Why study bioethics?

7 reasons to study bioethics at the University of Sydney

A degree in bioethics offers a deep understanding of ethical issues in medicine, health and the life sciences. It's the ideal way to develop your existing career or move into a new field of interest.

The Bioethics program at the University of Sydney provides you with knowledge of theories, methods, and issues in bioethics. You will need to learn about the roots of bioethics in moral theory, the relationship between bioethics and society, and how bioethics interacts with law and policy. You will have the opportunity to apply your new knowledge to a range of issues in clinical, public health and research domains, as well as reflect on how we live our lives within the context of political, socio-economic and environmental determinants of health. 

Bioethics is an interdisciplinary field that critically examines controversial topics that impact the future of humanity and society and which are discussed every day in the media. 

Here are 7 reasons you should study bioethics at Sydney Health Ethics, in the Sydney School of Public Health:

1. Learn from internationally recognised bioethics experts

The Bioethics program is part of the Sydney School of Public Health, ranked number 3 in Australia and 35 in the world for public health in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities. The course is designed and taught by experts in the field who have national and international experience. They include:

  • Professor Ainsley Newson works at the forefront of ethics and emerging technologies. She is interested in the ethical application of methods such as DNA sequencing to benefit both individual and population health.
  • Associate Professor Claire Hooker explores how values influence health, particularly in health communication, from the interpersonal to the public and organisational. She leads initiatives in Health Humanities and Creativity, and Health, and brings these perspectives to bioethics teaching and research. 
  • Dr Diego Silva is a global expert in infectious disease ethics. He uses conceptual and empirical approaches to investigate the role of freedom and coercion in the context of disease outbreaks and pandemics. 
  • Dr Kathryn MacKay is an expert in feminist public health and reproductive ethics. She uses philosophical methods to analyse public health communication and the structures of society that contributes to health (or the lack of it.)

2. Tailor your work-load balance with our flexible study options

Our Bioethics program can be studied completely online. This means you can tailor your study load to suit your professional demands. The program is also available for part or full-time study. With flexible study options, you can choose your course load and change your enrolment mode each semester to meet your working demands and life commitments.

3. Improve your analytic, critical thinking and creative thinking skills

Our course involves many different disciplines and perspectives with a focus on critically engaging with issues and methods. As well as enhancing your understanding in bioethics, you will also improve your problem solving and critical thinking abilities, skills that are valuable in professional and academic careers. 

4. Receive professional recognition/accreditation

The study courses are also designed to meet the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) continuing professional development standards, contributing 50 credits per semester under "Category 4: structured learning projects."

5. Add value to your existing career

Studying bioethics allows you to broaden your knowledge in your chosen health or research area and add value to an existing career. The study of bioethics is suitable for people from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as philosophy, arts, humanities, social science, law, science, medicine, nursing, allied health professionals, psychology and health management. 

6. Discover a new and rewarding career path in health

You don’t have to come from a medical or health background to study Bioethics at the University of Sydney. Our students come from a wide range of professions, such as scientists, researchers, nurses, clinicans and those in health policy or services. The structure of the program will train and equip you with new skills in bioethics and prepare you for a highly rewarding new career in or related to health. 

7. Study engaging and leading-edge content

We offer topics of study on the ethics of medical innovation, public health ethics, and research, which give you the opportunity to study with leading scholars on leading-edge bioethical questions in these areas.

Overall, the program structure is diverse and covers a range of topic areas that will enable you to pursue issues and ideas in new and challenging ways. 

Still have questions?

Email the course coordinator at

18 May 2018

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