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BITC401 Theories of Biomedical Ethics

Key concepts in ethics such as autonomy, dignity, justice, and duty. To elucidate the character of moral debate with respect to the health and well-being of people.

This paper explores the key values, theories and methods in Bioethics. They include virtue-ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, feminism, autonomy, justice, reflective equilibrium, empirical studies and transcultural bioethics. It will provide a firm foundation for conducting bioethical research and examining the practical moral challenges in health care, life sciences and biotechnologies.

Paper title Theories of Biomedical Ethics
Paper code BITC401
Subject Bioethics
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,162.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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BITX 401
Limited to
DipGrad, GDipBHL, MBHL, MHealSc, PGDipHealSc, PGCertHealSc
(i) Admission requires approval from the Director of the Bioethics Centre. (ii) There is one residential weekend held in Dunedin. (iii) Seminars and lectures for BITC401 are AV linked. However the residential weekend is not. There is an expectation that all students attend the residential weekend.
Suitable for postgraduates and professionals in health care, law and other fields.

Professor Jing-Bao Nie: or phone 03 471 6129

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Professor Jing-Bao Nie; and other academic staff members of the Bioethics Centre.

Paper Structure

The paper consists of three parts:

  • Key Concepts and Theories
  • Main Methods
  • New Approaches
Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

There is one residential weekend held in Dunedin. Students are strongly advised to attend the residential weekend in person, though students may contact the paper convenor for an exemption if they are unable to attend in person.

The seminars and lectures for BITC401 are AV-linked.


No textbook is required for this paper. All readings are available on Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the paper students will:

  • Have in-depth understanding of a range of key values, theories and methods in bioethics
  • Have further developed abilities and skills of critical thinking, identifying and analysing bioethical issues, conducting bioethical research, and articulating thoughts and reasoning with evidence and coherent arguments

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Semester 1

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


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 16:00-17:50 9-11, 13-14, 16, 18-19, 21


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 10:00-17:50 11
Saturday 09:00-17:50 11