The growth of scientific knowledge and technical ability in medicine, genetics and the biological sciences has led to a number of ethical problems which perplex all of us, but especially those in the health care field. Is genetic enhancement of humans ethically justified? Is it unethical to select embryos for implantation on the basis of sex? Should research designed to find 'gay genes' be conducted given that the results of such work might be used against homosexual people? Is human embryonic stem cell research justified by the prospect it offers of alleviating some of the most debilitating diseases? Should we proceed with research trying to clone people? Does the fact that we can prolong the life of a patient in a permanent vegetative state mean that we should do so?
The minor in Bioethics will assist students to develop ethical thinking so as to keep pace with advances in biomedical technology, anticipate future developments and assess what might be done if and when these anticipated developments become a reality.
Students will investigate issues around law and public policy responses to advances in medicine and biotechnology; whether killing is ever justified; and issues around the international commercialisation of the human body.
The completion of a Bioethics minor is especially valuable for students planning a career in life sciences, healthcare, or law and public policy. Students may also want to explore careers specifically involving bioethics, such as:
- clinical and research ethics at hospitals or other healthcare/research institutions
- roles with non-government organisations or advocacy groups
- science policy
- science/medicine journalism.
Bioethics is listed in A2000 Bachelor of Arts at Caulfield and Clayton as a minor.