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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5377M Current Developments in Health Care Ethics (Online)

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Sarah Carter-Walshaw

Taught: 1 Oct to 31 Jan View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective


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
On-line Learning122.0024.00
Group Project42.008.00
Independent online learning hours68.00
Private study hours200.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

On-Line Learning = online tutor-led discussion.
Independent Online Learning = working through exercises online.
Private Study Time = students be assigned set readings, and will be given teaching materials to work through at their own pace. These materials will set the readings in context, at certain points provide prompts for carefully structured online discussions, which will be supported by tutors.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay Plan (400 words); practice presentation sessions with tutor feedback.
Contribution to online discussions will be assessed (on participation rather than content) to encourage regular, active participation.
There will also be an online personal tutoring system to review progress on completed modules and identify any areas where further support is needed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group DiscussionCourse participation in online discussions10.00
PresentationGroup online presentation35.00
Essay3000 words55.00
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: 18/06/2024


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