Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program

Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program

Curriculum | Advising | Admissions

The Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program, offered in partnership with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, allows highly-qualified students to enrich and diversify their premedical education prior to enrolling in medical school. Bioethics is an expanding discipline that brings together studies in law, philosophy, religion, economics, science, and history. It seeks to confront the challenges created by rapid changes in biotechnology and biomedicine, from end-of-life care to DNA sequencing to new reproductive technologies. For future healthcare providers, this program will provide a crucial and relevant foundation for the practice of medicine.


Students will begin taking courses in the Bioethics program during the second year of the Postbac Premed Program while completing the premedical degree requirements. Six points of coursework in Bioethics, consisting of two of the core courses in the Bioethics program, are taken during the student’s second year of Postbac study. During the Glide Year, students take an additional 30 points toward the M.S. degree, consisting of four additional core courses and five electives. Students also research and write a master’s thesis during their glide year. 

Second Year (Sample Schedule)

Organic Chemistry I (3.5 points)
Ogranic Chemistry Lab (1.5 points)
Contemporary Biology I (3 points)
Contemporary Biology Lab (3 points)
Core: Philosophy of Bioethics (3 points)

Organic Chemistry II (3.5 points)
Contemporary Biology II (3 points)
Organic Chemistry Lab (1.5 points)
Core: Introduction to Clinical Ethics (3 points)

Two Bioethics Electives*
Begin medical school application process

Third Year (Glide Year) (Sample Schedule)

Core: History of Bioethics (3 points)
Core: Research Ethics (3 points)
Bioethics Electives*

Core: Global Bioethics (3 points)
Core: Law and Bioethics (3 points)
Master's Thesis Workshop
Master's Thesis (3 points)
Bioethics Electives*

Complete required coursework towards M.S. in Bioethics.

*Of the required five elective courses, one must be in the fields of law or policy, one in ethics, and one in social science methods. The two remaining electives may be taken in these or related areas, however students are strongly encouraged to take a course in genetics and, depending on their interest, a course in environmental science. These electives may also be taken during the summer. 

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Upon admission to the program, students are assigned to a faculty advisor in Bioethics. Students should meet regularly with this advisor as well as with their Postbac Premed advisor. Depending on a student's interest in the Master's Thesis capstone project, an additional thesis advisor may be selected.

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Admission to the Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program is highly selective. Students in good standing and in their first year of coursework in the Postbac Program are eligible to apply for admission, but should meet with their Postbac Premed advisor to discuss their eligibility and consider whether they can manage the workload. Information sessions about the program are typically held in the fall term. For admissions and applications requirements, please visit the website.

Application Deadlines

Early Application Deadline: January 15

Final Application Deadline: May 15

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