Bioethics

Bioethics

Master of Bioethics

Students in the courswork pathway must complete 48 credit points including:
(a) 6 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 24 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 6 credit points from Part 2; and
(c) 12 credit points from Part 3.

Master of Bioethics Research Pathway

Subject to the availability of supervision and suitable projects, students with a credit average in 24 credit points of study from the Master's degree may be admitted to the research pathway.
Students in the research pathway must complete 48 credit points including:
(a) 6 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 24 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 6 credit points from Part 2; and
(d) 12 credit points from Part 3

Graduate Diploma in Bioethics

Students must complete 36 credit points including:
(a) 6 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 12 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 18 credit points from Part 1 or Part 2.

Graduate Certificate in Bioethics

Students must complete 24 credit points including:
(a) 6 credit points from core units of study; and
(b) 12 credit points from Part 1; and
(c) 6 credit points from Part 1 or Part 2.

Core units

BETH5101 Introduction to Ethical Reasoning

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 1 Classes: 13 x 2 hour seminars or Online only. Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face mode. Assessment: 1 x 2000 word essay (35%); 1 x 4000 word essay (55%); participation in seminars or online (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening, Online
Note: If an insufficient number of students opt to attend Normal Evening sessions on campus, the coordinator may choose to teach this unit of study in Online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
In this unit of study students gain the background in ethical philosophy necessary to engage in advanced analyses of issues in bioethics. Introduction to Ethical Reasoning familiarises students with classical theoretical frameworks such as virtue ethics, Kantian deontology, and utilitarianism that have been influential in the history of Western philosophy. The unit also examines more contemporary approaches to ethics, such as the capabilities approach, feminist ethics, human rights doctrines, and poststructuralist approaches. Across these different theoretical frameworks, discussions will focus on topics such as cultural relativism, universalism in ethics, difference and power.
All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.
Textbooks
Students are provided with links to online readings (via the eReserve system). Supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.

Part 1

BETH5000 Critical Concepts in Bioethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Angus Dawson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 13 x 2hr seminars or online only. Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face mode. Assessment: 1 x 750 word review (15%) and 1 x 1500 word essay (30%) and 1 x 2000-2500 word essay (45%) and 1 x online work/class participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening, Online
Note: This is a Capstone Unit for the Master of Bioethics. If an insufficient number of students opt to attend seminars on campus, the coordinator may choose to teach this unit of study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
This unit of study offers a critical review of the field and methods of bioethics. The course explores the meaning of 'bioethics' as a concept and practice, both historically and in contemporary discussions. The seminars explore a diverse range of different perspectives and methods that people have used in bioethics from a critical perspective. Topics include the exploration of 'bioethics' as a topic and concept, the focus on the ethical dimensions of advances in biomedical science and biotechnology, using different theoretical positions such as risk and precaution, virtue, narrative, political philosophy, cross-cultural bioethics, especially indigenous thinking, feminist bioethics, bioethics and non-human animals, public health and, climate change and ecological and environmental bioethics. Learning activities will include seminars and small group discussion.
Textbooks
All readings can be accessed through the library or online
BETH5102 Philosophy of Medicine

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Christopher Jordens Session: Semester 1 Classes: discussions and formal content (lectures) are all online. Assessment: 1 x 1200 word short written exercise (20%); 1 x 3000-4000 word major essay (60%); online quizzes and participation online discussions (20%) Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Online only.
This unit of study introduces some philosophical questions and debates concerning medicine and the biomedical sciences. It is divided into three sections. The first explores basic concepts and distinctions such as health, disease, mental illness and disability. The second section deals with topics that lie at the heart of a scientific approach to medicine, namely, causation, experimentation, evidence and clinical reasoning. The final section of the course invites students to reflect critically on the preceding section by exploring the rationality claims of non-orthodox approaches, by inquiring closely into the meaning of medical terms, and by taking a broad view of the notion of risk. All assessments must be completed to pass this Unit.
Textbooks
Required readings are available through the unit of study Learning Management System.
BETH5103 Biomedicine and Society

