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Unit information: Introduction to Bioethics in 2015/16

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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. Huxtable
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 theories of bioethics and to contemporary debates in moral philosophy. The theoretical 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 the key themes in bioethics theory. Students will develop their 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;
  • Be able to critique the bioethical concepts and principles studied.

Teaching Information

Students receive 12 x 2-hour seminars led by staff members.

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.

Reading and References

  • Dickenson, D., Huxtable, R. and Parker, M. (2010) The Cambridge Medical Ethics Workbook (2nd edition), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  • Campbell, A, Gillet, G, and Jones, G. (2005) Medical Ethics (4th Edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford
  • Beauchamp, T., Childress, J. (2012) Principles of Biomedical Ethics (7th Edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford