Welcome to the Bioethics Program, an interdisciplinary program based at the University Park campus and administered by the Rock Ethics Institute in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. 

At Penn State, bioethics does not just mean clinical ethics. We also work on research ethics, health law and policy, global health and environmental ethics. And we ask big questions. How does industry funding affect pharmaceutical research and leading studies in food science? Can we hold a meaningful discussion about physician-assisted suicide in a nation that does not have universal access to health care? Do we have a right to health care, and what are the implications of such a right for health care rationing?

The director of the program is Jonathan H. Marks, associate professor of bioethics, humanities, and law at Penn State, who works in close collaboration with faculty from several colleges across the University.

Our program was developed as an initiative of the Rock Ethics Institute to bring together faculty from several other colleges including the College of Medicine, the College of Health and Human Development (home of the School of Nursing), the Dickinson School of Law, the College of Engineering, the Smeal College of Business, the Eberly College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences.  Faculty associated with the program have affiliations with and/or collaborate with several interdisciplinary consortia at Penn State, including the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and the Children, Youth and Family Consortium.   

By drawing on a variety of faculty with a wide range of experiences and expertise at University Park and other campuses, the program is able to offer an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum.  We currently offer an undergraduate minor in bioethics and medical humanities and the first graduate degree of its kind in the United States, a dual-title Ph.D. program in bioethics. We also hold conferences and seminars that bring together leading experts from Penn State and their peers at other institutions.