Unit for Bioethics

MPhil in Applied Ethics (Bioethics)


The MPhil in Applied Ethics (Specialisation: Bioethics) is a one year programme which consists of biannual contact sessions, coursework, and an independent research component. This programme offers tuition and training in Bioethics, focusing on ethical issues arising in the practice of the medical professions and medical research involving human subjects. Selection of material covered in contact sessions is adapted in accordance with current trends and areas of focus in bioethics. Students’ interests are also taken into account as far as possible and feasible. Examples of some of the areas that have been covered in previous contact sessions include:

    • The Principlist approach in Bioethics
    • Bioethics and Law
    • Public Health Ethics
    • Bioethics in SA
    • Professional/patient relationships
    • Beginning and end of life decisions (abortion and euthanasia)
    • The ethics pertaining to the treatment of infectious diseases (eg Ebola virus)
    • The ethics pertaining to new genetic technologies (stem cell research and cloning)
    • The ethics of biosafety and biotechnology
    • HIV/Aids in SA
    • Ethical issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation
    • Human Enhancement
    • Global bioethics
    • Research ethics
    • Disability ethics
    • Neuroethics
    • The ownership of biological samples and ethical issues pertaining to biobanking

The degree requirements include: attending two week-long contact sessions held in Stellenbosch (one at the beginning of the year and one in the middle of the year); two assignments due in the first semester and a choice between either a two hour midyear exam or a third assignment – all of which, together, comprise 50% of the final mark. A thesis based upon independent research in consultation with an appointed supervisor will comprise the remaining 50% of the final mark.

For general information, see the MPhil in Applied Ethics section.

Please direct inquiries about the Bioethics specialisation to Dr Susan Hall at shall@sun.ac.za.

Unit for Bioethics