How to Become a Bioethicist?

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How to Become a Bioethicist

A relatively novel field to be inducted into the branches of biology, Bioethics is concerned with the intersections of biology with existent and progressing ethical issues. As a field, it addresses important questions emerging in practice and research in healthcare and biological sciences as well as other allied fields. Common topics that come under its ambit include Genetic Engineering, reproduction and abortion, cloning, drug use, stem cell technology, etc. As a Bioethicist, you can expect to work across a range of disciplines, namely, law, public policy, global public health, nanotechnology, distribution of health products or technology such as vaccines, and much more.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Bioethicist

Specifically, a Bioethicist researches and analyzes questions that require advanced multidisciplinary knowledge and understanding. Starting from the ownership of genetic material like hair, sperms, eggs, etc to tackling the issue of euthanasia and a host of other topics, Bioethics is a highly complex discipline that deals with varied health-related concerns. Working alongside technical scientists, Biotechnologists, Biomedical Engineers, Biochemical Engineering specialists, etc, Bioethicists also aid in improving the public health system and infrastructure through suggestions on disaster ethics, geriatrics and ageing, global bioethics, medical tourism, informed consent, synthetic biology, pediatrics, etc. 

Educational Qualifications Required to Become a Bioethicist

To start your career as a Bioethicist, course offerings range from bachelor’s to doctorate level affording students to develop a precursory and fundamental understanding of bioethics to advanced research analysis. There are several routes that one can opt for.

  • For someone interested in getting the basic knowledge of this field at the starting level, a BSc or BA in Bioethics is advised.
  • Further, one can also specialise in subfields including but not limited to Clinical Ethics, Global & Population Ethics, Ethics of Technologies, Neuroethics, Environmental & Animal Ethics, etc.

Professional Competencies

Apart from having excellent research skills, you need to polish your hard as well as soft skills. in order to build a successful career as a Bioethicist. Enlisted are some of the major skills you need to have:

  • A keen eye for detail,
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Strong critical thinking ability.
  • Sound analytical and reasoning ability.
  • Should be aware of the moral and ethical issues pertaining to different medical procedures.

Top Universities for Pursuing Bioethics Courses

As discussed, with the rise in offerings of Biotechnology courses and Microbiology courses, universities have also recognised the importance of Bioethics courses. Graduates of such programs are readily inducted by pharmaceutical companies, research organisations, and governments, amongst others in capacities of a bioethicist and other profiles. Glance over the following universities for Bioethics in the following table:

Name of University Country THE WorldUniversityRankings2021 Courses in Bioethics
University of Pennsylvania USA 13th 1. Master of Bioethics2. Fellowship in AdvancedBiomedical Ethics3. Master of Science inMedical Ethics
Columbia University USA 17th MS Bioethics
University of Toronto Canada 18th 1. Bachelor of Arts in Bioethics(Honors)2. Master of Health Science inBioethics
Duke University USA =20th 1. JD/MA in Bioethics & SciencePolicy2. Master of Arts in Bioethics &Science Policy
New York University USA 26th MA Bioethics
King’s College London UK 35th MSc Bioethics & Society
KU Leuven Belgium 45th Master of Science Bioethics
The University of Sydney Australia =51st 1. Master of Bioethics2. Graduate Diploma in Bioethics3. Graduate Certificate inBioethics
University of Manchester UK =55st PhD  Bioethics & MedicalJurisprudence
Monash University Australia =64th Master of Bioethics
Pennsylvania StateUniversity-Park Campus Pennsylvania =114th 1. PhD in Anthropology &Bioethics2. PhD in Biobehavioral Health &Bioethics3. PhD in Communication Arts &Sciences & Bioethics4. PhD in Kinesiology &Bioethics5. PhD in Nursing &Bioethics
University of Rochester USA =147th BA in Bioethics

Course Structure

Though the subjects taught in a typical Bioethicist degree program will vary from one university and education level to another, here are some of the common topics which you will get to study.

  • Ethical Theory & Clinical Ethics
  • Health Law
  • Health Economics
  • International & Community Health
  • Neuroethics
  • Public Health Anthropology
  • Human Genetics, Ethics & Policy
  • Environmental Law and Ethics
  • Anthropology and Sociology of Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Advanced Topics in Bioethics: Controversies, Global Issues, etc

Note: More often than not, bioethics courses have a practical experience constituent along with research projects, thesis and dissertation.

With the number of companies looking to hire a bioethicist to keep on increasing at a steady rate owing to the difficulties faced in tackling such questions, job opportunities are only going to rise. If you too wish to start your career in bioethics or related fields but are having concerns as to a suitable course and university, Leverage Edu’s AI tool is here to assist you. It shortlists institutes based on your personalized skills and inclinations, thereby aiding you in making the right decision.

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