Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy Curriculum

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The Duke Master of Arts in Bioethics, Tech Ethics & 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:

The curriculum addresses:

  • The ethical, legal, and social policy concerns arising from advances in science and 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 free 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 track.


Independent Studies

Many students undertake independent study projects to fulfill elective credit requirements under the supervision of and/or in the research lab of a faculty advisor. A student proposing to undertake an Independent Study project must submit a brief statement of the proposed project, the number of credit hours sought, and the faculty advisor as indicated in the form below. The completed and signed form must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval two weeks prior to the drop/add period each semester. After the form is approved, the senior program coordinator will issue you a permission number, which allows students to enroll in the course with their faculty advisor. Download the independent study proposal form.


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.