Frequently asked questions
- What is bioethics?
- What should my background be?
- How long will this program take to complete?
- How many units of study do I take per semester?
- How do I apply?
- When is my application form due?
- If I get an offer for admission, how do I enrol?
- How much will my degree cost?
- Can I get financial support to help me complete a postgraduate coursework degree?
- Can I work and study at the same time?
- Can I take one unit of study without being enrolled in a degree?
- Can I take a unit of study for professional development or continuing education points?
- What is an intensive?
- Can I enrol in and complete a degree in the Bioethics Program if I don't live in Sydney?
- When can I start the program?
- When I am enrolled, how much time should I spend on the unit of study each week?
- Can I do a research project as part of my degree?
- Can I take a Bioethics unit as an ILA?
- Who should I contact for information while completing an ILA?
- I have an enrolment or fees query, who should I contact?
Bioethics is concerned with the ethical questions arising in contexts of biological and health sciences. Traditional topics in bioethics include abortion, euthanasia, relationships between health care providers and patients, research involving humans and animals, and justice in distribution of health resources. Emerging topics include genetic enhancement and modification of humans, risk and health, nanotechnology, and global public health.
These programs have been designed to meet the widely recognised growing need for ethics education for scientists, researchers and professionals working in medicine, nursing, psychology, allied health, pharmacy, dentistry, public health, health law, health and public policy, science communication and related fields, as well as students with backgrounds in applied philosophy, politics, law, sociology and anthropology. You should have an undergraduate degree in any of these related fields or comparable experience.
If you are a full time student, graduate certificates will take half a year, the graduate diploma and Masters will take one year. If you are a part time student, completing these degree programs can take anywhere from one to four years.
Full time students usually take four units of study per semester to complete the degree in the allocated time. Part time students should take one or two units of study per semester.
Application forms and further information on the application process are available at the Sydney Medical School’s future students page.
Application procedures are different for domestic and international applicants. Domestic applicants can find more information here. International students should consult this page.
If you wish to commence your degree in the first semester of the year, beginning March, the due date for applications is usually 31 October of the preceding year.
If you wish to commence your degree in the second semester of the year, beginning July, the due date for applications is usually 31 March of the preceding year.
While it is best to apply by the required dates, late applications will usually be considered up until about one month before the start of semester.
International applicants should submit their forms early to allow sufficient time for visa documentation to be processed.
Once you have received an offer of admission to a degree in the Bioethics Program, you need to complete the enrolment process by attending an Enrolment Day. This is usually held about 10 days before the beginning of semester.
You need to bring documentation such as your letter of offer, your tax file number, and a method of paying fees.
For more information see Sydney Medical School enrolment page.
Information about fees for this course can be found on the Future Students page of this course on the University of Sydney website. Please select the particular course you are interested in studying (a Masters, Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate in Bioethics) and the fee information is displayed in the right hand column.
While scholarships are not usually available for postgraduate coursework degrees, the Australian Government provides a service that allows you to defer all or part of your tuition fees. For more information on this, go to FEE-HELP
Yes. If you work full time, you can be a part time student, as classes are held after working hours, on evenings and weekends. If you are a full time student, it is also possible to work part time.
Yes - all Bioethics units of study are stand-alone and may be taken one at a time by students not enrolled in Bioethics or any other degree programs.
Some of our courses are available to non-enrolled students for a fee. Please for further information.
An intensive is a unit of study that is offered over several day-long learning sessions (instead of weekly seminars), and supplemented by online weekly tasks and discussion forums. This is especially useful for people who work full-time, or who live outside of Sydney.
All of our subjects can be studied online. Several subjects are also taught in intensive or block mode. Please consult the timetable for further information. Lecturers will offer online students as close an experience as possible to face to face teaching. This may include online lectures or telephone tutorials.
You can start the program either in semester one, which begins in early March of each year, or semester two, which begins in late July of each year.
You should spend approximately four to six hours per week on readings and online activities in addition to approximately two hours in seminars per week for each unit of study. If you are a full time student with a full study load, this amounts to approximately 24-32 hours per week.
Students enrolled in a Masters in Bioethics undertake a research project over 1 or 2 semesters. To enrol in the Masters degree, you must first complete at least 4 units of study in the BETH program at a Distinction or higher level.
Satisfactorily completing a degree can allow you to apply for subsequent postgraduate research degrees, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). If you think you may be interested in undertaking research, please see the University of Sydney information pages on postgraduate research degrees.
In most cases, you can take our units as an ILA. Please check with the course cordinator of your course first. They will need to confirm that taking a Bioethics unit as an ILA fits your course requirements. If it does, your course cordinator should contact the to request permission for you to take the unit as an ILA.
Once permission is granted, you can view the Bioethics timetable details on this website or through the timetabling unit. You fill out a learning contract, which serves as your enrolment, and the permission emails exchanged serve as supervision.
Once you have confirmed that you will be attending as an ILA, the UOS coordinator will add you to the class roll and grant you access to the course website. They will need your unikey login to add you to the sites, and your student ID number so they can confirm that you have completed the course.
Our standing policy on assessment for ILA students is that you will be expected to:
- do the readings; and
- attend at least 80% of the seminars and participate in discussion (or the equivalent online participation if you’re studying in distance mode); and
- submit a 2000 word essay (or some kind of equivalent piece of work) which is due about a month after the last class.
For all questions regarding how the ILA process works and will integrate with your study, please contact the course cordinator of your own course first.
For information regarding the content of the unit contact the unit coordinator - their details are available via the Bioethics website on the various units of study.
For initial permission to take the unit, all administrative and timetable queries etc that are not answered by our website, please contact the .
Candidature management is looked after by faculty - in this case the Sydney Medical School.
The Postgraduates Enrolment page of the SMS website may assist with your enquiries. If not, enquires regarding candidature management (enrolment/deferral/ etc) should be directed to the faculty at or by calling +61 (0)2 9351 3132.
Candidature Variations can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Examinations' questions can be addressed to email@example.com.