Undergraduate Minor in Bioethics


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 

Students who have declared the minor in bioethics may request registration codes up to three quarters in advance, here: request entry codesPlan ahead, our courses fill quickly! See our BH Course Schedules,2020-25. If you believe a course should be included on the BH Minor Requirements & Electives, email < mdcox@uw.edu > and recommend the course be added to the approved list of electives that count toward the minor. 

BH 499: Independent Study is not currently offered. 


BH undergraduate research is open to juniors and seniors, and you may request to complete an independent study project. BH 499 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 that are encountered in conventional coursework. 


Since faculty are limited on the number of Independent Study credits they can supervise, we strongly encourage you to complete the Minor using the course offerings. However, if you have a particular project or topic of interest in mind, paired with a proposal to study it independently, you may consult with the Education Programs Specialist to help you identify a faculty sponsor to discuss your proposed project plan.


To enroll in BH 499, students who have secured a faculty sponsor must complete the following steps:

  • Agree on the project plan details with your faculty sponsor, including reading, research, or a distinct project with a plan for reading, research, and writing (papers, essays) activities as well as periodic meetings to check on your progress.
  • Complete the BH 499 Independent Study form and submit a copy to the Education Programs Specialist, who will register you for BH 499 credits.


For a typical research paper, it might be expected that the student will write five typed, double-spaced pages per credit. This is only an example—final requirements must be agreed upon with the faculty sponsor.  To conform to other course standards, the student is expected to participate in three hours of research activities per credit per week.This means that a 3-credit independent research study will involve 9 hours of research each week in addition to scheduled meetings with a faculty sponsor.

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...