Philosophy and Bioethics

Students who wish to specialize in bioethics will find Albany an ideal place to do graduate work in philosophy. In 2004, the Philosophical Gourmet ranked the University at Albany among the top 35 institutions in applied ethics. (It retained this ranking in the 2009 report.) The department's faculty includes Bonnie Steinbock, a world-renowned bioethicist, who specializes in reproduction and genetics. Other members, including Rachel Cohon, Lisa Fuller, Kristen Hessler, and Ron McClamrock, have also published in bioethics; still others (Jason D'Cruz, P.D. Magnus, Jon Mandle) have interests that intersect with bioethics. (See Department of Philosophy Faculty.)

Albany is fast-becoming known as a center of bioethics research. The Alden March Bioethics Institute, located in the Albany Medical Center, is within 15 minutes of the UAlbany campus. The faculty at AMBI include individuals from many disciplines, including philosophy, microbiology, anthropology, law, and public health. In addition, graduate students in philosophy have the opportunity to experience ethics at the bedside through Phi 617, a clinical ethics internship offered during the summer at Albany Medical College.

Across the street from AMBI is Albany Law School, which offers courses in both health law and bioethics. The Hudson-Mohawk consortium makes it possible for UAlbany students to get academic credit for courses taken at Albany Law, and to use a course taken at Albany Law to satisfy the research-tool requirement (see Graduate Handbook).

Students also have the option of earning a joint degree program through the The Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program directed by Robert Baker. Among the first in the nation to develop an online bioethics masters program, Union offers specializations in clinical ethics, health policy and law, and research ethics. Professor Steinbock teaches an online course in reproductive ethics for the Union/Mount Sinai program.

In addition, several of the University's own schools and departments offer opportunities for interdisciplinary work in bioethics, including biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Public Administration and Policy, ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10 in the country. Faculty from all of these departments, as well as AMBI, Union, and Albany Law School, are available to our students for consultation, and to act as external members of dissertation committees, making it possible to combine genuinely interdisciplinary work with rigorous training in philosophy. The libraries at all of these institutions are open to UAlbany graduate students.

The lectures and conferences at these institutions and others in the tri-city area (for example, at Union College in Schenectady and RPI in Troy) make the Capital District a vibrant place to pursue a degree in philosophy and bioethics.

The Dual Degree Program

On February 26, 2007 the Boards of Trustees of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, approved a partnership with Union Graduate College to jointly offer graduate degrees and certificates in The Bioethics Program.

From 2001 to 2006, Union Graduate College had offered bioethics degrees and certificates jointly with the Albany Medical College and its Alden March Bioethics Institute (AMBI). Commencing in 2007, Union Graduate College will offer its degrees and certificates with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (NYC).

The joint degree program will officially be known as The Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program. The Bioethics Program's mission is to provide quality professional graduate education in bioethics for those unable to participate in campus-based programs because of the demands of work or obstacles of distance.

The dual degree programs in law, philosophy, and social work offered by Union Graduate College with (among others) The University at Albany/SUNY will continue to be offered by The Bioethics Program.

For additional information on The Bioethics Program please e-mail (bioethics at, phone (518-388-8045), or visit the website.