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BITC404 Ethics and Health Care

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The ethical dimensions of major areas of contention and themes in health care and its provision such as beginning and end of life issues, resource allocation, animals and ethics, mental illness and ethics, new and emerging technologies, genetics and ethics.

BITC 404 Ethics and Health Care follows on from BITC 401 and goes into more detail regarding some of the main historical, contemporary and emerging issues of bioethics. A long, self-chosen essay topic allows students to explore an issue of interest in some depth.

Paper title Ethics and Health Care
Paper code BITC404
Subject Bioethics
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,069.75
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $8,949.50

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BITC 401 or BITX 401
BITX 404
Limited to
DipGrad, GDipBHL, MBHL, MHealSc, PGDipHealSc
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Director of the Bioethics Centre.

Teaching staff

Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Fenton
Module Teachers: Dr Simon Walker, Professor John McMillan, Dr Taryn Knox, Associate Professor Neil Pickering and Dr Elizabeth Fenton

Paper Structure

The paper has four modules (each lasting three weeks) covering topics such as:

  • Ethical issues at the beginning of life, suffering
  • Identity and end of life care
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Global Health Ethics
  • Psychiatry, mental illness and Ethics
Teaching Arrangements
Thirteen 2-hour audiovisual seminars from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm on Tuesdays in the second semester
Textbooks are not required for this paper - readings will be provided via eReserve.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Understand the application of a range of ethical concepts to issues in health care
  • Reflect critically upon those ethical concepts and arguments they are deployed to advance
  • Critically analyse a range of bioethical concerns in health care
  • Show knowledge of developing research in selected areas of health care ethics
  • Identify and explore integrating themes emerging in these areas
  • Develop a question and research, analyse, synthesise and present a reasoned set of arguments related to that question

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 12:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41