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Master's program


McGill University offers specialized education in bioethics to graduate students in the Faculties of Medicine, Religious Studies and Law, and the Department of Philosophy. The Master's Degree Specialization in Bioethics is an interdisciplinary academic program that emphasizes both the conceptual and the practical aspects of bioethics.

Students and Applicants

Some applicants are mid-career professionals currently working as physicians, nurses, social workers, other health care providers, or lawyers. Other applicants have recently completed their undergraduate degrees in philosophy, law, religious studies or other disciplines and wish to pursue specialized Master's level training in bioethics before enrolling in doctoral level studies or entering the workplace.

Our program draws students from Canada and the United States, as well as Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Columbia, Hungary, Iceland, Jamaica, Kenya, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


Our students have had their work appear in publications such as Academic Medicine, the Hastings Center Report, the British Medical Journal, Clinical Research, Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, The Sciences, New Scientist, Science and Engineering Ethics, the Journal of Medical Ethics and the British Medical Bulletin.

Students have continued on to doctoral studies at universities in Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Germany. Several other graduates have undertaken fellowships or enrolled in ethics certificate programs in order to develop additional clinical consultation skills. Others who joined the Master's Program to enrich their understanding of bioethics as it relates to their current professions, or to be able to fully participate in bioethics teaching programs within their professions, have not changed career paths. You can read more about our graduates here.

Program and Curriculum

The Master's Specialization in Bioethics ordinarily takes at least two years to complete, although some students have completed it in 18 months. The first year is devoted to course work (including a clinical practicum), and the second year is devoted to a Master's thesis on a topic in bioethics that also satisfies the requirements of the base discipline. Students graduate with a Master's degree from the Faculty of their base discipline (MA, MSc or LLM) with a specialization in bioethics.

Core teaching faculty in the Master's Specialization include members of the Biomedical Ethics Unit of the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Law and the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. Among the courses offered to students are two compulsory courses, Bioethics Theory and Bioethics Practicum, and elective seminars in Law and Health Care, The Medical Basis of Bioethics, Religion and Medicine, Bioethics and Human Genetics, and Philosophical Medical Ethics.

Financial Support

Master’s students are eligible for a small stipend from their host departments. Some master’s students receive support from biomedical ethics unit faculty members through summer and/or academic year research assistance positions. We encourage all students to apply to CIHR, FRSQ, or other sources for their own funding.

Core teaching faculty in the Master's Specialization in Bioethics

Biomedical Ethics Unit

  • Eugene Bereza
  • Carolyn Ells
  • Jennifer Fishman
  • Kathleen Glass
  • Jonathan Kimmelman
  • Nick King

Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law

  • Norbert Gilmore

Faculty of Law

  • Angela Campbell

For more information contact heike [dot] faerber [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Heike Faerber) ,