FAQ

FAQ: Applicants

What classes are you offering?
Current course descriptions can be found here.


Can I take courses without enrolling in the Masters of Bioethics degree?
Yes! Students can take up to 3 courses without being enrolled in the Masters Program (these students are known as non-matriculated students).  Non-matriculated students can enroll in classes while exploring the MBE program, or the field of bioethics as a whole. Students matriculated in other Penn Graduate programs may also take up to 3 classes as electives.  

Please cliick here for more infomation and to download a copy of the "Take A Course" application form.


When are MBE applications due?
We have rolling admissions, so you may submit your application at any time. For students wishing to pursue a dual-degree at Penn, please see the guidelines specific to the program.


When can I start the program?
Applicants can begin during the Fall, Spring, or Summer term.


How long does it take to complete the program?
9 courses are required; we offer courses during the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters; you can take as few as 1 or as many as 4 courses each semester, depending on your schedule. Given that, the MBE can be earned in as little as 1 calendar year. MBE students who are also full-time professionals usually take 1 course a semester, thus earning their MBE in 3 calendar years.


What is the tuition?
The MBE program bills on a per course basis. One course costs approximately $5400 for tuition and fees. Current costs can be found here.


Are there in-state resident rates?
All students enrolled in our courses are charged the same rate.


What are the requirements for admittance into the program?
The admissions committee considers all materials – transcripts, essays, letters of recommendations, and professional experience. Applicants must submit the MBE Application (including the 2 essays), a $70 non-refundable check made out to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, a current resume/CV, transcripts, and 3 letters of recommendation.

For students who have recently completed their BA/BS, we require a 3.5 GPA.


When will I hear if I’m accepted?

Applications are reviewed and decisions are made on a rolling basis, therefore the timeline from completion of application, to notification of application decision varies. Typically, the process takes from 4-6 weeks.


Can I take courses as an undergraduate?
Undergraduates are not generally permitted to take MBE courses. Please contact mbe-info@mail.med.upenn.edu for more information about our current undergraduate offerings.


Can I take a Bioethics class as a Senior Auditor?
Senior Auditors are not permitted to register for MBE courses. You should contact the Penn College of General Studies for more information about bioethics opportunities.


Does the Program offer any funding for its graduate students?
Unfortunately, we do not have funding for MBE students. We do have a scholarship for MD/MBE students, and we have a small MBE Travel Fund that all current MBE students presenting at conferences can apply for.


I live in NYC/Washington/any other far-away city. How easy is the commute to Philadelphia?
We’ll let one of our commuting alum’s answer this for us:

"Commuting from NYC to the Penn Bioethics Masters Program was very easy. Amtrak is the quickest means of transportation, but the Department is a less than 10 minute walk from 30th Street Station. Driving is also a decent option - and parking is easy in the blocks surrounding the Department. In my experience, professors were very amenable to flexible arrangements. When it came time to write papers, they were very willing to chat by phone to answer my questions. This was a huge time saver! I would highly recommend the Penn Bioethics Program and would advise others not to think twice about commuting from NYC."


Can I transfer in credits I took at another university?
Students enrolled in the MBE program may receive transfer credit for 1 graduate course taken prior to their matriculation, if the credit was not used toward another degree.

FAQ: Current Students

How do I get a PennKey, PennCard, and email address?
Once you are enrolled as a student in any BIOE course, you are entitled to a "PennKey" and "PennCard". A Pennkey is what gives you access to all of the University's online resources (the library catalogues, Canvas, and PennPortal - where you can register for classes and pay your bills). A PennCard is an ID card that allows you access to the University's buildings and lets you check out books from the library. PennCards are distributed from the PennCard Center on the 2nd floor of the Penn Bookstore, 3600 Walnut Street. You should have received information about your PennKey in the mail (sent from the Registrar’s Office). If you have not, you can ask the PennCard Center how to get your PennKey set up code. To register your PennKey, go to http://www.upenn.edu/computing/pennkey/.

Matriculated MBE students are also entitled to a mail.med email account. To apply for your mail.med account (matriculated MBE students only), go to http://www.med.upenn.edu/somis/email.shtml.


What classes are you offering?
Current course descriptions can be found here.


What is the tuition?
The MBE program bills on a per course basis. Current costs can be found here.


Where is the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy office, and how do I get there?
We are located in Blockley Hall, 14th Floor, 423 Guardian Drive. Public transportation: The closest Septa trolley stop is at 37th and Spruce Streets (37th Street stop), and the closest Septa Regional Rail station is the University City station, followed by 30th Street Station.


Where is the closest parking to the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy?
More information on Penn parking can be found here.


I am a University employee - can I get tuition remission?
Full-time University employees are eligible for certain tuition benefits. Please see the Penn Human Resource's Employee Tuition Benefits page, which can be found here.


Does the University offer payment plans?
If you are not borrowing a loan to cover the balance of the bill, the bill is due in full by the due date. If payment is not received in full, a late fee of 1.5% is assessed.


Are there in-state resident rates?
All students enrolled in our courses are charged the same rate.


Can MBE students use computers for printing, email, etc.?
There are two computers in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy office for student and alumni use, which can be found in the MBE student lounge. Students can use the computers to print papers for class, check email, and do research using the Penn Library system, etc.


