Ethics and Public Health (BETH5203)

Bioethics Short Courses at the Sydney School of Public Health are open for 2018 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 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.


After successfully completing BETH5203, you will be able to:

(1) Explain relevant concepts in public health ethics.
(2) Evaluate the ethical dimensions of the practice of public health from multiple perspectives.
(3) Constructively engage in the public discourse relating to public health.
(4) Do public health work (if you are so inclined) in a more ethically reflective way.

Instructional Format

The course includes five full day (9am -5pm) intensives. Students are expected to spend up to 4-6 hours per week on online learning activities. There is no prescribed textbook.


(All Fridays)
Intensive 1: 10 August 2018
Intensive 2: 24 August 2018
Intensive 3: 7 September 2018
Intensive 4: 21 September 2018
Intensive 5: 12 October 2018

Lectures will also be recorded and will be made available on the course’s eLearning website.


Intensives 1,2 : ABS Lecture Theatre 1110
Intensives 3, 4, 5: New Law School Annexe SR344
All University of Sydney, Camperdown.

Application Deadline

27 July 2018
(late applications may be accepted).

Course Fee

$1, 100 (including GST)

For a group of participants from the same institution or organization, the following discounts will apply:

  • 3 or more participants: 10% discount

Application Form

Applicants wanting to undertake the Ethics and Public Health 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