Skip to main content


BMS3022 : Bioethics

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Jan Deckers
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Howard, Dr Thomas Chadwick
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The Bioethics module aims to introduce and discuss a wide range of ethical dilemmas related to biomedical science, including issues raised by consent, confidentiality, genetics, the use of animals in research, stem cell and human embryo research, and the pharmaceutical industry. It aims to prepare students in the Biomedical Sciences for effective and efficient decision-making when they are confronted with thorny issues in their professional lives by developing their skills in ethical reasoning and critical appraisal.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following topics and themes will be covered:

• Advanced methods of ethical reasoning
• Informed consent, confidentiality, disclosure of information, and the use of human tissues and organs in biomedical science
• Ethical issues related to human embryo research
• Ethics and human genetics
• Biomedical science and the creation and use of genetically modified nonhuman organisms
• The nature and functions of research ethics committees
• Resolving personal biomedical dilemmas
• The purpose of biomedical science in a rapidly changing world

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00PIP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion861:0086:00Writing up lecture notes, revision & general reading. Includes 10 mins PIP for the presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00PIP Seminars
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be organised to expose the students to ethical theories, as well as professional and legal guidance.

Four small group teaching sessions will be organised to promote the discussion of ideas, to allow students to present ideas in class, and to evaluate the module. Each group is limited to maximum of 20 students to ensure there is sufficient time for all students to present and the group still large enough to stimulate debate.

Public health contingency:
All lectures and seminars can/will move to online either as synchronous or non-synchronous delivery.
Oral presentations can/will move to online as synchronous delivery.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M70Maximum 1500 words
Case study1M3010 minute presentation - PIP
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay aims to assess the students’ skills to identify, analyse, and resolve ethical dilemmas, particularly by assessing their ability to support ideas with arguments found in the relevant literature.

The case studies aim to assess students’ abilities to present their ethical dilemmas and to present their solutions to the ethical dilemmas presented by others.

Public health contingency:
Oral presentations can/will move to online as synchronous delivery.

Reading Lists