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Christopher Jordens Session: Semester 2 Classes: Class discussions and formal content (lectures) are all online Assessment: 1 x 1200 word exercise (20%); 1 x 3000-4000 word essay (60%); online quizzes and participation in online discussions (20%) Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Online only
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.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.
Textbooks
Required readings are available through the unit of study website. Supplementary readings can be accessed through the University library.
BETH5104 Bioethics, Law and Society

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Roger Magnusson and Professor Cameron Stewart Session: Semester 1 Classes: 4x6.5hr intensives or online. Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face block mode Assessment: 1x2000wd problem (40%); 1x3500 word essay (60%). Online 'attendance' is also compulsory and will be demonstrated by engagement in at least 8 out of the 10 weekly discussion topics. No formal mark will be given for attendance, but failure to meet the attendance requirement may result in failure of the course. Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Prerequisites: A three-year undergraduate degree in science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, law, history, or other relevant field, or by special permission.
BETH5104 Bioethics, Law and Society introduces students to some of the interrelationships between health care, ethics, and the law. Students will explore the moral basis of law and the means by which law in turn, influences and directs clinical practice and health policy. We also look at the limits of law in solving ethical dilemmas, and consider what happens when the law falls out of step with the moral institutions of health care providers, patients, and the general public. Over the course of the semester, students will learn to critically read and analyse primary sources of law relevant to bioethics. Students will then examine a number of areas of law that have particular significance for bioethics and society including the law of consent, medical negligence, advance directives, maternal-foetal conflicts, abortion, reproduction, end-of-life decision-making, tissue regulation and infectious disease. Learning activities in BETH5104 include lectures, case discussions (during lectures), problem-based learning, online learning activities and written assessments.
Textbooks
Required: Kerridge, Lowe and Stewart (2013), Ethics and law for the health profession, 4th Edition (Federation Press). All other compulsory readings are provided to students in digital format. Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library collection.

Part 2

BETH5202 Human and Animal Research Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 2 Classes: 4 x 8hr intensive or Online only. Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face mode. Prohibitions: BETH5208 Assessment: Continuous assessment (short weekly tasks) (10%); 2 x 400 word short tasks (10%); 1 x 1500 word essay (30%); 1 x 2500 word essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: If an insufficient number of students opt to attend seminars on campus, the coordinator may choose to teach this unit of study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
This unit of study critically examines research ethics in its wider context, from how research is structured to its dissemination. It explores the ethical underpinnings of a variety of research methods and their uses in humans and non-human animals including the justifications for engaging in research, key concepts in research ethics and research integrity. The unit also briefly examines the history of research and the impact of research abuse on participants, both human and non-human animal.
Textbooks
All readings are made available via elearning.
BETH5203 Ethics and Public Health

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 2 Classes: 5 x 7 hour intensive workshops; or Online only. Prohibitions: BETH5206 Assessment: 5 x Online Quiz (50%); 1 x 2500 word essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: If an insufficient number of students opt to attend intensives on campus, the coordinator may choose to teach this unit of study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
This unit provides students with an overview of the ethical and political issues that underlie public health and public health research. The unit begins with some fundamentals: the nature of ethics, of public health (and how it might be different to clinical medicine) and of public health ethics. It introduces key concepts in public health ethics 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. Most learning occurs in the context of five teaching intensives, which are highly interactive and focus on the development and application of reasoning skills.
Textbooks
Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format).
BETH5204 Clinical Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Angus Dawson, A/Prof Ainsley Newson Session: Semester 1 Classes: 4 x 8hr Intensives or Online only. Attendance is compulsory if enrolled in face-to-face mode. Assessment: 1 x 1500 word case study (30%); 1 x 2500 word essay (50%); continuous assessment (short weekly tasks) (10%); 2 x 400 word Short Tasks (10%) Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: If an insufficient number of students opt to attend seminars on campus, the coordinator may choose to teach this unit of study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
This unit will facilitate students to critically review the ethical issues that underlie the delivery of healthcare. Students will explore: dominant theoretical approaches to ethical reasoning in the clinical context; key ethical concepts in the clinical encounter (such as consent, professionalism and confidentiality); major contexts in which ethical issues arise in clinical practice; and the role of clinical ethics consultation. The unit will also consider specific issues and populations within clinical practice, such as ethical aspects of healthcare at the beginning and end of life.
Textbooks
All readings are accessed online via elearning.
BETH5205 Ethics and Mental Health

