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Ethics and public health

Ethical and political issues underpinning public health
This course will explore the nature of ethics in public health and introduce different ways of reasoning. Ethical dimensions of disease and challenges of research in public health will be covered in this practical short course.

Course overview

The course commences with an overview of the fundamentals of ethics. The nature of ethics and public health, the differences in clinical medicine, and of public health ethics will be covered. It introduces key concepts 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.

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • explain relevant concepts in public health ethics
  • evaluate the ethical dimensions of the practice of public health from multiple perspectives
  • constructively engage in the public discourse relating to public health
  • work in a more ethically reflective way.

Important: This short course is a variant of the unit of study, Ethics and Public Health (BETH5203). It enables you to complete the unit without formal university enrolment. You will receive a certificate of completion, however, you will not receive credit points towards a University of Sydney degree.

Key information   
Course fees
  • $1,100 (incl. GST)
  • 10% discount is available for groups of three or more participants from the same institution or organisation
Course structure
  • 5-day face-to-face intensives
  • 4-6 hours per week online learning activities
Applicant deadline Friday 7th August 2020
Key dates
  • Intensive 1 - Friday 14th August 2020
  • Intensive 2 - Friday 28th August 2020
  • Intensive 3 - Friday 11th September 2020
  • Intensive 4 - Friday 25th September 2020
  • Intensive 5 - Friday 16th October 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.

Group application form

Download PDF


  • Education Support Office, Level 3, Edward Ford Building (A27), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia