Graduate Studies in Bioethics

KIE Graduate Program

The Kennedy Institute works in close collaboration with Georgetown's Department of Philosophy to support a variety of graduate degrees that allow advanced work in bioethics. Many of the Institute's core faculty hold joint appointments in the Department of Philosophy, and are actively involved in all aspects of undergraduate and graduate instruction, including student recruitment, dissertation mentoring, and job placement.

Ph.D. in Philosophy

Currently tied with Harvard as the top ranked department in applied ethics, the Philosophy Department at Georgetown has exceptional strength in bioethics. Advanced seminars on bioethics, as well as a clinical practicum, are regularly offered, and a significant number of dissertations coming out of the program intersect with issues in bioethics. In addition, selected graduate students are given the opportunity to become Graduate Fellows of the Kennedy Institute. These Fellows are given office space on the corridor of the Institute and are intimately involved in the outreach mission of the KIE.

While the Ph.D. offers ample opportunity to pursue interests - including interdisciplinary interests - in bioethics, it also requires several non-bioethics courses, including pro-seminars in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, and three courses in the history of philosophy. Entrance to the Ph.D. is highly competitive, and applicants should have a strong background in philosophy. Further information on the doctoral program, and information about how to apply, is available at the Philosophy Department website.

Joint Degrees

Medicine & Philosophy
This joint degree program offered through Georgetown University School of Medicine and the Department of Philosophy allows students to pursue either an M.A. or Ph.D. in philosophy while earning an M.D. The combined program offers opportunities for financial support, a streamlined set of degree requirements, and an educational experience that draws upon the teaching resources of Kennedy Institute philosophy faculty and the clinical faculty of the Center for Clinical Bioethics. Further information is available here.

Law & Philosophy
Both a joint J.D./Ph.D. and a joint J.D./M.A. in Bioethics are available. The Kennedy Institute and Philosophy Department have strong connections to the Law Center at Georgetown, which provide an exceptional opportunity to join interests in law, bioethics, and philosophy. Currently ranked number 8 in the nation in Health Law, and home to the O'Neill Institute of National and Global Health, the Law Center at Georgetown also has an above-average number of faculty with Ph.D.s in philosophy. The Philosophy Department and Law Center regularly offer a jointly sponsored, topic-specific seminar that brings in outside speakers on issues of interest to jurists and philosophers. In addition, the Kennedy Institute itself has faculty with both law degrees and doctorates in philosophy. Further information is available here.

Public Health & Philosophy

Students enrolled in the Georgetown Ph.D. program can apply for admission to a degree program leading to a Master's of Public Health offered through a cooperative arrangement with the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health which facilitates this process. Students may be granted a leave of absence from Georgetown's Ph.D. program to pursue coursework at Johns Hopkins, while benefiting from sustained mentorship by KIE scholars. The core curriculum provides training in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy, public health practice and management, public health biology, and the social and behavioral sciences. Further information is available here.