Many of our students complete the MBE degree concurrently with another professional degree at Penn. Some application procedures and curriculum/financial requirements vary for different dual degree students. Please be sure to follow the procedures for your specific dual degree, the most common of which are found below. For questions about other dual degree options not listed here, please contact Rashon Clark. Please note that the application fee is waived for all dual-degree applicants.
Those interested in the MD/MBE program should review the information posted on Penn Medicine's website. For more information about the MD/MBE and how it can enhance a student's medical career, please contact the MBE/MSME Faculty Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester.
To apply to the MD/MBE program, use the online application. MD/MBE applicants do NOT need to include their Penn graduate transcripts in their application. Penn Med students who were Penn undergrads DO need to request an official transcript for their application file. MD/MBE applicants may use the same letters of recommendation in both their Penn Medicine and MBE applications. To do so, the applicant must contact their recommenders and have them email the PSOM Registrar at the Perelman School of Medicine authorizing him to forward a copy of the letter to us. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Students will meet with the MBE Staff Associate Director, Dr. Molly Sinderbrand, to develop a curriculum plan. Additional student supervision will be given by members of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy faculty, as well as other faculty at Penn working in various areas of bioethics.
After a curriculum plan is developed, the student should make an appointment at the Combined Degree Office in the Perelman School of Medicine to discuss the plan and seek approval from the School. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a staff member in the Financial Aid Office to discuss financial issues. (See tuition policy below.)
The MD/MBE program allows students to take Incompletes (I) in MBE courses without penalty to enable students to pace their work according to their MD program obligations. However, MD/MBE students will not be able to register for additonal MBE courses if they are carrying a total of 3 Incompletes. To register for additional courses, a student with 3 Incompletes must resolve 1 or more of their outstanding work.
Nine course units are required for the MBE degree:
- Proseminar (BIOE 7010)
- Foundations of Bioethics (BIOE 6020)
- Introduction to Bioethical Argument (BIOE 6010) (Strongly Recommended) or elective
- A course in clinical ethics, research ethics, or policy
- Optional Capstone Project (BIOE 9960) or elective
- 2 Electives
- Doctoring (full course), with a supplemental 5-10 page paper.
- Attend Frontiers and Bioethics (FR601) as a TA, with a supplemental 5-10 page paper. For more information about the supplemental paper, click here.
- Use this form to veryify completion of Doctoring and FR601
The MBE degree counts as your Scholarly Pursuit requirement.
Every bioethics course in the MBE program is held in the late afternoon, starting at 5:15, once a week throughout each semester. Coordinating the Master of Bioethics course offerings with the demands of the MD curriculum will require careful attention to the guidelines described below.
With careful planning, it is possible to complete both the MD and the MBE in four years. To complete both degrees in four years, it will be necessary for the student to implement a schedule which takes into account the maximum number of courses which may be taken in a given semester. No MD/MBE student will be allowed to take more than two courses in the fall or spring semesters. Students are permitted to take up to three courses in the summer semester.
Starting the Master of Bioethics program any later than the spring of the third year in Medical School will require that additional semesters be added to the standard timeline for Medical School in order to complete the degree. Students do have the option of taking a 5th year to complete the MD/MBE. However, there may be financial aid implications (see the Financial Aid section below for details).
Students must be proactive about any changes that diverge from the original schedule approved by the Perelman School of Medicine and the Master of Bioethics program. Some seemingly simple changes in course selection and timing may have the unintended consequence of adding additional semesters and increasing tuition. Be sure to consult with the Perelman School of Medicine and the Master of Bioethics program directors before making adjustments to your schedule. Following are 2 possible scheduling scenarios that an MD/MBE student might follow.
The Perelman School of Medicine tuition policy for the MD-MBE program seeks to minimize the additional financial burden for students enrolling in the program. The Perelman School of Medicine will cover the cost of 4 MBE required courses as long as the student has not taken any other university registered credits. Two of the courses taken in the MD curriculum will count towards the 9 units required for the MBE. Students will need to pay for 3 of the 9 course units required for the degree.
MD/MBE Financial Aid
As soon as a student is considering the pursuit of an integrated dual degree program, financial aid counseling and planning is strongly advised. Perelman School of Medicine Office of Admissions and Financial Aid staff members are available to help explain program costs, the financial aid process, funding options, and how to apply for financial aid.