I’m an MBE student who is graduating. Which University commencement should I attend?
May graduates attend the Spring’s commencement. August graduates may attend either the prior or upcoming Spring commencement, although your name will appear in the upcoming Spring brochure. Some graduates choose to go to the prior Spring’s ceremony in order to graduate with a group of friends. December graduates should attend the upcoming Spring commencement.  The Master of Bioethics program has its own graduation celebration every Spring.  Graduating students are also welcome to attend the University's graduate ceremony. More information about Penn’s graduation procedures, including where and when to meet, can be found here: http://www.upenn.edu/commencement/


Does the Program offer any funding for its graduate students?
Unfortunately, we do not have funding for MBE students. We do have a scholarship for MD/MBE students, and we have a small MBE Travel Fund that all current MBE students who are presenting at bioethics conferences can apply for .


Who is my advisor?
Upon admittance, every MBE student is assigned an advisor, although a student can change advisors as they move through the program. Please contact the Program Director for more information.


Who is my final project advisor?
Students may choose their final project advisor. Advisors are usually selected from the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy faculty. You should contact the MBE office early in your final project planning stages for help in determining an appropriate final project and advisor.


I’m an MBE student and there’s a great class being offered in another department – can I take it?
MBE students may petition to take 1 course outside of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. The Director of Education evaluates each petition on a case-by-case basis. Dual degree students are not allowed to take courses outside the MBE program that are not offered by their home school. Download the petition here.


I haven’t received my bill yet. What should I do?
Bursar bills are mailed by the Office of Student Financial Services usually within 4-6 weeks after the registration has been processed. Bills for first time students at the University are mailed to the address on record for the first 2 billing cycles. After that, only electronic bills will be delivered. Billing questions should be addressed to Student Financial Services, 215.898.1988. For more information on billing procedures, click here.


I have to drop my class – do I have to pay for it?
If you drop a class within the first 2 weeks of the start of the semester, full tuition and the general fee will be refunded by credit to your University account. Between the second and fifth weeks, you may drop without academic penalty, but only 50% of your tuition and fees will be refunded. After the 5th week, you can withdraw, but a W will appear on your transcript, and you will not receive any refund. If you haven’t yet paid at the time of the withdrawal, you will still be accountable for that bill.


It’s really snowing hard and I’m not sure I should make the commute tonight for class – what should I do?
If we have to cancel a class for any reason, we will send an email to the BIOEGRAD listserv and to each student listed on Canvas, and we will call each student. Due to the high volume of students we have commuting long distances, we like to give plenty of notice, so we try to call before 2:30 pm. If in doubt, please call 215-898-7136.

FAQ: Non-Matriculated Students

Can I take courses on a non-matriculating basis?
Yes. Students can take courses in the program on a non-matriculating basis. Non-matriculated students can enroll in up to 3 classes without being enrolled in the MBE program. Students can only register for a course if they have no outstanding incompletes and/or have permission from the Director of Education or the MBE Program Director. Please click here for the application to take courses only (without applying for admission).
 

How do I get a PennKey, PennCard, and email address?
Once you are enrolled as a student in any BIOE course, you are entitled to a "PennKey" and "PennCard". A Pennkey is what gives you access to all of the University's online resources (the library catalogues, Canvas, and PennPortal - where you can register for classes and pay your bills). A PennCard is an ID card that allows you access to all of the University's buildings and lets you check out books from the library. PennCards are distributed from the PennCard Center on the 2nd floor of the Penn Bookstore, 3600 Walnut Street. Upon enrollment, you will receive information about your PennKey in the mail (sent from the Registrar’s Office). If you do not receive the mailing, you can ask the PennCard Center how to get your PennKey set up code. To register your PennKey, go to http://www.upenn.edu/computing/pennkey.

Non-Matriculated MBE students are not entitled to a Penn email account.

You should receive a mailing at your home address from the Registrar's Office containing information about your PennKey roughly one week after you are registered for your first Penn course. If you do not receive this mailing within 10 days, you can either contact the PennKey Center to resend this information (disables original PennKey password) or ask the PennCard Center how to get your PennKey set up code. It is also highly recommended that you immediately update your Penn Directory information to reflect your email address to enable you to receive emails from your instructor sent through the Canvas site.
 

What classes are you offering?
Current course descriptions can be found here.
 

What is the tuition?
The MBE program bills on a per course basis. For current costs, click here.
 

Am I eligible for student loans? 
The only loan option for non-matriculated graduate students is a private alternative educational loan. Federal funds are not availble until a student is a matriculated student and enrolled at least half-time. Contact Student Financial Services for more information.
 

Can I take courses as an undergraduate?
Undergraduates are not generally not permitted to take MBE courses, with limited exceptions. Please contact the Program Director for more information about our current undergraduate offering.
 

Can I audit a Master of Bioethics course?
No, we do not accept auditors in our courses.
 

Why haven't I received my bill yet?
Bursar bills are mailed by the Office of Student Financial Services usually within 4-6 weeks after the registration has been processed. Bills for first time students at the University are mailed to the address on record for the first 2 billing cycles. After that, only electronic bills will be delivered. Billing questions should be addressed to Student Financial Services, 215.898.1988. For more information on billing procedures, click here.
 

I have to drop my class – do I have to pay for it?
If you drop a class within the first 2 weeks of the start of the semester, full tuition and the general fee will be refunded by credit to your University account. Between the second and fifth weeks, you may drop without academic penalty, but only 50% of your tuition and fees will be refunded. After the 5th week, you can withdraw, but a W will appear on your transcript, and you will not receive any refund. If you haven’t yet paid at the time of the withdrawal, you will still be accountable for that bill.

 

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