University course offerings. Students must take three total electives in law/policy and ethics (with at least one in law/policy and one in ethics), one elective in social science methods, and are strongly encouraged to take one in genetics and, depending on their interest, one in environmental science. These electives may be taken at any time.

Students are required to complete a thesis, working closely with one of the program's core and/or affiliated faculty members, due in the student's final semester. Thesis assignments are based, as much as possible, on the student's main areas of interest within bioethics and are intended to be a serious independent work of scholarship. Topics are chosen in close consultation with the student’s core faculty advisor, or with members of the Advisory Board and faculty affiliates.

The M.S. in Bioethics is offered on both a full and part-time basis, but either option demands a serious commitment of time and energy. Students are expected to devote significant time to completing reading and class assignments, and papers outside of class. Students may hold a full-time job simultaneously, but should bear in mind the significant demands of the program.

Depending on the individual course of study, students may complete the program in one academic year or in a maximum of three years, if the program is done on a part-time basis.

Of the five core courses, two or three are offered each fall and two or three are offered each spring, and each core course is offered at least once each academic year. The core courses are not offered during the summer, but students may take electives during that time. During the academic year, core courses meet once per week in person or online. Most courses are offered in the evening, between 4:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. EST. Elective courses vary depending on the semester.

Students should expect to spend an average of eight hours per week on readings, or attendance at outside meetings (e.g. hospital ethics committee meetings) for each core class. The number of hours that the master’s thesis will require varies widely, depending on the student, and the specific project. Some projects may entail collection of data, while others may rely on scholarly sources, and the time estimates of each of these may vary depending in part on the difficulty of locating appropriate sources.

In order to receive the master's degree in Bioethics, students must complete all requirements for the degree with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better.

San Francisco Option

This part-time program option combines core coursework in two formats: three-day and four-day blocks of intensive study in San Francisco at the beginning of each semester, and synchronous online courses offered during weeknights. Intensive study features coursework, guest lectures, networking, group projects, and extracurricular activities.*

* Schedule subject to change.

This diagram illustrates the program’s San Francisco option timeline and sequence of intensive study and courses. (click to enlarge.)
San Francisco Option Course Sequence
Research Ethics
Philosophy of Bioethics
Law and Bioethics
Global Ethics
E-Health, Ethics, and Policy
Neuroscience & Ethics
Introduction to Clinical Ethics
Master’s Thesis


Jump to information regarding:

Course Schedule: Fall 2018

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.   Introduction to Clinical Ethics (Online)      
12:10 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Health Policy & Bioethics       Master’s Thesis Workshop
12:10 p.m.–2:40 p.m.       Philosophy of Bioethics  
4:10 p.m.–6:00 p.m.       Research Ethics  
4:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.   Clinical Ethics Consultation (Online) Science for Bioethicists (Online)    
5:30 p.m.–7:20 p.m. Pastoral Care & Ethics        
6:10 p.m.–8:00 p.m.     Philosophy of Bioethics (Online)    
6:15 p.m.–7:45 p.m.   Research Ethics (Online)      
7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Philosophy of Bioethics (Online)        
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.   Advanced Clinical Ethics: End of Life Care (Online)      
8:10 p.m.–10:00 p.m.     Journalism and Bioethics (Online)    

Course Schedule: Spring 2019

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.       Introduction to Clinical Ethics (Online, 10:00–11:30 a.m.)  
12:10–2:00 p.m. Law and Bioethics (In-Person) Introduction to Clinical Ethics (In-Person) Reproductive Ethics (Online, 11:00AM-1:00PM) Reproductive Ethics (Online, 12:00–2:00 p.m.) Master’s Thesis Workshop (Online, 12:00–2:00 p.m.)
2:10–4:00 p.m.     Introduction to Empirical Research in Bioethics (In-Person)    
4:10–6:00 p.m. Organ Transplant Ethics (In-Person)     Global Ethics (In Person)  
6:00–7:30 p.m.          
6:30–8:00 p.m. Global Bioethics (Online)        
7:45–9:45 p.m.   Law and Bioethics (Online) Philosophy of Bioethics (Online)    
8:00–10:00 p.m.       Advanced Clinical Ethics (Online)  
8:30–10:00 p.m. Health Policy & Bioethics (Online)        
Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions.
Bioethics Core Courses
Bioethics Elective Courses
Bioethics Master’s Thesis

BIET PS5320. Philosophy of Bioethics. 3 pts.


