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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA3307 Current Developments in Health Care Ethics

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Luke Brunning

Taught: 1 Oct to 28 Feb View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module


Modern medicine, and allied to advances in biotechnologies, is often presented as on the threshold of spectacular discoveries. These discoveries appear to open up a range of new possibilities. Some seem wholly welcome, such as cures for cancers, Parkinson's disease and other serious conditions. Others are more controversial. These include the cloning of humans and other forms of novel reproduction, and enhancement interventions to improve on human nature.

This module will include study of some of the underlying ethical issues that these new advances create. The module will also explore current and emerging debates in bioethics literature, such as animal testing, bias in medicine & medical research, trans health care, and disability ethics.

We will explore these current debates around medicine and emerging biotechnologies, including exploring the grey area between medicine and medicine-adjacent interventions such as bioenhancement. Could there be a moral obligation for underrepresented groups to participate in research? Is the use of cloning for reproduction ethically justifiable? Can we justify the use of animals in medical testing for human benefit? How should we understand disability – and how does that change the way we approach health care and policy?

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- Critically evaluate ethical concerns relating to innovative/pioneering treatments;
- Identify and evaluate ethical concerns relating to the practices involved in medical research;
- Display understanding of the ethical issues raised by future possibilities.


Topics such as: Ethics of Disability, Bias in Medicine, Use of Animals as Research Subjects, Trans Health Care, Novel Reproduction, Human Enhancement.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group Project72.0014.00
Private study hours272.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Detailed study of required readings plus advance preparation of discussion questions for seminars. Independent reading and research for the preparation of assessed essay(s). Reading and independent group work for the preparation of group presentation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay Plan (400 words); practice presentation sessions with tutor feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 word essay60.00
Oral PresentationGroup presentation40.00
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: 07/02/2024 11:40:27


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