Master of Arts in Bioethics

Master of Arts in Bioethics
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1 year

As science, technology, and medicine advance, society will confront new ethical dilemmas at the nexus of public health policy and individual choice. The Master of Arts in Bioethics provides a strong philosophical foundation for navigating these urgent questions with conceptual clarity and analytical rigor. With a comprehensive curriculum including medical, environmental, and societal health, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to grapple with these important issues.

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An Introduction to Bioethics with S. Matthew Liao

How does CRISPR work? What are the consequences of using science to alter our biology? S. Matthew Liao, Director of the Center for Bioethics at the NYU School of Global Public Health, explains these ethical questions and many more.

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Founded through NYU’s Center for Bioethics, the Master of Arts in Bioethics degree at GPH is one of the first programs in the world to promote a broad conception of bioethics encompassing both medical and environmental ethics. You’ll develop concepts and analytical skills that enable you to think critically about pressing challenges in the broad field of bioethics, and you’ll also have the opportunity to focus your studies through flexible curriculum options and the one-on-one guidance of your advisor.

Students in the Bioethics program will obtain the following competencies upon completion of the program:

  • Understand the normative philosophical theories that underlie bioethics, clinical practice, research, neuroethics, the ethics of new biotechnologies, the ethics of global public health, and ethics of animals and the environment;
  • Grasp key ethical issues and questions that arise in bioethics, clinical practice, research, neuroethics, the ethics of new biotechnologies, the ethics of global public health, and ethics of animals and the environment;
  • Analyze and put forward original ideas and arguments that engage with scholarly work and public policy in bioethics;
  • Understand how ethical issues are addressed in practical, medical and environmental settings.

In addition, students will be able to:

  • Identify the background literature for a particular bioethical issue;
  • Understand the relevant positions, distinctions, and arguments in a particular bioethical debate;
  • Analyze existing arguments;
  • Put forward original ideas and arguments;
  • Provide empirical and theoretical support for one’s arguments;
  • Explain why the considerations put forward support one’s arguments;
  • Anticipate and respond to actual or possible objections to one’s arguments;
  • Write in a clear, succinct, and analytic manner
  • Identify ethical issues that arise in a professional setting and communicate those issues to a general audience.

Jack Harris, MA Bioethics Alumnus

Jack shares his experience learning beside students from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds.

Broad Areas of Study

Through a flexible curriculum that allows for the selection of five electives to hone your degree’s focus, you can choose from a number of broad subfields in the bioethics realm. Below are just a few examples of how you can direct your studies.

Clinical Ethics

Doctor/patient relationships, conscientious objection, beginning and end of life care, fair allocation of scarce medical resources

Research Ethics

The use of placebos, conflicts of interest and clinical trials, research on animals and vulnerable populations, research in developing countries

Global and Population Ethics

Global disparities in health and public health, global pandemics, population growth, human rights to health and health care, foreign aid and its critics

Ethics of New Technologies

Embryonic stem cells, cloning, assisted reproductive technology, genetic engineering, synthetic biology


Cognitive and mood enhancements, addiction and criminal responsibility, borderline consciousness, neuroscience of moral decision-making, brain imaging technologies and mental health

Environmental & Animal Ethics

Climate change, species preservation, biodiversity loss, ecosystem services, the use and misuse of animals, ethics of agriculture and food production

Interdisciplinary Approach

Based in the School of Global Public Health, the MA in Bioethics program has its own full-time core faculty who have extensive experience in bioethics. Our interdisciplinary approach to the field also includes faculty affiliates from top-ranked departments across NYU, such as Philosophy, Psychology, Anthropology, and Environmental Medicine, as well as from the School of Medicine, the Wagner School of Public Service, and the School of Law.


As a culminating project, you will complete a hands-on practicum at a health and environmental organizations either here in the greater New York area or farther afield. Students have worked at the President's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, the American Medical Association, the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Health Organization, and Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Are you ready to enroll in one of the world’s first programs designed to think critically about pressing bioethical, medical and environmental issues? Apply to the Master of Arts in Bioethics today!

Download the PDF Program Brochure