Bioethics

Unit outlines will be available through Find a unit outline two weeks before the first day of teaching for 1000-level and 5000-level units, or one week before the first day of teaching for all other units.
 

Bioethics

Master of Bioethics Coursework Pathway

Students in the courswork pathway must complete 48 credit points including:
(a) 18 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 18 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 12 credit points from Part 1 or Part 2

Master of Bioethics Research Pathway

Subject to the availability of supervision and suitable projects, students with a credit average in 24 credit points of study from the Master's degree may be admitted to the research pathway.
Students in the research pathway must complete 48 credit points including:
(a) 18 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 18 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 12 credit points from Part 3

Graduate Diploma in Bioethics

Students must complete 36 credit points including:
(a) 12 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 18 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 6 credit points from Part 1 or Part 2.

Graduate Certificate in Bioethics

Students must complete 24 credit points including:
(a) 6 credit points from core units of study, excluding the capstone (Bioethics in Society BETH5103); and
(b) 6 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 12 credit points from core units of study (excluding the capstone) or Part 1 or Part 2.

Core units

BETH5000 Methods in Bioethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Angus Dawson and Prof Ainsley Newson Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit of study offers a critical review of the field and methods of bioethics. The course explores the meaning of 'bioethics' as a concept and practice, both historically and in contemporary discussions. The seminars critically explore a diverse range of different methods used in bioethics. Topics include what `bioethics¿ is, the use of moral theory, liberal and conservative approaches, employing arguments and thought experiments, epistemic justice, empirical bioethics, reflective equilibrium, Indigenous and environmental bioethics, global bioethics and the role of compromise in bioethics debate. Learning activities will include seminars and small group discussion.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5101 Moral Theory

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 1 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
Participants in this Unit of Study (UoS) will develop the foundational knowledge of moral theory necessary to
engage in advanced analyses of issues in health ethics. This course is arranged around three types of moral thinking: consequentialist, non-consequentialist, and theory-neutral positions. We will explore each of these. In so doing, we will read a combination of classic texts and recent articles that provide an introduction to theoretical frameworks such as virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. We will also become familiar with critical and contemporary approaches to ethical thinking, such as egalitarianism, the capabilities approach, feminist ethics, and principle-based ethics. In addition to gaining an understanding of these theories and approaches, students in this UoS will consider a variety of topics pertinent to current ethical debates, including cultural relativism, universalism in ethics, difference, power, and oppression.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5103 Bioethics in Society

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Christopher Jordens Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assumed knowledge: BETH5101 AND BETH5000 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Online, Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
In this unit of study, Masters students will draw together what they have learned in the course by applying it to a current or historical issue in bioethics. We will begin with a series of case studies to consider how bioethical issues manifest outside of academia. We will pay particular attention to the influence of
the mass media in framing bioethical issues as news and entertainment. We will also examine how bioethical issues affect and figure in formal political institutions and processes. How well are they handled by processes that aim to be rational, evidence-based and objective? And how should we understand the relationships between bioethics and social movements? Students will be invited to reflect on how academic bioethics relates to other institutions and communities of practice, and how it should relate to them. Students will develop an outline for a major essay or project and submit it for peer assessment. Participation will involve responding to case studies, and giving, receiving and evaluating feedback from other students on essay outlines or project proposals.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units

Part 1

BETH5102 Philosophy of Health

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Christopher Jordens Session: Semester 1 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit of study introduces some philosophical questions and debates concerning health, medicine and the biomedicalvsciences. We will begin by exploring some basic concepts and distinctions such as health, disease, mental illness and disability. We will then explore topics that lie at the heart of a scientific approach to health and medicine, such as causation, experimentation, evidence and clinical reasoning. Towards the end of the course, students will be invited to reflect critically on the preceding sections by exploring the rationality claims of non-orthodox approaches to health and medicine, by inquiring closely into the meaning of medical terms, and by taking a broad view of notions like health, disease or risk. This unit will appeal to students who want to take a ¿deep dive¿ into ideas and commitments that make the health professions and the health sciences distinctive. It will encourage you to question deeply-held assumptions; it will help you feel confident to draw on philosophical scholarship, and it will equip you to evaluate reasons, evidence and arguments with the kind of rigor that philosophy demands.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5104 Bioethics, Law and Society