In contemporary bioethics, we find ourselves grappling with practically important, and at the same time, philosophically fundamental questions such as: What is health and why is it especially important? When does someone’s life begin and how should it end? What is the proper role of physicians, nurses and other health care providers and what are the rights of their patients? What is a just and fair way to provide access to health-care services and resources? In a society committed to protecting a diversity of lifestyles and opinions, how can citizens resolve policy controversies such as whether there should be public funding of human embryonic stem cell research, or a legally protected right to physician assistance in ending one’s life?

The aims of this course are to identify the fundamental ethical questions that underlie contemporary biomedical practice; develop skill in analyzing and clarifying key concepts such as health, disease and disability; critically assess the health-care implications of different ethical outlooks; and finally, to explore how citizens can reasonably resolve controversial bioethical issues in a mutually respectful way.

The course meets once a week in two-hour sessions. In-class discussions play a key role as students explore, in a give-and-take spirit, the pros and cons of each position.

This course is designed for medical students and for students at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level in biology, philosophy, political science, public health, law and other related fields. Course requirements include readings, participation in class discussions, a five-to-six page midterm paper and a final paper of approximately 12-15 pages.

BIET PS5330. Law and Bioethics. (BIET PS5330. Law and Bioethics – Online) 3 pts.


This course introduces students to selected legal and policy texts that have addressed issues in bioethics and shaped their development. Students will explore and contrast legal reasoning and bioethical analysis, often of the same issues. By the end of the course, students will understand the legal or regulatory status of selected issues and have begun to independently navigate major legal, regulatory, and policy texts. Individual sessions will be focused around particular issues or questions that have been addressed by (usually) American courts and/or in legislation, regulation or policy, and that have been the subject of scholarship and debate within bioethics.

The course begins with a theoretical look at the relationship between law and ethics, and includes a brief introduction to legal decision-making and policy development. We then survey a range of bioethics issues that have been addressed by the courts and/or in legislation, regulation, or significant policy documents, contrasting and comparing legal argument and reasoning with arguments utilized in the bioethics literature.

BIET PS5340. Reproductive Ethics. 3 pts.


This course will examine critical ethical issues posed by developments in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as /in vitro /fertilization (IVF); buying and selling human eggs and sperms; hiring "gestational surrogates" (i.e., "renting wombs"). These practices have helped millions of people to have children, but also raise serious moral concerns: e.g., about the scope of procreative autonomy, the status of the human embryo, the limits of legitimate state authority.

This course will explore the extent to which citizens with different points of view can nevertheless address these challenging issues in a mutually respectful way and thereby arrive at clearer and deeper understandings of what is at issue.Wherever possible, we will also strive to uncover significant (but sometimes not immediately apparent) common ground, in the hope of thereby reducing the areas of disagreement.

BIET PS5360. Environmental Ethics. 3 pts.


The environment affects human health and well-being, and current health-care technology can impact the environment. Thus, questions about how humans ought to relate both to their own environment and to other living beings on this planet fall squarely within the field of bioethics. While some observers may see bioethics as concerning only the health of human beings defined narrowly, bioethics in fact has many implications for the larger biosphere and vice versa. This course will thus address a number of fundamentally important ethical questions posed by environmental concern.

BIET PS5380. E-Health, Ethics and Policy. 3 pts.


Clinical medicine and research are undergoing rapid changes, due to technological, digital, and genetic advances that allow for unprecedented amounts of data collection and individual monitoring. Likewise, capabilities to store, transfer, and query private health information have also increased. Technologies also allow different mediums for patients to interact with providers and health data, including patient portals, direct texting, health-related apps, and video conferencing. These powerful technologies will certainly result in health benefits on individual and public health/societal levels, but they also raise ethical concerns.

