Master of Arts in

Bioethics & Science Policy

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What is the MA in Bioethics & Science Policy?

Our program teaches students how to identify, analyze, and propose solutions to complex problems at the intersection of science, technology, and ethics. We provide students with a foundation in the history and philosophy of science; legal, social, and theoretical approaches in bioethics; and science and health policy.

What are the degree requirements?

The MA in Bioethics & Science Policy requires a minimum of 9 courses (27 credits) and 1 capstone project (9 credits), for a total of 36 credits. The breakdown is: 4 core courses (12 units), 5 electives (15 units), and 1 capstone project (9 units). This final project may be either a research paper or a practicum with a written report.

How long will it take to earn my degree?

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.

How does this program differ from other master’s programs in bioethics?

Duke’s MA in Bioethics & Science Policy is distinct in its focus on bioethics and science policy, rather than on bioethics or medical ethics alone. The past century of rapid scientific progress has resulted in an increased demand for professionals with expertise in the ethical and policy implications of an increasingly broad range of scientific areas. We strive to balance theoretical scholarship with learning how to address real-world policy dilemmas. Duke’s expanded focus opens more opportunities to graduating students, preparing them to meet an ever-growing need in society.

What else makes Duke’s program special?

Duke is located in Durham, North Carolina’s famous Research Triangle — close to Chapel Hill and Raleigh, which are home to a wide range of biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions. This location provides a myriad of opportunities for learning, practicum experience, and job placement. And our faculty have connections locally and nationally, especially in Washington, DC.

Do I need to choose a pre-planned concentration?

No. While the 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.