Clinical Ethics (BETH5204)

Bioethics Short Courses at the Sydney School of Public Health are open for 2017 registrations. These courses are designed to address the growing interest in the life sciences and biomedical technologies as well as the need for ethics education among researchers and practitioners in health-related fields and disciplines. They provide an innovative, interdisciplinary approach and are an excellent way to add value to an ongoing career.

Students will receive a certificate of attendance but will not be eligible for university credit as the Professional Development course is not assessed.


This professional development course provides participants with an overview of the broader ethical issues that underlie the delivery of healthcare.

Participants will first explore the importance of ethics in clinical practice, issues relating to the role of the professions, and conceptual models for ethical reasoning in the clinical context. The program will also examine the foundations of clinical practice, including consent, competence, veracity, confidentiality, and decision-making as well as specific issues and populations within clinical practice, such as the care of vulnerable populations, children, and chronic illness.

Importantly, the program will also focus on theoretical and practical aspects of clinical ethics consultation. The program will also reflect on current debates in the Australian healthcare context, particularly issues associated with healthcare rationing.

A reading list will be provided to all participants, although due to copyright restrictions some readings may not be available to you. For further details email or call 02 9036 3065.

Questions covered

Questions covered include:

  • How important are ethical values and principles in 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 inform ethical decision-making in clinical practice?
  • How ought ethical conflict be managed?


This Course is taught in Semester 1. As it is tied to an assessable Unit of Study (BETH5204 Clinical Ethics), face to face teaching will only proceed if enough students enrol in this mode. Otherwise, the course proceeds online, supported by an eLearning Platform.

If the course is taught face to face, teaching is over 2 x 2 whole-day intensives, as follows:

Semester 1:

Friday 16 March 2018
Saturday 17 March 2018

Friday 12 May 2018
Saturday 13 May 2018

Dates may be subject to change, please check back on this page prior to Semester 1 of 2018 for any updates.

These intensives will be held at the University of Sydney’s Camperdown campus.

In addition to the intensives, the course also proceeds online with a different topic each week (mapped to the intensive lectures); from Mon 8 March 2018 to Friday 8 June 2018.

Application deadline

Friday 16 February 2018

(Late applications may be accepted)

Course Fee

$1,100 (including GST)

Discounts are available for groups of participants from the same institution or organisation, as follows:

  • 3 participants or more: 10% discount

Application Form

Applicants wanting to undertake the Clinical Ethics short course need to complete the online application. You will be able to enter payment details as part of this secure process.

If you would like to apply for a group, please complete the group application form and tax invoice (PDF) and email it to the Bioethics administration team at . This can also be faxed to the Office for Teaching and Learning (details right of screen).

If you are a University of Sydney staff member and would like to apply, please contact the Office for Teaching and Learning regarding a journal transfer after you have submitted your application form.

More information

Please contact