Bioethics PhD Program

Our department created the nation’s first PhD in Bioethics in 2004. Since then, we have trained a stellar group of scholars in bioethics and medical humanities that are advancing our fields in many areas. Our fields include scholars from philosophy, medicine, public health, nursing, the life sciences, law, social work, management, public policy, the social sciences, religious studies, and other areas, and we have welcomed students into our program from a variety of backgrounds. All students in the PhD program in Bioethics gain interdisciplinary training in order to conceptualize, design, and conduct both normative ethical analysis and empirical research on bioethical issues.

The next PhD in Bioethics cohort will enter our program in Fall 2024. The application window opens early September 2023. 


We Train Bioethics and Medical Humanities Scholars

Our program’s objective is to train scholars who will have specific expertise in the conceptualization, design and conduct of both normative and empirical research on issues in bioethics and medical humanities. 

Graduates will:

  • Obtain grounding in the philosophical basis of bioethics to conceptualize and analyze moral problems;
  • Develop a theoretical perspective to guide their research;
  • Be proficient in empirical methodologies (both qualitative and quantitative) so that they can conduct research in bioethics problems;
  • Become scholars who can develop and conceptualize timely and meaningful research questions in bioethics;
  • Develop the necessary skills to prepare academic publications and presentations and to compete for academic positions and grant funding from NIH, NSF, and private foundations.

Graduates of the PhD program in Bioethics have a wide range of opportunities, including careers as independent investigators, serving as a bridge between colleagues in the traditional medical humanities and those in clinical and basic-science departments, and employment in academic bioethics centers, clinical and basic science departments in medical schools and schools of public health, government agencies, and public policy institutes.