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Faculty of Medicine

PhD Program Biomedical Ethics and Law (PhD BmEL)

Since 2009, the University of Zurich offers a PhD Program in Biomedical Ethics and Law (PhD BmEL). The Program is established by the Faculties of Medicine and Law and is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

During the last decades, developments in biomedical sciences have challenged social norms, ethical and legal boundaries. Cloning, end of life decisions, embryonic stem cell research, assisted reproductive technologies are only some of the issues that have triggered ongoing political, philosophical, and legal debates. There is an increasing need for experts in biomedical ethics and law who can adequately address the emerging issues at the national and international level. The new PhD BmEL aims to provide qualified participants with the opportunity to acquire such expertise.

In particular, the PhD BmEL’s goals are to:

  • deepen participants’ understanding of global issues in biomedical ethics and law
  • equip participants with the methodological tools used in bioethics and law to approach ethical dilemmas that arise in biomedicine and health care
  • provide the intellectual environment as well as guidance that will allow participants to design and implement their own research project
  • provide opportunities for students to interact with a network of experts in the field of biomedical ethics and law

The Program is for medical doctors, lawyers and other qualified individuals with an interest in pursuing research in biomedical ethics and law. Students can be admitted through the Faculty of Medicine or the Faculty of Law. They may follow one of the two distinct tracks with concentration either on biomedical ethics or on law. The Medical Track is taught exclusively in English.

The Institute for Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine coordinates this Track for the Medical Faculty and is responsible for the supervision of the doctoral students registered in it.

Further information