Master of Bioethics - 2018

Postgraduate - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2018 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Arts.

Other commencement years for this course: 2017, 2016 and 2015

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

Course code


Credit points


Abbreviated title




Managing faculty



Associate Professor Justin Oakley

Contact details

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

Admission and fees


Course progression map

A6002 (pdf)

Course type

Master by coursework

Standard duration

2 years FT, 4 years PT

This course normally takes 2 years full-time to complete but if you have relevant entry qualifications you may receive credit and be able to complete the course in 1.5 years or 1 year full-time, or part-time equivalent.

Students have a maximum of 6 years to complete this course including any periods of intermission and suspension, and must be continuously enrolled throughout.

Mode and location

On-campus (Clayton)

Off-campus (Clayton)


Master of Bioethics

Alternative exits

Graduate Certificate in Bioethics

Graduate Certificate in Research Ethics

Graduate Diploma in Bioethics

Refer to 'Alternative exits' entry below for further requirements and details.


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. 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 your analytical skills, encourage you 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 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

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

  1. critique debates surrounding ethical issues in policy, governance and research at a global level
  2. exercise contemporary best practice in applied ethics, healthcare ethics, research ethics, and related policy issues
  3. critically appraise and formulate independent views about complex ethical issues
  4. analyse and critically evaluate the key texts and cultural products pertaining to the field of ethics
  5. communicate complex ethical issues to diverse audiences
  6. apply research methodology to explore and explain complex ethical issues.


The course is structured in three parts: Part A. Foundations for advanced bioethics, Part B. Core master's study and Part C. Advanced expertise. All students complete Part B. Depending upon your prior qualifications, you may receive credit for Part A or Part C or a combination of the two.

Note that if you are eligible for credit for prior studies you may elect not to receive the credit.

Part A. Foundations for advanced bioethics (24 points)

These studies will provide an orientation to the field of bioethics at advanced undergraduate or graduate level. They are intended for students whose previous qualification is not in a cognate field.

Part B. Core master's study (48 points)

These studies draw on best practices within the broad realm of bioethics practice and research. They provide a structured program of units in ethical theory, applied ethics, healthcare ethics, research ethics, and related policy issues.

Part C. Advanced expertise (24 points)

The focus of these studies is professional or scholarly work that can contribute to a portfolio of professional development. You have two options:

  • a program of coursework study where you select the units to suit your own interests
  • a 24 point research thesis. Students wishing to use this master's course as a pathway to a higher degree by research should take this second option.

Students admitted to the course, who have a recognised honours degree in a discipline cognate to bioethics, will receive credit for Part C, however, should they wish to complete a 24 point research project as part of the course they should consult with the course coordinator.


The course comprises 96 points structured into three parts: Part A. Foundations for advanced bioethics (24 points), Part B. Core master's study (48 points) and Part C. Advanced expertise (24 points).

Depending on prior qualifications you may receive entry level credit (a form of block credit) which determines your point of entry to the course:

  • Students admitted at entry level 1 complete 96 points, comprising Part A, Part B and Part C.
  • Students admitted at entry level 2 complete 72 points, comprising Part B and Part C Option 1 (Research pathway) or Option 2 (Discipline electives)
  • Students admitted at entry level 3 complete 48 points, comprising Part B.

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

All students must complete a minimum of 48 credit points at level 5 and a maximum of 24 points at level 2 or 3 for entry point 1.

Unless otherwise stated, units with codes beginning with 2 or 3 are 6 points, and units with codes beginning with 5 are 12 points.

Students undertaking this course online should contact the course coordinator for enrolment advice.

The course progression mapcourse progression map ( will assist you to plan to meet the course requirements, and guidance on unit enrolment for each semester of study.

Part A. Foundations for advanced bioethics (24 points)

Students complete:

a. Two 6 point units (12 points) from the following, taken during the first full time equivalent year of study:

  • APG5060 Advanced academic skills
  • ATS2490 Advanced professional writing
  • ATS2637 Global bioethics
  • ATS2875 The moral psychology of evil
  • ATS3873 Philosophical issues in applied ethics
  • MGF5991 Professional development - Career dynamics

b. One discipline elective unit (12 points) from Part C (Option 2).

Part B. Core master's study (48 points)

Students complete:

a. The following unit (12 points):

b. Two discipline elective units (24 points) from Part C (Option 2)

c. One capstone unit (12 points) from the following list:

  • APG5044 Professional internship
  • APG5051Not offered in 2018 Special topics in bioethics*
  • APG5856 Research project*

Part C. Advanced expertise (24 points)

Students admitted at Entry Level 1 complete Option 1, 2 or 3 below

Students admitted at Entry Level 2 complete either Option 1 or 2 below.

Option 1

Research Option

The following unit/s:

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

** Students admitted to the course at entry level 3 who wish to complete this 24 point research thesis should consult with the course coordinator.

Option 2

Discipline Electives

Two units (24 points) from the following:

  • APG5080Not offered in 2018 Bioethics and the body
  • APG5081 Public health ethics
  • APG5394Not offered in 2018 Questions of life and death
  • APG5617 Human research ethics
  • APG5729Not offered in 2018 Clinical ethics*
  • APG5730 Bioethics, public policy, and the law
  • APG5732Not offered in 2018 Ethical issues in professional life
  • any capstone unit not completed in Part B

Option 3

Complementary Electives

Up to 24 points of approved units from the following Arts Graduate coursework programs. All units are available unless marked with an asterisk (*)

These units must be selected from Part B: Core Master's study and/or Part C: Advanced expertise

  • A6001 Master of Applied Linguistics
  • A6003 Master of Communications and Media Studies
  • A6004 Master of Cultural and Creative Industries
  • A6006 Master of International Development Practice
  • A6008 Master of Journalism
  • A6009 Master of Tourism
  • A6010 Master of International Relations
  • A6012 Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management

Alternative exits

Students may exit this course early and apply to graduate with one of the following awards, provided they have satisfied the requirements indicated for that award during their enrolment in this master's course:

  • Graduate Certificate of Bioethics after successful completion of APG5393 plus one additional 12-point level 5 unit in bioethics
  • Graduate Diploma of Bioethics after successful completion of APG5393 plus three additional 12-point level 5 units in bioethics.

Progression to further studies

Students entering at entry levels 1 and 2 can choose to complete a research thesis (24 points) that will provide a pathway to a higher degree by research. Students entering at entry level 3 will normally already have an honours degree, however, students in this group who wish to complete a research thesis in bioethics should discuss the options with the course coordinator.