For students in the Master’s of Bioethics program, it is important to keep up with these changes, and identify and analyze the ethical issues raised by new e-health, digital health, and telemedicine technologies. In this course, students will engage with speakers, assigned readings, and writing assignments to formulate recommendations on how our society can productively harness the power of these tools while simultaneously upholding the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Specifically, students will evaluate concerns about quality and delivery of care, privacy/confidentiality, control and use of data, and access, and propose best practices for the use of e-health technologies from patient/consumer, clinical care, research, and public health perspectives.

This elective course complements the Core Courses in the M.S. in Bioethics Program by exploring how bioethical issues arise as a result of rapidly changing technological capabilities in e-health, m-health and telemedicine.

This three-credit course will meet for twelve online sessions, 1.5 hours each time, for lecture and discussion, each aiming for in-depth analysis, debate, and discussion of topics at the intersection of e-health and ethics. The class format is a combination of lecture and seminar. Students should come to each session prepared to engage with each other and with the instructor and to offer their questions, comments, insights, and analyses.

BIET PS5370. Pastoral Care & Ethics. 3 pts.


This course is for students with an interest in developing the skills to see and hear how the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects combine and impact bioethics interactions; to explore the ways in which elements of pastoral care can be integrated into the field of bioethics in order to inform decision-making concerning issues of illness and end-of-life. Through reading, discussion and practical application this course will investigate how spiritual and existential perspectives can impact the process of health care decisions and how they can inform and animate the bioethical understandings and practices in consultation and other endeavors.

The syllabus is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the practice of pastoral care, the responsibilities of pastoral caregivers, and definitions of spirituality; and an introduction to the influences of spirituality in decision-making around end of life, goals of care, pain, organ donation, family conflict, sharing and withholding of health related information, conflict among the medical team; and provider compassion fatigue.

BIET PS5400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics. (BIET PS5400. Introduction to Clinical Ethics – Online) 3 pts.


While this course is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of clinical ethics and the basic terminology and framework of ethical analysis in biomedical ethics, it offers a more sociological perspective, putting the contemporary clinical issues into a broader context. We will look briefly at the development of clinical ethics and its impact on hospital care and doctor-patient relationships, on the prevailing autonomy norm and its critique. The course then focuses on issues encountered in clinical practice such as informed consent, patient capacity, decision-making, end of life, advance directives, medical futility, pediatrics ethics, maternal-fetal conflicts, organ transplantation, cultural competence and diversity of beliefs and others. The course will examine the role of the clinical ethics consultant (CEC) and assignments will mimic the work that CECs may perform in the hospital setting.

Over the span of the semester, students become familiar with the ethical questions surrounding major topics in the clinic with a practical case-based approach toward ethics dilemmas and ethics consultation. During the semester, students in New York attend a meeting of the adult or pediatric ethics committees of New York Presbyterian and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital or another area hospital, as well as ethics lectures given at the medical center.

Students are expected to complete five case write-ups using a template that will be given by the instructor. Students will be using these cases to refine and hone their ethical analysis skills and to show their knowledge of law, policy and ethical principles and how they might apply to each situation.

BIET PS5430. Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. 3 pts.


This intensive one-week summer course will examine some of the major components and drivers of the drug development process and associated ethical issues. It will feature an array of well-known guest lecturers from across academia, industry, and regulatory bodies. During this course you will identify the most salient and enduring ethical issues for the pharmaceutical industry, and engage in a concerted and collaborative effort to brainstorm solutions and move forward the conversation and the field.

BIET PS5460. Health Policy and Bioethics. 3 pts.


This course introduces students to how healthcare policy is created and implemented in the United States and abroad, while also raising critical ethical issues surrounding healthcare policy for the US, and other industrialized as well as poorer nations. Through lectures, discussions, and readings from the current literature, we will explore the political processes and concerns which produce our current policy; examine the major issues being debated surrounding the creation and delivery of healthcare, including ethical issues; explore the process by which we induce biomedical progress and development; explore barriers to sound healthcare production and delivery in various countries, and examine the recent reforms wrought through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In addition, we will spend a few units looking, in detail, at the unusual challenges posed in delivering healthcare to the poor and the elderly.

BIET PS5440. Global Ethics (BIET PS5440. Global Ethics – Online). 3 pts.


