Grad School of Education Building
Graduate School of Education Building

The MPH/Masters in Bioethics (MBE) is a dual degree program sponsored by the Master of Public Health Program and the Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department within the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. The aim of the dual degree program is to prepare students to be leaders in public health and bioethics-related research-based programs and policy venues. This dual degree program blends the like missions and values of public health and bioethics and will prepare students with a depth of training and expertise to address the moral challenges facing the public health community today and tomorrow.

Students will have the opportunity to earn both degrees on either a full-time or part-time schedule. This program is intended to:

  • Provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the cultural contexts and moral issues in the field of public health.
  • Train students to be capable of providing in-depth analysis of ethical issues to enhance and inform public health practice and research.
  • Optimally position students to enter the public health field as bioethicists in health departments and public policy and administration areas.

Application Process

Students apply first to the MPH, and only upon acceptance to the Penn MPH program should students apply for the MPH/MBE dual degree. Students applying to the MBE may use the same letters of recommendation used for the MPH application. The MBE degree requires no GRE or other standardized test scores. The MBE application fee is waived for dual degree applicants.

Degree Completion Requirements

In order for a student to receive both degrees, he or she must complete the independent degree requirements of each program. For Public Health students must complete 14 CUs for the MPH portion of the degree: PUBH 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508 (2 cu), 2 PUBH electives, BIOE 601, BIOE 602, and an approved  BIOE elective.

For the MBE  program Students must complete 9 CUs toward the MBE portion of the degree.  Of these, students take six course units in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy (BIOE 601, 602, 580 OR 565, and 3 electives) and three course units of MPH coursework (PUBH 504, 505, and 1 CU of 508).

The 17 cu joint degree is earned in two years for full time students and 4 years for half time students, as follows:

Sample Study Plan #1 for Full-time MPH-MBE Students

Year 1

Fall Spring Summer
PUBH 502 PUBH 501 RFE =125
PUBH 505 PUBH 504 Bioe xxx
Bioe 601 Bioe 602  
Bioe xxx PUBH xxx  

Year 2

Fall Spring
PUBH 506 Bioe580 or 565
PUBH 503 PUBH 508-2
PUBH 507 PUBH xxx
PUBH 508-1 Bioe xxx

Sample Study Plan #2 for Part-time MBE-MPH Students

Year 1

Fall Spring Summer
PUBH 501 PUBH 502 RFE =125?
PUBH 503 PUBH xxx  

Year 2

Fall Spring Summer
Bioe 601 Bioe 602 RFE =125?
PUBH 504 PUBH 506  

Year 3

Fall Spring
PUBH 507 Bioe 580
PUBH 505 PUBH 508-1

Year 4

Fall Spring
Bioe xxx PUBH 508-2
PUBH 508-2 PUBH xxx

Tuition and Financial Aid

The MPH Program will be the home school for the duration of the dual degree, with one exception: If a student is only registered for BIOE courses in any given semester, the primary program will be switched to BIOE primary for that semester. The MPH Program offers limited tuition scholarship support for students with demonstrated need and merit and these decisions are made by the MPH alone. The scholarship announcements are released each spring term and the awardees are announced by the end of the spring term. This tuition support may only be applied to PUBH prefix courses in the following fall or spring terms. The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy does not offer any financial aid, grants, or scholarships.

Scheduling Courses

Students register for courses in one program in that program's registration period and according to that program’s registration rules and procedures. The timing and location of course scheduling must also be considered so that students are best able to attend all classes.

Communication Issues

Students with questions about the MPH/MBE program can address them to the following persons:
Prospective and current students with questions about the MPH program: Moriah Hall, MPH Associate Director:
Prospective and current students with question about the MBE Program: Autumn Fiester, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Issues Particular to the Program

Students in the joint degree program may have particular career interests and goals. They are encouraged to contact Moriah Hall or their academic advisor in the MPH Program and with either Dr. Fiester or their faculty advisor at the Department of Medical Ethics.