Undergraduate Minor in Bioethics

BH Course SchedulesBook an Advising AppointmentRequirementsDeclare Minor

The Minor in Bioethics is designed for students aspiring toward careers in the health sciences and the health professions. The program is the only undergraduate minor available from the School of Medicine, and is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the United States. The curriculum for the Minor in Bioethics addresses ethical issues in health care, health policy, public health and the conduct of health sciences research; introduces ethical theories and methods of ethics analysis; and instills an appreciation of social and cultural issues that frame bioethical concerns. Course formats vary from small seminars that afford opportunities for peer learning to larger lecture-driven courses. The curriculum is taught by faculty from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are experts in their respective fields.


The 2022 Wylie Burke Endowed Scholarship for Diversity supports UW undergraduate and/or graduate students from diverse social and experiential backgrounds, who are working in interdisciplinary space to study the social, ethical, and policy implications of health research and/or healthcare. The $1,000 scholarship seeks to cover costs of tuition, books, fees, travel to professional meetings, and other educational expenses. Apply by May 15, 2022 here.  If you have questions, please email mdcox@uw.edu.

More Information

To declare the minor, contact our advisor, Melissa Cox, by email < mdcox@uw.edu > and/or book an advising appointment. Ms. Cox will complete the Change of Major/Minor Form for you. Students must have (1) declared a major and (2) completed at least 45 credits before declaring a minor. Changes to your major/minor are posted once per quarter; the minor can be declared and posted any time during the quarter. Students who have declared the minor in bioethics may request registration codes up to three quarters in advance, here: request entry codes.

Minor in Bioethics Requirements and Electives 

Our courses fill quickly, please register as soon as possible. 

BH 499: Independent Study 

Students interested in independent study (IS) have the option of requesting an opportunity to complete an independent study project under the sponsorship of a BH faculty sponsor (BH 499). IS enables students to investigate areas of intellectual interest that are substantially distinct from existing courses and/or to pursue modes of inquiry that are more intensive, specialized or innovative than those encountered in conventional course work. BH undergraduate research is open only to juniors and seniors and may not exceed 2 credits. Before requesting IS, a student should have a well thought out project in mind on a particular topic of interest. Due to limited faculty availability for independent study, we encourage completing requirements for the minor by enrolling in regularly listed course offerings.  


The IS option requires a contract between the student and faculty sponsor that specifies a detailed program of reading and research, or a distinct project with a plan for meetings, papers and projects agreed upon at the outset. 




  1. Define your research project - you choose the subject based on your interests

  2. Review our faculty, determine who best relates to your chosen research topic

  3. Email the faculty member, ask:

    1. Will you be my BH 499 instructor?

    2. How many credits can you commit to?
      1 credit = 3 hours of coursework / week
      2 credits = 6 hours of coursework / week

    3. Will you submit a C/NC grade on my behalf?

    4. What are the course deliverables? Example:
      One large paper
      Several essays
      Annotated bibliography
      Data collection / research

    5. How often should we meet?

If the faculty member agrees to be your BH 499 instructor, book an advising appointment with Melissa Cox by the following deadlines:

Autumn quarter – meet by April 1
Winter quarter – meet by October 1
Spring quarter – meet by January 1
Summer quarter – meet by March 1


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Michelle Montgomery, PhD, MA, MPP
Email: montgm2@uw.edu 
Office hours: Thursdays, 12-1:30 pm 
Meet: book an appointment via Canvas Calendar  



Melissa Cox, MLIS
Email: mdcox@uw.edu 
Office hours: Weekdays, 1:30-3 pm 
Meet: book an appointment

Undergrad Courses

This course is an examination of the ethical problem of allocating scarce medical resources. We will emphasize the fundamental principles of...
This course examines the moral grounds for the view that social inequalities in health are unjust using contemporary literature from moral...
This course introduces students to select biotechnology innovations and invites consideration of the ethical and policy implications...
This course examines the history of ideas, policies, and practices associated with eugenics and human genetics from the late nineteenth...
This course examines problems in bioethics from diverse global standpoints, including East Asian, Sub-Saharan African and Western. Our...
This course studies the major normative ethical theories, including both teleological and deontological approaches. We emphasize moral...
This course offers a case-based approach to ethical topics in medicine, such as abortion, genetic testing, physician-assisted death, and...
This course introduces students to bioethical questions that arise in public health, population health, and global health, situating ethical...