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5104 Bioethics Law and Society introduces students to some of the interrelationships between health care ethics and the law Students will explore the moral basis of law and the means by which law in turn influences and directs clinical practice and health policy We also look at the limits of law in solving ethical dilemmas and consider what happens when the law falls out of step with the moral institutions of health care providers patients and the general public Over the course of the semester students will learn to critically read and analyse primary sources of law relevant to bioethics Students will then examine a number of areas of law that have particular significance for bioethics and society including the law of consent medical negligence advance directives maternalfoetal conflicts abortion reproduction endoflife decisionmaking tissue regulation and infectious disease Learning activities in BETH5104 include lectures case discussions during lectures problembased learning online learning activities and written assessments
BETH5202 Research Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prerequisites: A three-year undergraduate degree in science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, law, history, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Prohibitions: BETH5208 Assumed knowledge: A three-year undergraduate degree in science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, law, history, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit of study critically examines research ethics in its wider context, from how research is structured to its dissemination. It explores the ethical underpinnings of a variety of research methods and their uses in
humans and non-human animals including the justifications for engaging in research, key concepts in research ethics and research integrity. The unit also briefly examines the history of research and the impact of research abuse on participants, both human and non-human animal.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5203 Ethics and Public Health

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prohibitions: BETH5206 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit provides students with an overview of the ethical and political issues that underlie public health and public health research. The unit begins with some fundamentals: the nature of ethics, of public health (and how it might be different to clinical medicine) and of public health ethics. It introduces key concepts in public health ethics including liberty, utility, justice, solidarity and reciprocity, and introduces students to different ways of reasoning about the ethics of public health. A range of practical public health problems and issues will be considered, including ethical dimensions of communicable and non-communicable diseases in populations, and the ethical challenges of public health research. Throughout, the emphasis is on learning to make sound arguments about the ethical aspects of public health policy, practice and research. Most learning occurs in the context of five teaching intensives, which are highly interactive and focus on the development and application of reasoning skills.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5204 Clinical Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Ainsley Newson Session: Semester 1 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit will facilitate students to critically review the ethical issues that underlie the delivery of healthcare. Students will explore: dominant theoretical approaches relevant to ethical reasoning in the clinical context; key ethical concepts in the clinical encounter (such as autonomy, professionalism and confidentiality); major contexts in which ethical issues arise in clinical practice (such as the start and end of life); and the role of clinical ethics consultation. The unit will also consider specific issues and populations within clinical practice, such as healthcare in underserved populations.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units

Part 2

BETH5202 Research Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prerequisites: A three-year undergraduate degree in science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, law, history, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Prohibitions: BETH5208 Assumed knowledge: A three-year undergraduate degree in science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, law, history, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit of study critically examines research ethics in its wider context, from how research is structured to its dissemination. It explores the ethical underpinnings of a variety of research methods and their uses in
humans and non-human animals including the justifications for engaging in research, key concepts in research ethics and research integrity. The unit also briefly examines the history of research and the impact of research abuse on participants, both human and non-human animal.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5203 Ethics and Public Health

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prohibitions: BETH5206 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit provides students with an overview of the ethical and political issues that underlie public health and public health research. The unit begins with some fundamentals: the nature of ethics, of public health (and how it might be different to clinical medicine) and of public health ethics. It introduces key concepts in public health ethics including liberty, utility, justice, solidarity and reciprocity, and introduces students to different ways of reasoning about the ethics of public health. A range of practical public health problems and issues will be considered, including ethical dimensions of communicable and non-communicable diseases in populations, and the ethical challenges of public health research. Throughout, the emphasis is on learning to make sound arguments about the ethical aspects of public health policy, practice and research. Most learning occurs in the context of five teaching intensives, which are highly interactive and focus on the development and application of reasoning skills.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5205 Ethics and Mental Health

This unit of study is not available in 2021

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Professor Michael Robertson; Miss Bronwen Morrell Session: Semester 2 Classes: Distance Education (online) Assumed knowledge: Basic understanding of ethical reasoning Assessment: Major Assignment (3000 word limit) 50%; 2x5 short-answer written assessments (25% each) Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Students can meet with course coordinators by appointment in person or via teleconference
Constructs of mental health and mental illness are highly contextual to culture, history and societal notions of normative experience and conduct. Mental illness can place an individual in a position of particular disadvantage and unique vulnerability through diminished (and deprived) autonomy. In light of this, ethical deliberation in the field of mental health care differs from other lines of inquiry in biomedical ethics. This unit of study begins with an examination of the unique status of the 'psychiatric patient' and the problems in applying normative ethical approaches to moral deliberation in mental health care. We then explore particular topics in mental health ethics including the legacies of the National Socialist persecution of the sick and disabled; and unique challenges in the care of groups in the community including Aboriginal Australians, refugees and asylum seekers, people in LGBTIQ communities, and adults and children living with learning and intellectual disabilities. We also explore contemporary controversies in mental health care including coercion and involuntary treatment, the mental health implications of the euthanasia debate, gendered power, medicalisation of children's behaviour, the problem of 'evil', and mental health professionals speaking out in the media on topics of public interest. During the semester, the course coordinators provide participants with regular feedback and guidance in their engagement with the topic. Each week features a podcast lecture and/or interview with an expert in the area under consideration and recommended readings, as well as other media where relevant.
Textbooks
Robertson M and Walter G Ethics and Mental Health: The Patient, Profession and Community (2013) Boca Raton CRC Press; Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.
BETH5207 Creative Arts in Health

