Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy Curriculum

What Our Students Study For Pre-med Students

The Duke Master of Arts in Bioethics & Science Policy teaches students how to identify, analyze, and propose solutions to myriad complex issues at the intersection of science, technology, ethics, and policy.

Our curriculum is distinct in its focus on bioethics and science policy, rather than bioethics or medical ethics alone. Today’s world of rapid progress in the sciences has seen an increased demand for professionals with expertise in the ethical and policy implications of an increasingly broad range of scientific areas. Our expanded focus provides a broader education, opens more opportunities to graduating students, and prepares students to meet an ever-growing need in society.


To achieve these goals, the curriculum is comprised of:

  • 4 Core Courses
  • 5 Electives
  • 1 Concentration (optional)
  • Practicum or Thesis

The curriculum addresses:

  • The ethical, legal, and social policy concerns arising from advances in science and medical technology, particularly at the intersection of life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy
  • Principles of bioethics, including respect for persons, beneficence, justice, and democratic deliberation
  • Methodologies, including foundational principlism, casuistic, communitarianism, virtue ethics, legal and political systems and analysis, deliberative decision-making, and data analysis


Custom Concentrations

While our bioethics and science policy program provides several frameworks for concentrations, you are able to create your own. We encourage you to explore the issues most relevant to your specific interests. We invite you to take advantage of all the opportunities available through Duke University. For instance, our students have taken electives in the med school, law school, and business school as part of shaping their specific educational tract.


Length of Study

Full-time students may complete the program in one full year (three semesters—including fall, spring, and summer). Students without a background in bioethics are encouraged to complete the degree in one and a half to two years so that they can take a broad selection of foundation courses and have time to participate in more advanced study.

For more frequently asked questions about the program visit our FAQ page.