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Professor Michael Robertson; Miss Bronwen Morrell Session: Semester 2 Classes: Distance Education (online) Assumed knowledge: Basic understanding of ethical reasoning Assessment: Major Assignment (3000 word limit) 50%; 2x5 short-answer written assessments (25% each) Mode of delivery: Online
Note: Students can meet with course coordinators by appointment in person or via teleconference
Constructs of mental health and mental illness are highly contextual to culture, history and societal notions of normative experience and conduct. Mental illness can place an individual in a position of particular disadvantage and unique vulnerability through diminished (and deprived) autonomy. In light of this, ethical deliberation in the field of mental health care differs from other lines of inquiry in biomedical ethics. This unit of study begins with an examination of the unique status of the 'psychiatric patient' and the problems in applying normative ethical approaches to moral deliberation in mental health care. We then explore particular topics in mental health ethics including the legacies of the National Socialist persecution of the sick and disabled; and unique challenges in the care of groups in the community including Aboriginal Australians, refugees and asylum seekers, people in LGBTIQ communities, and adults and children living with learning and intellectual disabilities. We also explore contemporary controversies in mental health care including coercion and involuntary treatment, the mental health implications of the euthanasia debate, gendered power, medicalisation of children's behaviour, the problem of 'evil', and mental health professionals speaking out in the media on topics of public interest. During the semester, the course coordinators provide participants with regular feedback and guidance in their engagement with the topic. Each week features a podcast lecture and/or interview with an expert in the area under consideration and recommended readings, as well as other media where relevant.
Textbooks
Robertson M and Walter G Ethics and Mental Health: The Patient, Profession and Community (2013) Boca Raton CRC Press; Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.
BETH5206 Introduction to Public Health Ethics

Credit points: 2 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kate MacKay Session: Semester 2a Classes: 2 x 7 hour intensives; or online only. Prohibitions: BETH5203 Assessment: 2 x Online Quiz (40%); 1 x 1500 word essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Block mode, Online
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: Students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma or Master of Public Health may choose to take BETH5203 (6cp) instead of BETH5206 (2cp). This unit is available to Master of Public Health (MPH) students only. If an insufficient number of students opt to attend normal evening sessions on campus, the co-ordinator may choose to teach this Unit of Study in online mode only. Students will be contacted if this occurs.
BETH5206 Ethics and Public Health introduces you to a range of ethical issues that arise within the practice of public health. It begins with an orientation to the field: we will discuss conceptualisations of public health, what ethics is, and how ethics relates to evidence. We will talk about the origins and development of public health ethics as a (relatively new) field, and how it is distinguished from other areas of ethics. Your learning will then be structured around three sets of important concepts. The first are concepts central to utilitarian reasoning: benefit, harm and cost. The second cluster of concepts relates to the proper relationship between the citizen and the state (including public health as an institution): they are freedom, liberty and paternalism. The third cluster includes fairness, justice and equity, concepts that are often used rhetorically in public health, but not always carried through into practice. We will focus on two main case studies to apply what you learn. Throughout this unit you will be encouraged to ask questions, and to compare and debate competing answers to those questions. What is public health? What does it mean to say that something is harmful? To what extent should we each be free to engage in practices that harm our health? What is the proper role of the state in attempting to change the health of populations? What is equity and why does it matter (and if it matters, why aren't we doing more about it)? This is a Core Unit for Graduate Diploma and Master in Public Health students. Most learning occurs in the context of two teaching intensives, which are highly interactive and focus on the development and application of reasoning skills.
Textbooks
Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.
BETH5207 Creativity and Creative Arts in Health

