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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM3621 Ethical Issues in Chemistry

10 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Nimesh Mistry

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

CHEM3610Chemistry: Making a Difference

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will enable students to understand and critically assess significant ethical challenges facing contemporary scientists.


- To explore an ethics topic in much greater depth than that offered in CHEM2200
- To extend knowledge and understanding of ethical issues in science
- To develop your own, reasoned position on an issue in the ethics of contemporary science
- To learn how ethics influences the everyday operation of science
- To develop an awareness of the views of others, including an impartial appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses
- To understand why some issues, values or guidelines are contentious

- To equip students for a professional future of self-directed learning
- To develop students’ essential transferable skills e.g. critical reading, communication, ability to develop and defend your own reasoned views
- To develop attitudes of self-motivation and self-evaluation
- To understand the importance of active learning

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module you will:
- Independently and in teams have researched and developed in depth an understanding of a key ethical issue facing contemporary scientists
- Be better equipped to appreciate important ethical issues arising in everyday scientific practice
- Have gained experience in self-directed learning, team working, information gathering, and presentation of a reasoned argument in writing and verbally.


- Introduction and Options for Research
- Teamworking and Fairness
- Research Methods in Ethics
- Team Research (guided by five one-hour tutorials providing guidance in specific readings and presentation skills)
- Presentations

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours8.00
Private study hours81.00
Total Contact hours11.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will be given a list of ethical issues from which to state their preference for one that will be the subject of their research over the course of the semester. Working in teams of approximately five, they will have five one-hour meetings with a supervisor who will be able to guide them on readings and areas of potential interest. As they represent a mix of Philosophy and Chemistry, the supervisors will be able to direct students to theoretical, contemporary and historical issues that will direct their study. At each tutorial a different student will be expected to present on a paper they have read for discussion with the group.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored through five one-hour tutorials to be held with each team (i.e. theme-related) at which a different student each week will present on a set reading. The remaining students will then be expected to discuss the paper in the tutorial with guidance from the tutor. Presentations will be given mid-way through the research period to ensure that students are on-track with their timing and to provide mutual encouragement and information as to each other's work. The tutorials will also be used to prepare students for and debrief after the presentations.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayPaper of 3,000 words on ethical issues to be submitted in Week 1170.00
PresentationGroup presentation lasting 15 minutes to be given in Week 820.00
Tutorial Performance4 x online quiz before seminar10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/07/2022 11:10:18


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