Please note that policies concerning curriculum and financial aid are subject to change. Additionally, though variations in the curriculum may be possible, any changes will need prior approval and may have financial implications.
Check out a new profile of the JD/MBE Program at Penn Carey Law School!: "The Intersections of Law and Healthcare" in the Penn Carey Newsletter
Students who wish to apply to the JD/MBE program should gain admission to the Penn Carey Law School before applying to the MBE program. Students may apply to the MBE program during their first or second year of law school. Students interested in the JD/MBE must contact Director of Cross Disciplinary Programs, Amanda Aronoff. Documentation of that meeting must uploaded to the MBE application. The form can be found here.
To apply to the JD/MBE program, use the online application. JD/MBE applicants do NOT need to include their Penn Carey Law transcripts in their application. Undergraduate transcripts must be included, even if Penn is the undergraduate institution. JD/MBE applicants may use the same letters of recommendation for both their Penn Carey Law and MBE applications. To do so, the applicant must contact their recommenders and have them email Sherita Ragins at Penn Carey Law authorizing her to forward a copy of the letter to us.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can be accepted up until the first of September.
See Penn Law's JD/MBE web page for further information.
Program Structure of the JD/MBE
Students enrolled in Penn Carey Law must take 5 courses in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. Additionally, students must take 4 approved courses (the equivalent of 12 semester hours) at the law school that will count towards the MBE degree. Of the 4 courses (12 semester hours) taken at the law school, a minimum of 2 of the 4 law courses (6 semester hours) must be from the "core" on the approved JD/MBE course list.
In rare cases, the MBE Program will consider a petition to have a new course count as a core or elective approved course. Such requests will be considered only through the first 5 days of a new semester. No new courses will be considered after the first 5 days of the semester. The form to request an addition to the approved course list can be found here. Those petitions should be directed to the MBE Faculty Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester.
*JD/MBE students are permitted to take any MBE course with the exception of BIOE 5450, 5460, 5470, or 5480. These are clinical ethics mediation intensive workshops, and law students may not take these for course credit. They may, however, enroll in these intensives as a non-credit workshop. There will be an additional fee charged for this workshop of $2,500 beyond the cost of the dual JD/MBE program.
Tuition paid to the Penn Carey Law School covers all but 1 course for Penn JD/MBE students. For more information about the cost of the JD/MBE program, please consult the law school Director of Cross Disciplinary Programs, Amanda Aronoff.
Students in the Penn Carey Law School may complete the SCAN (Social Cognitave Affective Neuroscience) certificate in addition to the MBE during their 3 years in law school. Students completing both the SCAN & MBE will not need additional time at Penn Carey Law. For more information about the SCAN certificate please contact Dr. Martha Farah, Director, Center for Neuroscience and Society. Click here for SCAN/JD/MBE worksheet.
DMD students must apply during their first year of Dental School. Students who wish to pursue this dual degree must gain approval from the Office of Academic Affairs before submitting the MBE application. Contact Margaret Yang at the dental school for more information.
The dual DMD/MBE can be completed in the four-year span of DMD program. The Master of Bioethics program will count 2 DMD courses as part of the 9 required in the MBE program. For the first unit of transfer credit, students can choose DENT 5500, DENT 6500, or DENT 6540. For the second unit of transfer credit, students can choose either DCOH 7080 or DCOH 7120. DMD students are eligible to take courses in the MBE program during either the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms to complete the 7 additional courses required for the MBE. Students apply for the dual-degree program in the Spring of their first year in the DMD program. Here is worksheet that will help you and your advising team plan your dual degree.
Accepted students should make an appointment with both the Office of Academic Affairs in the School of Dental Medicine and the Staff Associate Director Dr. Molly Sinderbrand, to discuss course planning.
This joint program is open to FULL-TIME Master of Social Work students in both advanced clinical and advanced macro social work practice tracks. Current and prospective students must apply to BOTH the Master of Social Work and the Master of Bioethics independently. Admission into one program does not affect admission to the other. For information regarding the application process for the School of Social Work, see their web site.
Current and prospective MSW students should follow the application instructions on the MBE Applicants page.
The joint MSW/MBE can be completed in two full calendar years, and it requires both the summer following the first year in the MSW program and the summer after the second. The Master of Bioethics program will count 3 MSW courses as part of the 9 required in the MBE program and the MSW program will count 2 MBE courses as meeting course requirements for their degree. Here is a worksheet that will help you and your advising team plan your dual degree.
MBE graduation would take place in August of the second year.
MPH students complete a 14 course unit (CU) curriculum, and the MBE students complete a 9 CU curriculum. For students in the combined MPH/MBE program, some courses from each program would double count. Dual-degree students would need to take a total of 17 CU's to complete the MPH/MBE dual degree and would be able to complete both degrees in 2 to 4 years, depending on whether the student takes courses on a full-time or part-time basis.
The MBE program will accept 3 PUBH courses as elective courses for the MBE. These courses are PUBH 5040: Behavioral & Social Sciences in Public Health; PUBH 5050: The Health Services Policy; and 1 CU of PUBH 5090: Capstone Experience.
The MPH program will also accept 3 BIOE courses as elective courses to count towards the MPH. These courses are BIOE 7010: Proseminar; BIOE 6020: Foundations of Bioethics; and one BIOE elective, to be approved by the Public Health curriculum committee.
MSN students complete a 12 course unit (CU) curriculum, and the MBE students complete a 9 CU curriculum. For students in the combined MSN/MBE program, some courses from each program would double count. Dual-degree students would need to take a total of 14 CU's to complete the MSN/MBE dual degree and would be able to complete both degrees in 2 years, depending on whether the student takes courses on a full-time or part-time basis.
The MBE program will accept 3 NURS courses as elective courses for the MBE students choose 3 of the following 4 courses: NURS 5250, NURS 5400, NURS 6500, and NURS 7480. Note: NURS 650 requires a supplemental 10-page essay (Please contact the program director for more information.)
Interested students should contact MBE Faculty Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester
Students in the dual Nursing PhD/MBE Program complete 9 course for the degree. Of these 9 courses, 3 are required NURS courses, and the reaming are 3 MBE required courses and 3 MBE electives.
Students interested in the PhD in Nursing/MBE program should contact MBE Faculty Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester. Students are also encouraged to meet with their advisors in the School of Nursing.
Master of Bioethics (MBE) students can pursue a certificate in the online Health Care Innovation (HCI) program in combination with their MBE. To earn the HCI certificate in addition to the MBE degree, students must complete a total of 10 courses. The 4 requirements for completion of the certificate include: (1) BIOE 5750 Health Policy or HCIN 6000 American Healthcare System, (2) HCIN 6020* Behavioral Economics or HCIN 6180* Health Equity, 3) an additional non-lab HCIN elective (could be HCIN 6020* Behavioral Economics or HCIN 6180* Health Equity) and 4) BIOE 5450 Mediation Intensive or BIOE 5590 Patient Advocacy. In addition to the 4 courses required for the HCI certificate, dual HCI/MBE students must complete BIOE 7010, BIOE 6020, one (1) course in the distribution requirement, three (3) electives. In total, students will complete 10 courses. Students interested in the HCI/MBE program should contact MBE Faculty Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester.
A growing number of bioethical issues intersect with neuroscience, from controversies over fetal pain to the criteria for death. Progress in neuroscience also brings novel ethical issues, arising from progress in brain imaging, brain stimulation and neurogenetics. The MBE with SCAN certificate program will help students to work knowledgeably with clinical, research and policy issues pertaining to the brain. This program is intended to provide students with: familiarity with the full range of topics and dilemmas of Bioethics, and skills for the analysis of ethical issues in biomedical practice, research and policy, basic understanding of the theories and methods of human neuroscience, emphasizing psychological aspects of brain function, up to date knowledge of the new field of Neuroethics, often defined as the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSIs) of neuroscience, awareness of the role of neuroscience in ethically challenging issues within geriatrics, pediatrics, sports medicine, and other fields, as well as the more obviously brain-related medical specialties of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry and a grasp of the nonclinical aspects of neuroethics, including regulation of neuroscience products and the relevance of neuroscience to health disparities and economic mobility. Prospective and current students with question about the MBE Program should contact, Dr. Autumn Fiester, MBE Faculty Program Director. Prospective and current students with question about the SCAN Certificate Program should contact, Dr. Martha Farah, Director of SCAN, Center for Neuroscience & Psychology.