The Bioethics and Society concentration allows students to explore the philosophical, historical, and moral dimensions of critical issues in healthcare. Bioethics is an interdisciplinary field that is interested in exploring, understanding, and determining the implications and consequences of medical science, research, and practice in the clinic and in public health. Students with an interest in practicing medicine are encouraged to consider this concentration as it provides a firm theoretical foundation for tackling many of the difficult issues facing healthcare providers and medical researchers today.  


The following list of pre-approved courses is intended to inspire, not to require. This list suggests some of the courses which have been used in the past for the concentration and which can  individualize the concentration around a student's interests and goals.


Concentration Rules

  • Core courses may not be replaced by a petitioned course
  • Relevant courses may be petitioned
  • Up to three non-College courses* are permitted 
  • Courses not used for the core course may be used as topical electives where suitable
  • Students in this concentration may not minor in Bioethics

Core Disciplines
(1 cu required; no petitions)

ANTH 3052: An Anthropological Approach to Bioethics
STSC 0100: Emergence of Modern Science (HSOC 0100)
HSOC 0400: Medicine in History (HIST 0876)
STSC 0600: Technology and Society (HSOC 0600)
STSC 1120: Science, Technology and War 

Core Bioethics Courses (1 cu required; no petitions)

BIOE 4010: Introduction to Bioethics*
HSOC 1330: Bioethics (SOCI 2971)
HSOC 2457: History of Bioethics
PHIL 1342: Bioethics

Philosophical and Religious Foundations (1 cu)

BIOE 4020: Foundatons of Bioethics*
NURS 3300: Theorethical Foundations of Health Care Ethics*
PHIL 1330: Ethics
PHIL 1342: Bioethics 
RELS 2390: Death, Disease and Demons in the Medieval World
STSC 2080: Science and Religion
STSC 3247: Why Not Magic? Magic, Esoterica, and the Occult in the History of Science

Social and Institutional Contexts (1 cu)

AFRC 2545: Sex, Love, and Race in African American Life and History
ANTH 1238: Intro to Medical Anthropology
ENGL 0070: Literature and Medicine (formerly ENGL 085)
ENGL 2530: Literature of Care
ENVS 1625: Community-Based Env. Health
GSWS 122: Sociology of Gender
GSWS 1101: Sociology of Gender
GSWS 2100: Trauma Porn to Title IX: Gender Based Violence at Penn
GSWS 3136: Queer Science
GSWS 3448: The Future of Disability and the Afterlives of Epidemics (HSOC 3447)
HSOC 1401: The People's Health
HSOC 2401: Social Determinants of Health
HSOC 2537: Gender and Health (GSWS 2537)
HSOC 3028: Normal People (STSC 3028)
HSOC 3120: Health in Philly, Past and Present
HSOC 3185: Global Radiation History: Living in the Atomic Age 1945 - Present (STSC 3185)
HSOC 3528: Public Health and Violence
HSOC 4242: The History and Future of Genetic Medicine (STSC 4242)
LGST 1010: Law and Social Values*
NURS 3150: Sociocultural Influences on Health*
NURS 3240: U.S. Child Health*
SOCI 0002: Social Inequality and Health (FY sem)
SOCI 2430: Race, Science and Justice (AFRC 2430)
SOCI 2450: Poverty, Race and Health
SOCI 2460: Social Inequality and Health

Technologies, Practices and Practitioners (1 cu)

ANTH 2060: Cultures of Science and Technology
ANTH 2332: Medicine and the Language of Pain
BIOE 5550: Bioethics and Technology*
ENVS 1615/1635/1645: Urban Environments courses
HCMG 2030: Clinical Issues in Health Care Management*
HSOC 2254: American Medicine and Technology in War and Peace
HSOC 2293: From Madness to Mental Health: The History of Psychiatry 
HSOC 2523: Technology and Medicine in America
HSOC 2526: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
HSOC 3313: Reproductive Medicine
STSC 1600: Information Age
STSC 2421: Manufacturing Minds: From Babbage to ChatGPT
STSC 2707: Data and Death
STSC 3657: Technology and Democracy

Law, Politics and Public Policy (1 cu)

AFRC 1123: Law and Society
BIOE 5750: Health Policy*
GSWS 1490: Law and Social Policy on Sex and Reproduction
HCMG 1010: Health Care Systems*
HCMG 2500: Health Care Reform and the Future of the American Health Care System
HSOC 1411: American Health Policy
HSOC 3528: Public Health and Violence
LGST 1000: Ethics and Social Responsibility*
PHIL 2450: Justice, Law and Morality
PSCI 1173: Comparative Health Politics
PSCI 0101: Comparative Politics of Developing Areas
PUBH 5070: Public Health Law and Ethics*
SOCI 0004: The Law in our Lives
SOCI 1120: Law and Society
SOCI 2240: Law and Social Change (AFRC 2240)
SOCI 2420: Social Problems and Public Policy

 *non-College course

Updated 06/07/2023