Graduate Opportunities

Graduate Opportunities

The intercollege Bioethics Program offers graduate students unique and robust options to academically integrate bioethics into their studies through a first-in-kind Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics, and a Bioethics Minor at both the doctoral and master levels.

Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics

In the fall of 2011, the Bioethics Program began offering its Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics.  The first educational initiative of its kind in the United States, the Program enables candidates to combine bioethics with another discipline in their doctoral dissertation.

We currently offer dual-title Ph.D.s in the following:

We continue to develop additional dual-title degrees through our truly distinctive initiative. Watch this space for updates!

Professional Value and a Competitive Edge

Our Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics is generating a cohort of interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners who are prepared to enrich and expand their primary disciplines, as well as the burgeoning field of bioethics.  Program graduates have the skill sets required to address the monumental challenges facing society in medicine, public health, and the environment—to name just a few.  Our graduates are also equipped to grapple with the serious social and ethical implications inherent in such complex problems and their proposed solutions.

Graduates of Penn State’s Dual-Title Ph.D. in Bioethics possess an edge in the job market, as well.  Their interdisciplinary training makes them competitive candidates for academic positions in their primary discipline, in the field of bioethics, and as joint hires.  Our Program also prepares its graduates to address ethical issues—including institutional and systemic ethical challenges—that arise in both public- and private-sector environments.

NOTE: The Dual-Title Ph.D. Program is a traditional, in-person program. There are no online offerings at this time.

Program Application

Students MUST first be admitted to their primary program (i.e., Anthropology, Biobehavioral Health, Communication Arts and Sciences, Kinesiology, and Nursing) before they can be considered for admission to the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics.  As a result, interested individuals should first contact and apply to the primary program of interest. However, when applying to their primary program, students should also indicate their interest in the bioethics dual-title Ph.D. by sending an email to including (as attachments) the student’s personal statement submitted to the primary program, a copy of the student’s CV, and a letter from the student’s primary program faculty advisor.

For more information about the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics, including course requirements, please view the Penn State Graduate Bulletin.

Also see our Program brochure and our course listing.

This dual-title Ph.D. program requires in-depth understanding, analysis, and articulation of philosophical and bioethical concepts, as well as arguments, using the English language. All students must provide a writing sample demonstrating sufficient writing and analytical competencies that will enable them to be successful in this endeavor.

NOTE: Students do not need to be admitted to the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics to register for bioethics courses.

If you have additional questions about the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics, please email Bioethics Program Interim Director Michele Mekel at

Graduate Minors in Bioethics

Bioethics Minors at the Master’s and Doctoral Levels

We offer a 15-credit doctoral minor in bioethics and a 10-credit master’s level minor in bioethics.  Students build their course schedule in consultation with the Graduate Director of Bioethics.  Eligible courses include the core courses for the Bioethics Dual-Title Ph.D. Program, as well as dozens of additional elective courses in the dual-title offering.

NOTE: The graduate minors in bioethics are achieved through traditional, in-person courses. There are no online offerings at this time.

Why should I pursue a doctoral-level minor in bioethics?

If your home department does not participate in the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program in Bioethics, the minor provides an excellent opportunity to develop bioethics expertise.  You may also enroll in the graduate minor while considering whether to apply for the Dual-Title Ph.D. in Bioethics.

Moreover, where university policy bars students from pursuing a Dual-Title Ph.D. in Bioethics because, for example, they are enrolled in the professional doctoral program in Public Health or are already pursuing another dual-title Ph.D. (e.g., in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), the graduate minor is an ideal way to develop a solid grounding in bioethics.

Why should I pursue a master-level minor in bioethics?

Master’s students in any field of study can benefit personally and professionally from interdisciplinary training in bioethics.

See the Graduate School’s list of Bioethics Graduate Faculty

Search Bioethics

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