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What is Urban Bioethics?

Urban bioethics is a branch of bioethics grounded on the assertion that health disparities are an ethical problem. While health disparities — differences in health outcomes based on social, economic, political, and structural forces — are endemic to much of the United States, urban and rural alike, the Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple University focuses  a critical lens on urban spaces, areas defined by their density, diversity, and disparities.

Read more about what urban bioethics means to our students here

Why Pursue the MA in Urban Bioethics? 

Eliminating the differences in health outcomes in urban areas requires a multifaceted approach. Our program welcomes individuals who anticipate that their current or future work could benefit from a more systematic approach to thinking through and addressing contemporary ethical issues, including those that  intersect with health inequity.

Our students and alumni bring experience in a broad range of fields, including medicine, public health, law, social science, public policy, social work, industry, administration, education, and research. The diverse perspectives and wide-ranging knowledge of our students is our program’s greatest strength, and we view the interdisciplinary experience of our student body as a key element in fostering health equity in all communities.

In the words of one of our alumni,

The very best educational curricula help learners think about issues from new and alternative perspectives and with different priorities in mind. I know with certainty that you have helped me become more aware of social issues and to think differently about concepts like equity and the fundamental importance of  social health determinants and how public policy and the legal system looms over all of us.


If you share our belief that there is an urgency to addressing the ethical issue of health disparities in communities around the world, we invite you to expand your toolbox by studying with us and applying the principles of bioethics to your chosen field.