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About Us

Medical History

Since its founding in 1950, the department has maintained a tradition of excellence in the history of medicine where it is internationally recognized as one of the leading research and educational programs in the field. In cooperation with the Department of the History of Science, it offers graduate programs leading to M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the history of European, American, and colonial medicine and public health. A joint doctoral program with the Department of History is also available. Graduate students are encouraged to work in related fields, such as history (including the history of science, technology, and pharmacy), medical sociology, bioethics, and population health.

Ph.D. Minor

Requirements for a minor in Medical History are a minimum of ten credits in Medical History courses, including at least one 900-level seminar. Please contact the chair, Susan Lederer, for additional information (selederer@wisc.edu).


The University of Wisconsin established Bioethics as one of the first interdisciplinary programs of its kind in a school of medicine. Faculty members come from diverse disciplines, including medicine, law, philosophy, and anthropology. Through their various activities, these scholars have helped to frame bioethics debates at both the national and international levels. Today, Bioethics faculty members are actively engaged in research, teaching, and service related to stem cell research, reproductive medicine, medical education, health disparities, public health ethics, agricultural and medical biotechnologies, and social science perspectives on bioethical concerns.

Although the program offers no independent degrees in bioethics, interested graduate students can specialize in the subject while earning a degree in philosophy, law, population health sciences, or biotechnology studies (which offers an M.S. degree). Clinical fellowships in bioethics are also available for physicians.

Graduate Studies

The graduate program in Medical History and Bioethics is combined with the Department of the History of Science. Details about the graduate program, including application information, can be found on their website on their graduate program "Overview" page.

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