Emily Esmaili
Emily Esmaili

Master of Arts in Bioethics & Science Policy

MD/MA Program

Broaden your perspective and become a voice in future discussions surrounding the ethics and policy of healthcare with Duke’s joint MD/MA in Bioethics & Science Policy Receive more info Apply Now

2024 Enrollment Deadlines

Applications will open in late August 2023 on the Duke Grad School Website
Spring 2024 (January 2024 start) – MA and JD/MA Applications are due October 2, 2023
Fall 2024 (August 2024 start) – MA and MD/MA applications are due January 11, 2024 (Early Action) and March 14, 2024 (Regular Admissions)
Fall 2024 Rolling Admission (August 2024 start) – MA applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 31st, 2024.

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Shape Healthcare Policy & Make Your Medicine Personal

The Duke Master in Bioethics & Science Policy teaches students how to thoughtfully identify, analyze, and propose solutions to address cutting edge and historical developments in science, medicine, technology, and policy. The program provides a foundation in the history, philosophy, legal, social, and theoretical approaches to bioethical analysis, as well as an introduction to science and health policy. Our curriculum is distinct from other bioethics degrees in its focus on bioethics and science policy, rather than bioethics or medical ethics alone.


All Duke second-year medical students are eligible to apply.

Length of Program

Students usually take a year before or after their third year of medical school. The program is typically completed by undertaking the course work full time during the fall and spring semesters, followed by a capstone project or thesis during the following summer term. The program is, however, highly flexible in the scheduling of degree requirements, especially in the case of joint degree students.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition for the MA degree, as set by Duke Graduate School for 2023-2024 is $93,930. Accepted students will receive a 50% scholarship, reducing tuition to $46,965.

profile-list-stephanie-verebAll Duke Medical School students will be eligible for a 50% merit scholarship from Science & Society, reducing the tuition to $46,965. In addition, MD students may be eligible to receive a $10-15,000 tuition subsidy from the Medical School for third-year studies.

Science & Society also grants substantial scholarships as Leadership Awards to applicants who demonstrate the greatest potential to become leaders in making scientific advancements more accessible, just and better integrated into society. Applications for the Leadership Awards are due March 19th.


  • March 14 – Application for Leadership Award & MA Admission deadline
  • May 31 – Final deadline for fall admission


Application Procedure/Requirements

In addition to our standard application requirements medical students may substitute their MCAT scores used for admission to the Duke Medical School.

Curriculum & Research Experience

Required core courses (12 credits): Science Law & Policy; Clinical Bioethics and Policy; Law Research and Bioethics; Contemporary Issues; Colloquium.

Electives (15 credits): courses selected from across Duke schools and departments. View electives here.

Capstone Project or Masters Thesis (9 credits): Students have the option to either spend 10 weeks with a host organization engaged in work related to bioethics or science policy or to write a masters thesis


Contact/Study Program Director

Michael B. Waitzkin, JD, LLM
MA Director of Graduate Studies
Email: michael.waitzkin@duke.edu
Phone: (202) 528-1684

Margaret Humphreys, MD PhD
Study Program Director for the Humanities Track
Email: meh@duke.edu
Phone: (919) 684-2285

Featured Alumni

Ishaq Winters

Ishaq Winters ’18

Ishaq received a joint M.D./M.A. degree at Duke University School of Medicine with a prior B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. While immersing himself in medicine, Ishaq began to realize how much more there is beyond the biomedical aspects to everyday clinical decisions. He became more aware of the significance of social, political, economic, and legal components that are necessary to consider in the choices physicians make, believing these are the issues that we struggle with the most but have the greatest impact on our patients’ health and well-being. By pursuing the MA in Bioethics and Science Policy, Ishaq hopes to not only become familiar with these topics but also become a proponent of change within our healthcare system.

  • Ishaq graduated from Duke Medical School and is a Hospital Resident at the Yale School of Medicine