Undergraduate Studies in Bioethics

Jack Loves Bioethics

Jack working on his bioethics minor

Minor in Philosophy and Bioethics

Interested in ethical issues in medicine? Want to explore moral and political questions surrounding the environment and technology? The Georgetown Philosophy Department, in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, is pleased to offer the Minor in Philosophy and Bioethics to Georgetown undergraduates.

Bioethics is an intensely interdisciplinary field, bringing the sciences and the humanities together in an effort to think carefully about issues in medicine, the environment, and recent technological advances. The presence of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics offers Georgetown undergraduates the opportunity to learn from world-class scholars in the field of bioethics. In addition, students have access to the Kennedy Institute's unmatched Bioethics Research Library.


The minor requires six courses. A minimum of four must be taught by the Department of Philosophy; up to two can be approved courses taught in other departments. Philosophy courses that count toward the minor include the philosophy courses taken to satisfy the General Education Requirements; Ethical Theory (PHIL 232); any philosophy course that intersects significantly with bioethical issues and up to one course in the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science courses, as well as those taught outside the Philosophy Department, must be approved by the Bioethics Minor Coordinator (Laura Bishop). Finally, at least two of the philosophy courses taken for the minor must be at the 200-level or above.

Additional information about declaring a Bioethics Concentration (for Philosophy Majors) or a Minor in Philosophy and Bioethics (for non-Philosophy Majors) is available via the Philosophy Department's website.

A list of the current semester's courses that meet one or more of these requirements is available on the Bioethics Minor Courses page.

Already a philosophy major? Not a problem. Philosophy majors can earn a Bioethics Concentration by completing (in addition to the major requirements): (a) Ethical Theory (PHIL 232) and (b) three bioethics courses such that (i) at least one of which must be an upper-level philosophy course, (ii) no more than two of which may be offered outside the department and count toward the concentration, and (iii) no more than one of which may be offered outside the department and count toward the major. Questions about the Philosophy and Bioethics minor or about the Bioethics Concentration should be directed to Laura Bishop.