Biomedicine and Society (BETH5103)


How does biomedicine both influence and reflect the broader society of which it is a part? This unit of study addresses this general question by examining a set of issues relating to sex and drugs. A key theme in the course is the "medicalisation" of human experience in the domains of gender, reproduction and sexual behaviour. The course aims to widen the scope of bioethical inquiry through readings that explore the issues from a range of different perspectives including history, sociology, politics, health policy, philosophy, religion, feminism, public health, and personal experience. Each topic introduces specific concepts which students are encouraged to apply. Students are also encouraged to draw on their own disciplinary and/or professional background. Seminars, online discussions and coursework will provide opportunities to learn from other students, and apply learning from other units of study in bioethics.
All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Online lectures plus 12x1.5hr seminars, or fully online


1x1200wd exercise (30%); 1x3000-4000wd essay (60%); Participation in seminars or online (10%)


Required readings are available through the unit of study website. Supplementary readings can be accessed through the university library.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Additional Information

If an insufficient number of students opt to attend seminars on campus, the co-ordinator may choose to teach this Unit of Study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.