APG5732 - Ethical issues in professional life - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Monash Bioethics Centre


Assoc Prof Justin Oakley

Not offered in 2017


This unit examines some fundamental ethical issues in professional life, and the moral foundations of professional obligations. The unit begins by introducing the three main ethical theories - Kantianism, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics - and explains how each theory characteristically approaches issues in professional ethics. It moves on to examine euthanasia and the medical and nursing professions; zealous advocacy and the legal profession; and social justice and business professionals. It also deals with whistle-blowing and some issues in the moral psychology of professional roles.


Students will acquire the skills to:

  • understand how each of the three major ethical theories characteristically approaches issues which commonly arise in professional life
  • understand some important distinguishing features of professionals, and the ethical obligations involved in being a professional
  • reflect upon and critically examine the goal(s) of their chosen profession
  • analyse and evaluate certain ethical issues which arise in their own profession by taking a broader perspective, and seeing how that perspective arises out of parallel issues in other professions


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study