Best Bioethics Programs: List of Top Schools

Oct 20, 2021

Learn about some of the top schools in the nation to offer bioethics programs. See a list of ten of these schools and get detailed program and ranking information for three of the best.

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School Overviews

Bioethics is an interdisciplinary field that looks at the historical, cultural, legal and philosophical issues of medicine. Programs are distinctly philosophical and can vary based on the school's ideology; for example, a religious university may hold different perspectives on bioethical issues than a public one. Top-ranked Ivy League schools Columbia University and Brown University offer bioethics programs focused primarily on healthcare, while the University of Pennsylvania's program also offers a focus on law.

Learn more about these programs and U.S. News and Report's top-ranked schools.

1. Columbia University in New York City, NY

School Highlight: The bioethics program at Columbia also offers an online certification in professional achievement in bioethics, in which students in relevant disciplines of law, medicine, education, etc., can develop their understanding of bioethics in an interactive online format.

Columbia University was ranked #7 among the best medical schools for research, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2016. It was also named the 7th top research university in a 2013 report by 'The Center for Measuring University Performance' at Arizona State University.

The university hosts a Master of Science in Bioethics program that is designed for professionals looking to expand their understanding of complex issues in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine, such as stem cell research and healthcare reform. Coursework includes the history of bioethics, research ethics and electives that can be taken from other departments, such as law, social science and philosophy.

2. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School Highlight: In addition to the MBE, the University of Pennsylvania also offers the Penn Postgraduate Fellowship in Advanced Biomedical Ethics, the Penn Clinical Ethics Mediation Program and several online courses.

UPenn was tied for third in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of best medical research schools. The Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) offers a Master of Bioethics (MBE) created for healthcare and legal professionals as well as students planning a career in healthcare or law that may benefit from bioethics training. The program helps graduates address issues such as death and dying, suffering, reproductive technology and intellectual property. Postdoctoral students interested in bioethics can also enroll in the Master of Science in Medical Ethics program.

3. Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

School Highlight: Brown ranked #14 on a list of top national universities, according to U.S. News and World Report in 2016. Brown University's Alpert Medical School offers a concentration in medical humanities and ethics. Within the concentration, students can focus on medical humanities or medical ethics to complete various scholarly and creative projects.

Students work closely with faculty mentors and are able to attend conferences and lecture series. The core curriculum of the concentration includes a seminar course presented by various faculty members.

Top Bioethics Programs

The following institutions also offer top bioethics programs:

College/University Name Distinction Location
Duquesne University The school's Center for Healthcare Ethics has several international partnerships with associations located in India, Spain and Azerbaijan, among others Pittsburgh, PA
Loyola University Chicago The school offers a specialty in Catholic bioethics Chicago, IL
Northwestern University The school offers a single bioethics degree as well as a dual bioethics/medical degree and a dual bioethics/genetic counseling degree Evanston, IL
Trinity International University The bioethics program is offered online. Deerfield, IL
University of Pittsburgh The university ranked #16 on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 listing of the best medical research schools. Pittsburgh, PA
University of South Florida USF health students have the opportunity to travel abroad to volunteer, organize missions trips and conduct field experiences Tampa, FL
University of Texas Medical Branch Students have access to four schools, a major medical library, three institutes for advanced care and a range of healthcare facilities. Galveston, TX

Bioethics degree programs are available at several top institutions and vary greatly in the specializations, facilities and learning experiences that they offer.

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