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Master of Bioethics

Discover bioethics at the University of Sydney

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Overview

Bioethics is concerned with ethical questions that arise in the contexts of biological and health sciences. Social concern about such issues has grown with the advancement of biomedical and reproductive health technologies, genetic engineering, cloning and stem cell research.

The study of bioethics has traditionally addressed issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the relationships between health care providers and patients, research involving humans and animals and justice in the distribution of health resources. Emerging ethical issues are related to risk and health, nanotechnology and global public health.

Questions you will address can include: Who should own bodily material, such as sperm and eggs, or embryos? When are invasive treatments to sustain life required or unjustifiable? Can we ever lie to patients? Should we tell the obese to lose weight, even when we know they feel stigmatised? Should doctors and health policy makers feel morally obligated to become advocates for social justice?

Why study bioethics at the University of Sydney?

  • Add value to your existing career - studying bioethics allows you to broaden your knowledge in your chosen health or research area and add value to an existing career. The study of bioethics is suitable for people from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as philosophy, arts, humanities, social science, law, science, medicine, nursing, allied health professions, psychology and health management.
  • Learn from experts in bioethics at Australia’s number 1 Sydney School of Public Health - the Bioethics program is part of the Sydney School of Public Health, Australia’s leading school in public health ranked number 1 in Asia-Pacific and 18 in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities. The course is designed and taught by experts in the field who have national and international experience, including Associate Professor Ainsley Newson, Professor Angus Dawson, and Professor Ian Kerridge.
  • Gain professional recognition/accreditation - our study courses are designed to meet the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) continuing professional development standards, contributing 50 credits per semester under "Category 4: structured learning projects."
  • Tailor your work-load balance with flexible study options - our bioethics program is the only one in Australia offered completely online, allowing you to tailor your study load to suit your professional and personal life. You may choose to study part or full-time, with the flexibility to choose your course load and change your enrolment mode each semester.
  • Improve your non-technical skills - our course involves many different disciplines and perspectives with a focus on critically engaging with issues and methods. As well as enhancing your understanding in bioethics, you will also improve your problem solving and critical thinking abilities, skills that are valuable in professional and academic careers. 
  • Study unique content - we offer topics of study not offered anywhere else in Australia, for example the ethics of mental health. Our multidisciplinary courses of study are diverse and cover a range of topic areas, enabling you to confront bioethical issues in new and challenging ways.  

Who should study this course?

You don’t have to come from a medical or health background to study bioethics at the University of Sydney. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as philosophy, humanities, social science, law, science, medicine, nursing, allied health professions, psychology and health management. The structure of the program will train and equip you with new skills in bioethics and prepare you for a highly rewarding new career in or related to health. 

Subject areas

There are no specialisations for this course.

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your fee

Scholarships

How to apply

What you'll study

The Master of Bioethics, coursework pathway, requires the successful completion of 48 credit points of units of study including:

  • 6 credit points from core units of study; and
  • 24 credit points from Part 1 of the Table of units of study; and
  • 18 credit points from Part 1 or Part 2 of the Table of units of study.

Master of Bioethics candidates with a credit average in 24 credit points of study may request to be admitted to the research pathway. The research pathway requires the successful completion of 48 credit points of units of study including:

  • 6 credit points from core units of study; and
  • 24 credit points from Part 1 of the Table of units of study; and
  • 6 credit point from Part 2 of the Table of unit of study; and
  • 12 credit points from Part 3 of the Table of units of Study.

The course can be undertaken over one year full-time, or two years part-time. If studying full-time, you will normally take four units of study in your first semester and another four in your second semester.

Your individual study plan will of course depend on the availability of core, part 1, 2 and 3 units of study in a given semester.
 

Units of Study

Admission criteria

Admission to the Master of Bioethics requires

  • a bachelor's degree with a credit average from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification in the field of science, medicine, nursing, allied health sciences, philosophy/ethics, sociology, anthropology, history, law or other relevant field; or
  • completion of the requirements of an embedded graduate diploma or equivalent qualification.

Professional accreditation

The study courses are also designed to meet the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) continuing professional development standards, contributing 50 credits per semester under “Category 4: structured learning projects”.

Graduate opportunities

The Master of Bioethics responds to the widely recognised need for ethics education for scientists, researchers and professionals working in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy, dentistry, public health, health law, health and public policy, science communication and related fields.

 

 

 




Dr Julia Jones MBBS (Hons) FRACP
Master of Bioethics, 2017

“The Master of Bioethics has taught me about different approaches to tackling ethical issues in my work. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about and then discussing difficult ethical concerns with my fellow students. It has been valuable hearing different perspectives from people with diverse professional backgrounds helping me to form balanced views on difficult problems. Studying a Masters in Bioethics will help me to be the kind of kidney specialist that I aspire to be.”

 

 

 

Anne Marguerite Doone Preisz
Master of Bioethics, 2017

“As a musculoskeletal senior specialist working in acute and emergency settings, it can be challenging to advocate for patients with complex needs as well as balance resource allocation. 

With a special interest in back pain and neonates, I started the Master of Bioethics to keep up with the rapid change and ongoing demands of working in public health. As a science based student, I had done little sociology studies and so the degree has taught me many new and transferrable skills. 

It has given me a philosophical language and helped me in real world cases, especially with ethical dilemmas, a reality clinicians face daily. I have also developed my skills in writing papers, arguing logically, and succinctly discussing and collating multiple views.”

Meet your teachers

  • Associate Professor Ainsley Newson works at the forefront of ethics and emerging technologies. She is interested in the ethical application of methods such as DNA sequencing to benefit both individual and population health.
  • Professor Angus Dawson seeks to transform bioethics by exploring issues in public and global health. He is increasingly focused on working with bodies such as the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières to implement ethics into the real world.
  • Professor Ian Kerridge is an internationally recognised scholar in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine. His research focuses on the philosophical, moral and socio-cultural concepts, frameworks and issues that underpin health, health policy and biomedicine in public health, research and clinical care.

Need help/careers advice?

For general enquiries email our program administrator

Domestic students

Indicative Postgraduate Student Contribution Amount


The student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the amount payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Tuition Fees website.

Annual review and fee increases


Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Indicative Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee


The tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student is an indication only of the fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increase


Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental costs


For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, course-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from https://sydney.edu.au/students/materials-and-equipment.html.

Visa/MasterCard surcharge


Please note that a surcharge of 1.53% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy


Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

International students

Indicative International Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students


The tuition fee for international postgraduate students is an indication only of the fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increases


Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental costs and health insurance


For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the tuition fees. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, course-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from https://sydney.edu.au/students/materials-and-equipment.html. In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Visa/MasterCard surcharge


Please note that a surcharge of 1.53% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy


Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.