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Welcome to the Master of Health Sciences in Bioethics

Are ethical issues keeping you up at night? Do you wish you had a better understanding of today’s big bioethics challenges? Are you looking for new and better ways to address these issues and challenges in your professional practice?

Bioethics has never been more relevant than it is today. Health systems around the globe face complex health system challenges affecting the health and well-being of individuals and populations. At the heart of these challenges are fundamental ethical issues, which cannot be resolved simply by appeal to legal or regulatory requirements, more data, or technical solutions alone. In the health institutions and systems of today and tomorrow, the ability to anticipate, to recognize, to assess and to address ethical issues in practice has become an essential professional competency.

Program Description

The Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) in Bioethics is a course-based, professional Master’s degree for health and health-related professionals who are seeking to develop their bioethics knowledge and skills, ideally to strengthen bioethics capacity in their institutional or professional practice setting. This two-year program is conducted over 5 consecutive academic sessions and comprises required and elective coursework with expert faculty, a practicum experience, and a capstone project.

The MHSc in Bioethics is designed with the professional learner in mind. It has a hybrid program format, including both in-person and online learning components. In-person residency weeks (normally, 5 days in duration) are held on campus at the University of Toronto in each academic session. The residency weeks focus on immersive and social learning activities and completion of a required professional skills course. MHSc courses are conducted predominantly online with some required courses having an in-person component during the residency week. This innovative format means that students from diverse geographic locations can participate fully in the program and importantly that high-achieving professionals can complete the degree without interrupting their careers.

The MHSc curriculum comprises required coursework to lay a shared foundation for bioethics inquiry and tailored student learning around their unique bioethics interest and learning goals through elective coursework, the practicum experience, and their capstone project. Given an extensive network of bioethics experts and settings across Canada and globally, most students will be able to complete their practicum experience in their local context with appropriate local supervision and ongoing program mentorship. Students will complete an independent capstone project on an applied bioethics topic under supervision of an expert MHSc faculty member and with peer feedback from other students in their cohort.

The MHSc employs a cohort model fostering shared inquiry, facilitating peer mentorship, and cultivating professional relationships among students both during and after the degree. A strength of our program is the diversity of its students, who bring their experience and expertise into the learning environment. Students have shared with us over the years how much they value and benefit from the contextual, personal and professional insights of their classmates from diverse professional disciplines, different health sectors, settings and roles, and other health systems in Canada and beyond.

Who Should Apply

The MHSc in Bioethics is designed for early and mid-career professionals working in health or health-related settings. The program welcomes a diversity of personal and professional experience across the health sector in Canada and beyond. Past students have included: health practitioners, health administrators and policymakers, clinician educators/faculty, academic administrators, post-graduate clinical trainees and fellows, lawyers, regulators, journalists, and patient and family advisors.

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies and must also satisfy the following minimum admission requirements:

  • An appropriate undergraduate degree with a minimum B+ average in the final year and normally, a recognized professional degree in one of the health disciplines (e.g., MD, BScN, BScPT, BSW) or equivalent. Applicants from other disciplines will be considered on an individual basis.
  • At least three years of relevant full-time professional work experience. Applicants with less experience may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

The program favours individuals with outstanding academic credentials, demonstrated evidence of scholarly ability and personal maturity, and a commitment to shared inquiry, collaboration, and mutual respect. Ideally, applicant will have strong institutional support to participate in the MHSc program as well as the potential for significant bioethics leadership in their home institution or local community upon completion of the degree.

Program Details


  • Successful completion of a total of 7.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), including required courses (3.0 FCE), electives (2.0 FCE), practicum experience (1.0 FCE), and capstone project (1.0 FCE)
  • On-campus attendance at a weeklong, in-person residency in each academic session (Fall, Winter, and Summer in Year 1; Fall and Winter in Year 2)


  • 5 academic sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S/F/W)


  • Online and self-directed activities (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • In-person residency weeks (normally, 5-days) at the University of Toronto in each academic session

Typical Program Progression:

Year 1 Year 2
Session Fall Winter Summer Fall Winter
Residency Week September January May October March
Program Requirements: Required Courses:

  • CHL 3011 & 3012: Theoretical Foundations of Bioethics
  • CHL 3001: Contemporary Issues in Bioethics
  • CHL 3003: Empirical Approaches in Bioethics
  • CHL 3005: Legal Approaches in Bioethics
  • CHL 3050: Professional Skills in Applied Bioethics Practice**
Elective Courses (2.0 FCEs)
CHL 3008Y: Practicum in Bioethics
CHL 3052Y: Capstone Project in Applied Bioethics

**CHL 3050 is a continuing course conducted during the residency weeks


  • ~15 hours per week (self-directed and online activities)
  • 5 days per academic session (in-person residencies)


  • For information on tuition and fees, please refer to the student account website here.

How to Apply

Applications for the MHSc in Bioethics program must be submitted through the School of Graduate Studies online application management system by January 19, 2024. The following items must be included in your online application:

  • Online application form
  • Current CV, which clearly identifies your professional work experience
  • Statement of Intent (max. 1,000 words; approximately 2 pages single-spaced), which outlines your reasons for pursuing admission into the MHSc in Bioethics; explains how your academic and professional experience has prepared you for graduate education in bioethics; identifies your main areas of professional or scholarly interest in bioethics; and describes how you plan to put your MHSc degree to use in your career and/or institutional setting
  • Three (3) Letters of Reference, of which at least one must be an academic reference attesting to your academic preparation and capacity for graduate studies and at least one must be a professional reference attesting to your skills, knowledge and character; your interpersonal strengths and professionalism; and your potential contributions to fostering bioethics capacity in your professional setting.
  • Release Letter from Employer from a senior administrator in your institution on institutional letterhead confirming that you will have the necessary professional release time to complete the program and clarifying the institution’s view of how your graduate education will help strengthen bioethics capacity in your home institution
  • All university academic transcripts, including all undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and degrees in progress. For more information about submitting your transcripts, please review the instructions posted here on the Dalla Lana School of Public Health webpage.

The MHSc in Bioethics is offered through the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and coordinated by the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.

MHSc Information Sessions

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  1. SGS Application Form
  2. CV
  3. Statement of Intent
  4. Letters of Reference (3)
  5. Release Letter from Employer
  6. Academic Transcripts (all)

Deadline: January 19, 2024 by 11:59pm (ET)

Submit your application here.