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Claire Hooker Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 x 2 days 9am-5pm block mode intensive Assessment: 2 x 500 word or equivalent online task (25%), 1 x 1000 word written assignment or equivalent (25%), 1 x 2500 word written assignment or equivalent (50%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Creative practices are transforming health and healthcare. The arts and health sector is rapidly expanding globally, generating lasting impacts at the nexus between wellbeing, community, and individual physical health. Creative practices are shifting aging and residential care, mental health, and disability, from exclusion and stigmatisation, towards empowerment, agency, and connection. This unit gives students practical examples of how to incorporate the creative arts into public health and health care. You will be oriented to theories, justifications, and research evidence for varying uses of creative arts in health, and will be given access to a range of practical approaches, models and experiences. Areas covered include: the status and uses of art and music as therapy; narrative health; hospital art, design and architecture; creative practice in community health, and the role of art in public health, health research, and social marketing campaigns. Students will have unique access to guest lecturers who are world leaders in the fields of arts based research and knowledge translation; community transformation; art for social change; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health; and arts and ethics in health. This course will appeal to students of public health; health communication; health policy; literary, visual and performing arts; social work; psychology; and related disciplines, who want to understand more about the indivisibility of culture, community, country and health.
Textbooks
Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Supplementary readings and course materials, to which students are invited to contribute, can be accessed through the library or online.
BETH5208 Introduction to Human Research Ethics

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 2 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Professor Ainsley Newson Session: Semester 2 Classes: Block mode (1.5 days) or online Corequisites: GENC5020 Prohibitions: BETH5202 Assessment: 1x1500wd essay (80%); 1x 400wd task (10%); participation in class/online (10%) Mode of delivery: Online
Note: 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.
This unit of study introduces students to human research ethics in its wider context. It explores the ethical underpinnings of the research endeavour including the justifications for engaging in research and research integrity. The unit also briefly reviews the history of research and the impact of research abuse on human participants.
Textbooks
All readings are accessed online via elearning.
BETH5209 Medicines Policy, Economics and Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Associate Professor Wendy Lipworth, Dr Narcyz Ghinea Session: Semester 2 Classes: Fully online. Assumed knowledge: A degree in science, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, allied health, philosophy/ethics, sociology/anthropology, history, law, communications, public policy, business, economics, commerce, organisation studies, or other relevant field, or by special permission. Assessment: Online work (15%) 1 x minor essay (35%) 1 x major essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Online
Medicines save lives but they can be costly and can have serious adverse effects. Value-laden decisions are continuously being made at individual, institutional, national and international levels regarding the medicines we need, want and can afford. In this unit of study, we will explore and critique global and national policies and processes related to medicines, examining how research and development agendas are set; how medicines are assessed and evaluated; and how new technologies are translated into practice. We will also explore broader trends such as globalisation, commercialisation and changing consumer expectations. By the end of the course, students will understand the forces shaping the development, regulation, funding and uptake of medicines both nationally and internationally, and the political, ethical, legal and economic issues that are at stake. This course is designed to appeal to a wide range of students from ethics, law, public health, health care, policy, communications, economics, business, politics, administration, and biomedical science.
Textbooks
Readings will be provided
MMHU6902 Independent Study