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 1 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
Creative practices are transforming health and healthcare. The arts and health sector is rapidly expanding globally, generating lasting impacts at the nexus between wellbeing, community, and individual physical health. Creative practices are shifting aging and residential care, mental health, and disability, from exclusion and stigmatisation, towards empowerment, agency, and connection. We are learning that culture, country, community and health are indivisible. You will be oriented to theories, justifications, and research evidence for varying uses of creative arts in health, and will be given access to a range of practical approaches, models and experiences. Where possible, students will be treated to world leaders in arts and health practice. This course will appeal to those working (or interested in working) in public and community health; health communication; health policy; literary, visual and performing arts; and in healthcare work, social work; psychology; or related disciplines.
BETH5208 Introduction to Human Research Ethics

Credit points: 2 Teacher/Coordinator: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prohibitions: BETH5202 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit of study introduces students to human research ethics in its wider context It explores the ethical underpinnings of the research endeavour including the justifications for engaging in research and research integrity The unit also briefly reviews the history of research and the impact of research abuse on human participants
BETH5209 Medicines Policy, Economics and Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Associate Professor Wendy Lipworth, Dr Narcyz Ghinea Session: Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Assumed knowledge: A degree in science, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, allied health, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, history, law, communications, public policy, business, economics, commerce, organisation studies, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
Medicines save lives but they can be costly and can have serious adverse effects. Value-laden decisions are continuously being made at individual, institutional, national and international levels regarding the medicines we need, want and can afford. In this unit of study, we will explore and critique global and national policies and processes related to medicines, examining how research and development agendas are set; how medicines are assessed and evaluated; and how new technologies are translated into practice. We will also explore broader trends such as globalisation, commercialisation and changing consumer expectations. By the end of the course, students will understand the forces shaping the development, regulation, funding and uptake of medicines both nationally and internationally, and the political, ethical, legal and economic issues that are at stake. This course is designed to appeal to a wide range of students from ethics, law, public health, health care, policy, communications, economics, business, politics, administration, and biomedical science.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
MMHU6902 Independent Study

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Claire Hooker Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prerequisites: You must have completed at least one other unit of study in a postgraduate coursework degree before seeking permission to enrol. Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit will provide an opportunity for approved candidates to pursue a self-directed project equivalent in size and scope to a 6cp unit of study, under supervision. Students will be expected to discuss and plan the project with their supervisor, then submit drafted material to an agreed timetable, and to discuss this drafted material with their supervisor before submitting a final essay. All assessments must be completed to pass this unit. Supervisor contact will be the equivalent of 1/2 hour per week for the semester.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units

Part 3

BETH5301 Research Project A

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prerequisites: Credit average (or higher) in 24 credit points of BETH units of study. Corequisites: BETH5302 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit must be taken in conjunction with BETH5302 (Research Project B). Students must receive formal permission from the Program Director to enrol in BETH 5301 and BETH 5302. . The Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined) provides opportunity for research and in-depth learning in a bioethics topic of special interest or importance to the student. Successful completion of the project may also provide students with the research experience required for the pursuit of a higher degree. This unit involves independent research and regular meetings with a supervisor. In the process of completing the Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined), students will produce an original 15,000 word treatise. Choice of topic depends on the availability of an appropriate supervisor. It is recommended, but not required, that BETH5301 and BETH5302 are taken in consecutive separate semesters, rather than concurrently. A mark for both BETH5301 and BETH5302 combined is provided at the completion of BETH5302. It is possible to take these units in distance mode.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
BETH5302 Research Project B

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Prerequisites: Credit average (or higher) in 24 credit points of BETH units of study. Corequisites: BETH5301 Assessment: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Practical field work: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units
This unit must be taken in conjunction with BETH5301 (Research Project A). Students must receive formal permission from the Program Director to enrol in BETH 5301 and BETH 5302. The Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined) provides opportunity for research and in-depth learning in a bioethics topic of special interest or importance to the student. Successful completion of the project may also provide students with the research experience required for the pursuit of a higher degree. This unit involves independent research and regular meetings with a supervisor. In the process of completing the Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined), students will produce an original 15,000 word treatise. Choice of topic depends on the availability of an appropriate supervisor. It is recommended, but not required, that BETH5301 and BETH5302 are taken in consecutive semesters, rather than concurrently. A mark for both BETH5301 and BETH5302 combined is provided at the completion of BETH5302. It is possible to take these units in distance mode.
Textbooks
Refer to the unit of study outline https://www.sydney.edu.au/units