Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2015 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2015 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts.

Course codeA6002
Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titleMBioethics
CRICOS code082652G
Total credit points required96
Standard duration of study (years)2 years FT, 4 years PT

Students have a maximum of six years to complete this course.

Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Off-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Tel: 1800 MONASH (1800 666 274) Web address:

Course coordinator

Dr Ryan Tonkens


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.


This course is particularly well suited for health care professionals and scientists who face complex ethical issues in their working lives. It is also valuable for those involved in the development of public policy and law, as well as for anyone who simply wishes to explore issues of public concern in greater depth. The course provides a structured program of units in ethical theory, applied ethics, healthcare ethics, research ethics, and related policy issues. It is designed in ways to suit students with little or no prior educational background in ethics or philosophy, but the course is also suitable for philosophy graduates with an interest in further study of bioethics. Teaching in the course is designed to improve students' analytical skills, encourage them to think critically about the ethical issues raised, and to develop independent and well-informed views about the ethical and philosophical questions addressed in the course.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 9, the Bologna Cycle 2 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 9, the Bologna Cycle 2 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  • articulate and apply knowledge of critical debates surrounding ethical issues in policy, governance and research at a global level
  • demonstrate a sound knowledge of best practice in applied ethics, healthcare ethics, research ethics, and related policy issues
  • apply a critical familiarity with many of the key texts and cultural products pertaining to the field of ethics
  • apply advanced analytical reading and communication skills, both written and verbal
  • demonstrate advanced analytical skills
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of research methodology and ethics, and an ability to undertake a small, independent research project.

Credit for prior studies

Students may be eligible for credit to a maximum of 50 per cent of the course requirements for previous graduate-level studies.

Credit or exemptions up to a maximum of 24 points is available for a bachelor degree level qualification in a related discipline, and a further 24 points is available for honours degree level qualification in a related discipline.

Therefore, students who have completed an:

  • undergraduate degree and a graduate certificate (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline* must complete 72 points as outlined in Structure 2 under 'Requirements'.
  • honours degree with a major in a relevant discipline* must complete 48 points as outlined in Structure 3 under 'Requirements'.

* Relevant disciplines include medicine, health sciences, life sciences, social sciences, law and humanities.

Maximum credit allowed

48 credit points


This course consists of core and elective units, including capstone units which allow the student to demonstrate their understanding of the course and the skills they have acquired.

Students complete one of the following structures as determined by any credit granted for prior studies:

  • Structure 1: 96 points over two years full-time, or part-time equivalent
  • Structure 2: 72 points over one and a half years full-time, or part-time equivalent
  • Structure 3: 48 points over one year full-time, or part-time equivalent.

Note: Students eligible for credit for prior studies may elect not to receive the credit and complete one of the higher credit-point options if they choose.

All students must complete a minimum of 48 credit points at level 5, and so should take care when choosing between units offered at level 4 and 5 (where this option is offered).

Units are 12 credit points unless otherwise stated.


Structure 1 - 96 credit points

Students must complete:

(a.) in their first year of study, two of the following 6-point preparatory units (12 points):

  • ATS2490 Advanced professional writing or ATS3743 Build your career: Planning and strategies for employability
  • ATS2637 The human body and the international marketplace
  • ATS2875 The moral psychology of evil
  • ATS3873 Philosophical issues in applied ethics

(b.) the following core unit (12 points):

(c.) one of the following capstone/research options (24 points):

(i.) a capstone unit chosen from the following:


  • 12 points of electives from the list below

(ii.) the following research unit/s:

  • APG5848 Research thesis (24 points) or APG5849 Research thesis A (12 points) and APG5850 Research thesis B (12 points)

(d.) Electives (48 points)


  • APG5394 Questions of life and death
  • APG5617 Human research ethics
  • APG5729 Clinical ethics
  • APG5730 Bioethics, public policy and the law
  • APG5732 Ethical issues in professional life
  • any capstone unit/s not completed at (c.) above

Structure 2 - 72 points

Students must complete from the requirements listed in structure 1 above:

  • units in (b.), (c.)(i.) or (ii.), and three elective units

Structure 3: 48 points

Students must complete from the requirements listed in structure 1 above:

  • units in (b.), (c.)(i.) or (ii.), and one elective unit


Master of Bioethics