Increasingly, issues of medical research and clinical care are posing complex ethical issues not only in the United States, but in other countries in both the industrialized and the developing world. Yet varying economic, political, social, cultural and historical contexts shape these issues. In diverse contexts in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America, practices and policies, along with cultures and moral values differ enormously. Yet ethical issues are arising not in isolation, but as part of global communities and discourses. In research, multi-national pharmaceutical companies are increasingly conducting studies in both industrialized countries and the developing world, posing numerous ethical tensions. In clinical care, uses of reproductive technologies differ across national borders, leading to “reproductive tourism”. End of life care varies widely, reflecting in part differing attitudes toward death and dying. This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, medical, and historical roots and implications of these issues. Course requirements are a short, five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay or a more academic paper and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages.

This course meets for two hours a week for a lecture and discussion, facilitating in-depth analysis and debate of these vital areas. Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay, or a more academic paper, and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages. This course can fulfill the requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research that the National Institute of Health and other funders currently mandate for training programs that they support.

BIET PS5450. Research Ethics. 3 pts.


In recent years, many crucial issues have arisen concerning research ethics. Scientists in biomedicine, social science and other areas, as well as policy makers face rapidly evolving challenges. In recent years, violations of research ethics have attracted attention from the public, the media, the government, and the scientific community, which have all responded in varying ways. Issues arise in deciding how best to protect human subjects, obtain informed consent, protect privacy and confidentiality, finance research without biasing results, and avoid “misbehavior” among scientists. Questions arise concerning the professional responsibilities and rights of scientists, the rights of study participants, and the appropriate role of the state in these matters.

This course meets for two hours a week for a lecture and discussion, facilitating in-depth analysis and debate of these vital areas. Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a five-page paper that may be either an “Op-Ed” type essay, or a more academic paper, and a written assignment of approximately 15-20 pages. This course can fulfill the requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research that the National Institute of Health and other funders currently mandate for training programs that they support.

BIET PS5350. Topics in Neuroscience and Ethics (BIET PS5350. Neuroscience & Ethics – Online). 3 pts.


In this course, students will examine ethical, social, legal, and philosophical issues related to developments in the neurosciences, sometimes referred to as neuroethics. This field includes both the ethics of neuroscience (e.g, applied topics, such as the responsible conduct of neuroscience research or the acceptable limits of using new technologies) and the neuroscience of ethics (the use of neuroscience to inform theoretical questions, e.g., regarding moral reasoning or justifications for punishment).

Sessions will be organized under three main themes: “In the Clinic,” “In the Courtroom,” and “In Society.” “In the Clinic” will discuss medical applications of neuroscience, such as new varieties of pharmacologic enhancement, the use of brain imaging to diagnose mental illness, and the development of neuromodulatory therapies that directly alter brain function. “In the Courts” will address the legal implications of neuroscience, from concrete applications such as the admissibility of brain imaging in court proceedings to abstract questions regarding criminal responsibility and theories of punishment. “In Society” will review broader applications of neuroscience, including commercial ventures (such as “neuromarketing”), military uses, and the place of neuroscience in society.

This course meets once a week for a lecture and discussion. Course activities include in-class exercises, formal writing assignments, briefer written exchanges, and a final written project.

BIET PS5305. Science for Bioethicists. 3 pts.


Drawing upon the rich array of preeminent scientists, physicians, and scholars working at Columbia University, this course takes an inter-faculty approach to explore the scientific underpinnings of some of the major challenges in bioethics. Should we regulate advances that allow for manipulation of genetic outcomes? How do we balance respect for persons, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, in light of a changing scientific and medical landscape? Students will be better equipped to understand the scientific foundations underlying some of the most prominent issues in bioethics; become acquainted with research and scholarship in the field; be poised to consider and analyze enduring bioethical issues in a new light; and become familiar with a set of new ethical challenges emanating from some of the science and clinical research explored during the course.

BIET PS5469. Clinical Ethics Consultation. 3 pts.


