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Monash University

Graduate Certificate in International Research Bioethics

Course code: 3873 ~ Course abbreviation: GCIRB ~ Total credit points required: 24 ~ 2 semesters part-time ~ Managing faculty: Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Study mode and course location

On-campus (Alfred Hospital, Melbourne - P/T only)

Course description

This course is offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine. It aims to graduate people who are aware of, and have respect for, cultural diversity, who are innovative and flexible in the presence of constraints on research in the less developed country setting and who can facilitate participatory research programs that incorporate the special considerations required for research on vulnerable populations. The course also aims to prepare students to be able to work at an international level and be equipped with the skills necessary to work in participation with local populations to design and conduct research that addresses major health priorities of communities in less developed countries. The certificate articulates with Master of International Research Bioethics.

Course objectives

The overall objectives for the graduate certificate cover three main curricular themes: basic bioethics and the application of bioethical principles to research in both domestic and international collaborative contexts. On completion of the course students will: describe the origins and features of the various philosophies underlying the practice of bioethics in research; have developed an appreciation of the role of bioethics in regulating research on humans, special issues in international health research, and describe the constraints on research in the developing country setting; describe the special features of research involving human subjects where the investigators are from a different cultural or ethnic setting; describe the ways that research on vulnerable populations demands special protection for the subjects; develop appropriate attitudes of concern for the well-being of vulnerable subjects and communities; practical operation of research applications and approval processes, including ethics committees; describe the origins and composition of human research ethics committees; describe the roles and functions of the different members of such committees; and describe the international and domestic legal frameworks in which research ethics committee's function.

Course structure

Course requirements

The course is comprised of the following four core units:

  • EPM5021 Research with vulnerable populations
  • EPM5023 International research bioethics
  • EPM5024 Research, bioethics and the law
  • EPM5025 Research ethics practicum


Assessment includes written assignments, practical exercises, oral presentations, class participation and examinations.

Contact details

Postgraduate office: telephone +61 3 9903 0563; email or visit

Course coordinator

Associate Professor Bebe Loff