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Claire Hooker: claire.hooker@sydney.edu.au Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 1hr/week supervision Prerequisites: You must have completed at least one other unit of study in a postgraduate coursework degree before seeking permission to enrol. Assessment: 1 x 5000-6000 word research essay Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: You must seek permission from the unit of study coordinator prior to enrolment.
This unit will provide an opportunity for approved candidates to pursue a self-directed project equivalent in size and scope to a 6cp unit of study, under supervision. Students will be expected to discuss and plan the project with their supervisor, then submit drafted material to an agreed timetable, and to discuss this drafted material with their supervisor before submitting a final essay. All assessments must be completed to pass this unit. Supervisor contact will be the equivalent of 1/2 hour per week for the semester.
PUBH5422 Health and Risk Communication

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Claire Hooker, Associate Professor Julie Leask, Professor Phyllis Butow Session: Semester 2 Classes: Block/intensive 2 blocks of 2 x 9-5 full days; please check with the coordinator for scheduling Assessment: Assignment 1: 1 x 2500 word (35%), Assignment 2: 1 x 2500 words or equivalent (35%), online activities (30%). Attendance at intensives is compulsory and 80% attendance is required to pass the unit of study. Mode of delivery: Block mode
In this unit, students learn how to communicate effectively with respect to health risks, both to individuals with health concerns, and with respect to risks to the public. The first half covers individual health risk communication in clinical settings, including: theories of health communication, patient centred care and shared decision making; evidence-based communication skills; research paradigms including interaction analysis; cross-cultural communication in health care; discussing prognosis; and informed consent. The second half explores risk communication for public health, including: how to effectively manage outbreak or other crisis situations; how to communicate about issues where the risk is low but ublic concern is high (such as with respect to the fluoridation of water); and how to best manage controversies. We teach theories of risk perception and communication with particular application to public health incident responses. We give practical guides to media messages, risk message framing, public engagement, traditional and social media, and the ethical aspects of public communication. The unit offers students the opportunity to learn from outstanding guest lecturers who work in these areas and interactive opportunities for students to try their skills in risk communication and decision making.
Textbooks
Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.

Part 3

BETH5301 Research Project A

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Regular consultation with supervisor Prerequisites: Credit average (or higher) in 24 credit points of BETH units of study. Corequisites: BETH5302 Assessment: Research treatise (15,000 words) Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit must be taken in conjunction with BETH5302 (Research Project B). Students must receive formal permission from the Program Director to enrol in BETH 5301 and BETH 5302. . The Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined) provides opportunity for research and in-depth learning in a bioethics topic of special interest or importance to the student. Successful completion of the project may also provide students with the research experience required for the pursuit of a higher degree. This unit involves independent research and regular meetings with a supervisor. In the process of completing the Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined), students will produce an original 15,000 word treatise. Choice of topic depends on the availability of an appropriate supervisor. It is recommended, but not required, that BETH5301 and BETH5302 are taken in consecutive separate semesters, rather than concurrently. A mark for both BETH5301 and BETH5302 combined is provided at the completion of BETH5302. It is possible to take these units in distance mode.
BETH5302 Research Project B

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Diego Silva Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Regular consultation with supervisor Prerequisites: Credit average (or higher) in 24 credit points of BETH units of study. Corequisites: BETH5301 Assessment: Research treatise (15,000 words) Mode of delivery: Supervision
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit must be taken in conjunction with BETH5301 (Research Project A). Students must receive formal permission from the Program Director to enrol in BETH 5301 and BETH 5302. The Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined) provides opportunity for research and in-depth learning in a bioethics topic of special interest or importance to the student. Successful completion of the project may also provide students with the research experience required for the pursuit of a higher degree. This unit involves independent research and regular meetings with a supervisor. In the process of completing the Research Project (i.e. parts A and B combined), students will produce an original 15,000 word treatise. Choice of topic depends on the availability of an appropriate supervisor. It is recommended, but not required, that BETH5301 and BETH5302 are taken in consecutive semesters, rather than concurrently. A mark for both BETH5301 and BETH5302 combined is provided at the completion of BETH5302. It is possible to take these units in distance mode.