This course is designed for those students who have successfully completed the Introduction to Clinical Ethics course. This course is intended as a primer to Clinical Ethics Consultation. It is geared toward students who already have clinical experience in the healthcare or legal setting and students planning postgraduate study in a clinical or health policy discipline. Clinical Ethics Consultation (CEC) concerns itself with addressing value-laden questions and ethical dilemmas that arise in patient care, in the hospital in particular. The CEC course provides a case-based, insider’s view of CEC practice, introducing the core knowledge and skills required to perform CEC on an advanced level. The semester will include a mix of lecture/discussion, mock consultation with role-play based skills practice, and case-based exercises around formulating and documenting CECs. Course materials, presentations and exercises will address a range of topics and skills needed to effectively apply bioethics knowledge and clinical consultation skills to common value-based dilemmas that arise in the clinical setting. Examples include but are not limited to: moral dilemmas in advanced illness, end of life care, medical decision-making for the unrepresented patient, conundrums in caring for the incapacitated patient, refusal of treatment, dilemmas in discharge planning, surrogate decision-making, conflicts among parties to a case, value-laden decisions in pediatrics, and more. Additionally, process skills such as mediation, conducting a high-stakes family meeting, and consultation etiquette will be addressed. We will frame the course in the emerging context of the field of Clinical Ethics Consultation, as the practice has proliferated but the credentialing process is just now in development.

BIET PS5470. Advanced Clinical Ethics: End of Life Care. 3 pts.


Introduction to Clinical Ethics


This course will explore how medical decisions at the end of life regarding both curative and palliative care are influenced by medical, legal and philosophical principles and social norms. We will explore how the development of clinical practice standards for patients with advanced disease have evolved in response to advances in treatment and societal assertion of consumerist rights of self determination. This work will assist students in the Bioethics Masters Program to develop the consultation skills needed to interact effectively with patients, even under difficult circumstances. We will build on the knowledge base established in the Introduction to Clinical Ethics course (BIETPS5400) to develop the specific insights and skills needed by clinicians and other professionals to support patients and caregivers who confront dilemmas in end of life care management. Students will develop the analytic and communication techniques needed to advise treating clinicians who seek guidance on management of end of life care for patients, and communicating prognosis and treatment options to their patients’ families. The skills developed in this course will be useful to students who will confront ethical dilemmas in their roles as treating clinicians, health care administrators, ethics committee members, compliance officers, and patient advocates. This course will also provide a valuable foundation for students who intend to pursue more advanced training in clinical ethics consultation, in order to prepare for a career as an institutionally based Ethics Consultant.

BIET PS5475. Journalism and Bioethics. 3 pts.


News outlets have always been key portals for the dissemination of bioethics news and thought. This course will acquaint students with the various ways in which traditional and novel publications shape national ethical opinion and discourse. Students will also learn the internal approaches to the ethics of medical coverage. The course will also examine the feedback systems that allow journalism to affect the practice of bioethics, medicine and public health policy. Students will learn how to analyze coverage and how to understand the manner which news culture helps shape medical and ethical articles. The course emphasizes the myriad ways in which ethical experts can improve the coverage of health and medicine and how to navigate influential organizations in order to do so.

BIET PS5996. Clinical Ethics Practicum. 3 pts.


Preference will be given to those students with relevant prior experience. Participants will also need to register as an Administrative Visitor (or the equivalent) at the medical center where they are assigned, which will require them to undergo a physical exam/medical clearance.


The goal of the Clinical Ethics Practicum is to give selected students experience leading or co-leading clinical ethics consults and writing or co-writing chart notes. During the Practicum, students will shadow, work closely with, and be supervised by, a clinical ethicist at various local hospitals.

The Practicum is a very special opportunity to gain the necessary experience to apply for Quality Attestation for Clinical Ethics Consultants; each student should lead/co-lead and author/co-author a total of six (6) consults, the number required for application.

Because the need for clinical ethics consults arises based on when a patient requests a consult, the timing of these consults cannot be predicted. Students should be prepared to make themselves available most of the time, on most of the days, of their involvement with the Practicum. We expect that students should be able to complete their six consults in one to two months.


Interested students should email Patricia Contino with a brief two-paragraph summary of their interest in the Practicum, and a summary of their prior relevant clinical experience or previous work with clients. Because there are limited spaces available for the Clinical Ethics Practicum, we will give priority to students who have already taken Introduction to Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation in the program.

