Skip to main content

Dual Graduate Degree Program with Genetic Counseling

Our program emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of bioethics through the humanities and the values-oriented social sciences. The goal of the program is a rigorous master's level education in the legal, historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts of medicine. Graduates will be able to use their multidisciplinary understanding of medicine in their teaching, advising, and ethical decision making.


This program is designed to fit with your Genetic Counseling program. The core courses (MHB 401-406) meet in the evening, from 6 to 9 p.m., once weekly. The Special Topics lectures meet every Thursday from noon to 12:45 p.m., and the lectures are typically recorded and made available for download for those unable to attend. All classes meet on Northwestern University's Chicago campus.


Our curriculum generally consists of 10 course units: six three-hour courses, two years of a weekly one-hour lecture series, two tutorials, and an MA thesis. However, we count your Genetic Counseling (GC) ethics training towards the program, so GC students are required to complete only nine MHB units. Below is a graphical representation of the curriculum, as it is commonly taken. You must complete each of the six core courses (in green), but it is your choice whether to omit the tutorials (two purple boxes) or a year of Special Topics (three yellow boxes). Hover over a course's title for its description.


Applications to this dual-degree program are handled by the Genetic Counseling program. Applicants should indicate in their application that they are interested in pursuing the dual-degree program and should address their interest in both degrees in their academic statement. Please follow the GC program's guidelines for letters of recommendation. A letter that addresses your interest in bioethics and/or the medical humanities and your ability to do graduate-level humanities work is encouraged but not required. If you have questions about the Medical Humanities & Bioethics program specifically, please contact MHB Graduate Program Coordinator Bryan Morrison. For all other questions, please contact the Genetic Counseling program.


The cost of pursuing the master of arts degree as a Genetic Counseling student is one-half the cost of pursuing it as a single degree. Genetic counseling students entering in Fall 2024 will pay $40,600 total for the degree (versus approximately $81,200 as a single-degree student). Additionally, significant need-based grants to reduce MA tuition are available directly from the MHB program.

Contact Us

Contact Bryan Morrison for additional information or assistance.