Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy

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The following core courses offer students a solid foundation in bioethics and science policy and a springboard for further exploration and study.


Bioethic 602S-01. Law, Research, & Bioethics

Instructor: Thomas Williams, JD

An examination of the relationship between the law and bioethical issues, particularly in research and medical contexts. The course will explore the ways scientific advances affect law and other social institutions, and, conversely, how law affects the development and use of scientific knowledge. Topics include the history of human subject protections, current regulatory and statutory issues in research, and legal decisions governing informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, and other issues.

Bioethic 605S-01. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics & Science Policy

Instructor: Misha Angrist, PhD

(This is the first half of a two-part class divided into two semesters)
An introduction to cutting-edge developments in science, medicine, and technology as well as the difficult ethical questions they raise. This two-semester course will meet weekly and feature guest speakers, including policy-makers, regulators, criminal investigators, legislators, activists, and prominent academics in the fields of policy, bioethics, law, and neuroscience. Students will have the opportunity to engage with speakers and to explore potential career paths.

Bioethic 704/Law 333. Science, Law, & Policy

Instructor: Buz Waitzkin, JD

An exploration of questions at the intersection of science and law. This course will cover the history of government funding for research and development, the emergence of research at academic institutions, the effect of new technologies on science policy, the impact of neuroscience and functional brain imaging on the law, and the use of genomics in reproductive technologies.



Bioethic 603S. Clinical Bioethics & Health Policy

Instructor: Monica Lemmon, PhD

(Students may choose to take this class or SciSoc 585 to count for core course credit – you may take both classes if you like)
An examination of the leading issues in bioethics, especially those that arise in the context of clinical decision-making and the doctor-patient encounter. The focus will be on the ethical dilemmas faced by medical providers, patients, and their families: how issues are analyzed, what values are considered, and how disputes are resolved. Topics will include end-of-life care; withdrawal or refusal of life-sustaining treatment; pediatric ethics; transplantation; and rationing of scarce drugs or resources. The course will use real case examples to illustrate these dilemmas and challenges.

Bioethic 605S-02. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics & Science Policy

Instructor: Jory Weintraub, PhD

(This is the second half of a two-part class divided into two semesters)
This course provides students in the sciences with practical training in the communication of scientific research to non-scientists, and helps them develop skills essential to doing meaningful outreach. Topics covered include the empirical benefits of communicating science; development of speaking, writing, and storytelling practices for diverse audiences; answering difficult, controversial, and critical questions from the media; and tweeting, blogging, and presenting research to engage non-scientists (including the lay public and policy-makers).

SciSoc 585. Digital Intelligence: The Ethics of Emerging Technologies

Nita Farahany, JD, PhD

(Students may choose to take this class or Bioethic 603S to count for core course credit – you may take both classes if you like)
The Digital Intelligence course helps students navigate and understand and analyze the ethical and social impact of emerging technologies through an applied ethical lens. In a flipped-classroom format, students will watch asynchronous videos on a weekly basis featuring leading technology, ethics, and policy experts as they discuss relevant and timely topics such as algorithmic bias, the impact of social media on democracy, and privacy in the digital age. Students will meet weekly in small discussion groups to work through case studies and to critically engage with a practical ethics approach to the topics presented in the video and additional assigned material.