BIET PS5310 Introduction to Empirical Research in Bioethics. 3 pts.


This course will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of empirical research in the social and behavioral sciences. The focus will be on learning to frame questions in bioethics that can be answered using empirical research methods and on building familiarity with the array of logics of inquiry, research designs, and data collection and analysis techniques that can be applied to answer these questions. The course will emphasize the practical importance of maintaining epistemological consistency across research question and purpose, logic of inquiry, research design, and data collection and analysis techniques.

Independent Study: IRB (Institutional Review Board) Internship. 3 pts. over 9 months.


Preference will be given to those students with relevant prior experience. Philosophy of Bioethics and Research Ethics are recommended.


The IRB Internship program allows students to gain hands-on and administrative experience in an Institutional Review Board setting. The Internship is a wonderful opportunity to work in the field and to gain valuable experience and connections.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at academic research centers, hospitals, and universities across the U.S. are part of a federal oversight system created nearly forty years ago to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who volunteer to take part in research. Within this system of “research protections,” institution-based ethics review boards (i.e. IRB’s) provide prior review and approval of research involving human subjects. The IRB promotes an institution’s application of the core ethical principles related to research and supports compliance with federal, state, and local research regulations.

Potential topics covered during an IRB internship are IRB metrics (what types of metrics can be used to demonstrate whether IRBs are achieving or falling short of their mission), ethical challenges encountered in drug abuse research, randomized controlled psychopharmacology studies involving minors, the limits of confidentiality with respect to internet-based research, and informed consent/subject literacy.

Since the number of spaces is limited, students who are interested should contact the Program Director, sending a description of their relevant background and interests. Students who are selected are assigned to one of various IRBs, where they will have the opportunity to work directly with a mentor at the organization. Students will be required to complete a scholarly project during their Internship, the parameters of which will be determined by the Program Director, mentor, and student.


Interested students should email Patricia Contino with a brief two-paragraph summary of their interest in the Internship, and a summary of their prior relevant experience. Because there are limited spaces available in the Internship program, the Program’s Director and Associate Director will make final decisions about which students are chosen for the Internship.

SOSC P8746 Public Health Ethics: Coercion and Persuasion. 3 pts.


This course will explore the uses of coercion and persuasion in public health. To prevent and control the spread of disease, public health professionals choose from a continuum of possible approaches ranging from persuasive to coercive. At the former end of the spectrum, public health seeks to induce certain actions or behaviors by cajoling, admonishing, pleading, tempting, and frightening; at the latter end, it compels people to take actions or refrain from taking actions through the use of laws and legal penalties. In the middle lies an ethical and pragmatic gray area of manipulation, psychological and emotional pressure, and threat—what is sometimes known as manipulation or quasi-coercion. Some of the most challenging ethical and practical decisions in public health require confronting the question of what degree of coercion, if any, is warranted given the magnitude and nature of the problem at hand.

BIET PS5993 or BIET PS5992 Master's Thesis


The master's thesis provides an opportunity for students to expand their understanding of the complexities of the issues involved in a specific topic within bioethics. They work closely with the core faculty member to whom they are assigned, and often with an additional faculty affiliate as well, depending on their interest. They identify and focus on a topic and conduct a rigorous review and analysis of the relevant theoretical and/or empirical literature. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that draws on their specific interests, past experiences, and/or future professional or academic goals.

BIET PS5991. Master's Thesis Workshop


Being enrolled in the Bioethics M.S. program and in position to work on one’s thesis within the year following the Workshop.


The Thesis Workshop is designed to help students turn their thoughts into organized, structured writing. It is useful whether you are still choosing between potential topics or already have an outline and abstract completed and are beginning to write. First year and second year students are strongly encouraged to take the course.

Students will learn how to (a) select a suitable thesis topic (b) access the appropriate resources for researching that topic (c) narrow the scope and improve the focus of the topic selected. Students will also be provided—both by the instructor and by one another—with constructive feedback and positive support in their initial effort at (d) formulating an abstract and (e) working out a tentative outline. Finally, students will explore various strategies for (f) making a cogent, all-things-considered case for whichever conclusion(s) might be warranted by their research.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.