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Clinical ethics

Explore the ethical issues involved in the delivery of healthcare
This short course critically examines the ethical issues arising in healthcare practice. You will explore and apply different ethical concepts and critically consider the place of clinical ethics consultation.

Course overview

You will explore the importance of ethics in clinical practice, issues relating to the role of the health professions, and conceptual models for ethical reasoning in the clinical context.

You will then examine the foundations of clinical practice including capacity, veracity, confidentiality, and autonomy as well as specific issues and populations within clinical practice, such as the care of children, and the dying. The program will also reflect on current debates in the Australian healthcare context, particularly issues associated with healthcare rationing.

Importantly, the program will also focus on theoretical and practical aspects of clinical ethics consultation. 

Questions covered in this short course include:

·       How important are ethical values and principles to clinical practice?

·       What ethical issues arise in the practitioner-patient relationship? How should these be addressed?

·       Are clinical ethical issues context and professional specific?

·       What considerations ought to inform ethical decision-making in clinical practice?

How should ethical conflict be managed?

Important: This short course is a variant of the unit of study, Clinical Ethics (BETH5204).It enables you to complete the unit without formal university enrolment. You will receive a certificate of attendance, however, you will not receive credit points towards a University of Sydney degree. This course has no assessment when completed in short course mode.

Key information
Course fees
  • $1,100 (incl. GST)
  • 10% discount for groups of three or more participants from the same institution or organisation
Course structure
  • Two 2-day face-to-face intensives (see note below)
  • 32 hours self-guided online learning with feedback from course coordinator, structured around weekly topics
Application deadline 14 February 2020

Please note: this short course runs concurrent with the award course BETH5204 Clinical Ethics. If there are too few enrolments in face to face mode, this course will run online only – there will be no intensive teaching days. All students enrolled in this short course will be advised of the mode of teaching no less than two weeks before the first planned intensive.

  • Friday 06 March 2020
  • Saturday 07 March 2020
  • Friday 01 May 2020
  • Saturday 02 May 2020

In addition to the intensives, the course also proceeds online with a different topic each week (mapped to the intensive lectures); from Monday 24 February 2020 to Friday 22 June 2020.

How to apply


Complete the online application. You will be able to enter payment details as part of this secure process. 

Groups (three or more)

Complete the group application form (pdf, 57.7KB) and submit it to

University of Sydney staff

Contact us regarding a journal transfer after you have submitted your application form.


Phone: (02)  9036 3409