Bioethics PhD Program

Stethoscope draped across books on a desk

CWRU is home to the nation’s first PhD in Bioethics, created in 2004. Since then, we have trained a stellar group of scholars in bioethics and medical humanities that are advancing our field in many areas. Areas range among philosophy, health sciences, law, management, public policy and social sciences, religious studies, and more. 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 2026. The application window opens early September 2025. 


We Train Bioethics and Medical Humanities Scholars

Our program’s objective is to train scholars to possess specific expertise in the conceptualization, design and execution 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) to conduct research on bioethical issues
  • Conceptualize and develop timely and meaningful research questions in bioethics
  • Emerge with the necessary skills to prepare academic publications and presentations; and to compete for academic positions and grant funding from NIH, NSF, and private foundations.

Opportunities for graduates of the PhD program in Bioethics are bountiful! They include careers as independent investigators, serving as a bridge between colleagues in the traditional medical humanities and those in clinical and basic-science departments. Or, employment in academic bioethics centers, clinical and basic science departments in medical schools, schools of public health, government agencies, and public policy institutes.


"Where Can a PhD in Bioethics Take You?" Webinar