Skip to main content

Unit information: Introduction to Bioethics in 2021/22

Unit name Introduction to Bioethics
Unit code SSCM30001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Ives
Open unit status Not open

None, other than those pre-requisites for undertaking study on the programme.



School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide an introduction to the field of bioethics. The unit will introduce students to the main ethical theories in bioethics, linked to some contemporary debates in moral philosophy. Theoretical bioethical analysis will be illustrated by reference to selected ethical issues in medicine and science. Aims: By the end of the unit students will have a basic understanding of key themes in bioethics theory, and have developed skills in philosophical analysis, construction of arguments and debating. The course will serve to integrate the students’ studies in moral philosophy, law and bioethics and will help them to prepare a topic for the dissertation unit.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a student should:

  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the bioethical themes and issues studied;
  • Be able to undertake bioethical research and thereby locate bioethical sources;
  • Be able to state the bioethical concepts and principles studied accurately;
  • Be able to apply the bioethical concepts and principles studied to contemporary issues;
  • Be able to critique the bioethical concepts and principles studied.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be through a mixture of in-person tutorials and seminars, and asynchronous online delivery. Synchronous online delivery will also be available where appropriate.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment comprises an essay of 4000 words. Formative assessment comprises: preparation of seminar exercises; participation in seminar activities, including group-work and oral presentations; a written assignment of 2000 words.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SSCM30001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.