Master of Science in Bioethics

Master of Science in Bioethics

Improve the Future of Healthcare

Bioethics serves a vital role in our complex society, helping to address issues in healthcare delivery, climate change, social injustice and biotechnology.

Jointly offered by Clarkson University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Master of Science in Bioethics provides you with the skills to navigate complex ethical issues. Knowing how to identify and frame ethical issues will enhance your skills in clinical care, research or advocacy.

Why Earn an MS in Bioethics From Clarkson?

As one of the first bioethics programs delivered in a hybrid format, Clarkson's Master of Science in Bioethics allows you to meet your personal and professional obligations while enhancing your career.

You'll take a mixture of online and onsite courses involving case studies, supervised exercises and innovative realistic simulations. Courses are taught by internationally recognized faculty members with expertise in philosophy, medicine, law, health policy and management, clinical research, nursing, history and religion.

You'll choose one of three specializations: clinical ethics, research ethics or bioethics policy.

You'll be offered individualized mentoring by faculty and alumni throughout the program. Optional internship opportunities in clinical ethics, research ethics and bioethics policy are available for those who want additional hands-on experience and training.

What You'll Learn

The MS in Bioethics program consists of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework. The degree can be completed full time, in which you'll take three or more courses per term, or part time, involving one or two courses per term.

The curriculum is designed around six key components:

  1. A one-week, onsite introductory proseminar that exposes students to a broad range of topics in bioethics.
  2. Online history and theory courses that cover the basics of biomedical ethics, clinical ethics, research ethics and healthcare policy and law.
  3. Elective courses, such as reproductive ethics, ethical issues at end-of-life and environmental ethics, that allow you to pursue areas of interest beyond the core concepts in bioethics.
  4. Competency-based online and onsite practicum activities, which provide hands-on experience in the analytical, communication, mediation, organizational, political and moral reasoning skills required of working bioethicists.
  5. A personalized master’s project, in which you work one-on-one with a faculty supervisor to explore a bioethical topic of interest in greater depth.
  6. A capstone assessment, in which faculty evaluate your mastery of the knowledge and skills learned.

Students pursuing the Master of Science in Bioethics degree complete 12 required courses. Of those, nine are taught online by internationally recognized experts in bioethics. Online courses are complemented by an on-site proseminar, practicum and capstone.

The degree can be completed full time taking three or more courses per term or part-time taking one or two course(s) per term. The majority of students finish in three years. Courses are offered online on a quarter-term schedule.

Core Courses

Students take the following three required courses, which reflect the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) core competencies:

  • Healthcare Policy
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Bioethics and the Law

Proseminar in Health and Values

This introductory one week intensive, on-site seminar is taught by bioethics scholars from across the United States. The proseminar introduces students to the field, acquaints them with the online learning platform, and affords them the opportunity to meet their professors and fellow students in person.

Master's Project I, II, and III

Students complete a significant project, paper, or initiative over three terms, investigating a specific area of bioethics policy or recommending or implementing changes in policy or practice.

Capstone Seminar

During this one week, on-site seminar, students enrolled in the capstone course demonstrate their mastery of bioethics and their specialization area.

The bioethics policy specialization focuses on the effective and just design of public and institutional policies. You'll learn a new set of skills related to formulating, implementing, evaluating and modifying policies that affect both healthcare practice and research, as well as public health, biotechnology, environmental science and other areas of the biosciences.

The clinical ethics specialization equips students with the skills to identify, analyze and resolve the complex ethical issues that arise in clinical settings. This prepares you for a career as a clinical ethicist or enhances your existing clinical practice.

The research ethics specialization emphasizes the challenges faced by those involved in conducting or overseeing research. It focuses on the design and testing of new drugs and medical interventions, as well as the protection of human participants and animal subjects in drug trials and other biomedical research.

Career Possibilities

Because bioethics is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, our graduates go on to work in a variety of professions and fields, including:

  • Academia
  • Biomedical research
  • Chaplaincy
  • Healthcare professions
  • Health law
  • Public and institutional policymaking
  • Public health
  • Research and healthcare administration
  • Social work
  • Veterinary medicine

Post-baccalaureate students may want to deepen their understanding of bioethics and improve their prospects for admission to professional degree programs.

Recent Employers

You'll find our students employed by these leading organizations:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Broad Institute
  • Banner Gateway Medical Center
  • Clemson University
  • Costa Rican Social Security Fund
  • The University of Vermont Medical Center
  • Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
  • Nebraska Medicine
  • Universidad Santo Tomás, Chile
  • Vynamic
  • World Health Organization, Uzbekistan

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions
Phone: 518-631-9831

100% Graduate Placement Rate - Program Specific

Graduate Certificates

Our four-course certificates were designed in response to hospital administrators, ethics committees, research administrators and others who asked for advanced training in bioethics. We offer certificates in clinical ethics, research ethics and health policy and law. All graduate certificate coursework can be applied to the MS in Bioethics for those wishing to continue their studies.

Learn more about our graduate certificates