Bioethics is the study of the ethical issues raised by advances in the biological and medical sciences. It addresses moral issues in topics such as: life and death decision-making in the context of healthcare, health related social policies and laws, the role of technology in promoting collective and individual wellbeing. Bioethicists ask and answer questions like:
- Do foetuses have a right to life?
- Is it morally permissible for a doctor to help someone die?
- What are the social and political implications of the new genetic technologies?
- Do societies and governments have an obligation to provide universal healthcare?
- What social interventions are justified in preventing and combatting infectious diseases?
It is a fact of modern life that most people will, at some stage of their lives, face decisions that involve fundamental questions studied in bioethics. Bioethics is a fascinating, challenging, enjoyable, and intensely relevant field of study, which draws on philosophy, science, sociology, and other disciplines. It is an area of study with clear practical applications and where developments in science, medicine and technology continually pose new problems and open up new areas of research.
The study of bioethics develops skills in critical reasoning, argument, comprehension, communication, research, and logical analysis. These are the skills that employers look for in today’s world, where flexibility, creativity and the ability to adapt to rapid change are essential for a successful career. Graduates with a knowledge of bioethics may be especially attractive to employers in the areas of genetics, health science, medical and allied health practice, as well as research, government, law, and social policy.
The Monash Bioethics Centre offers a Minor in Bioethics as part of the Bachelor of Arts degree. Units may also be taken as electives in other degree programs across the University. Our teaching approach creates pathways for students to progress from an undergraduate interest in Bioethics, to pursuing the discipline through Honours, and then graduate coursework study or research.
The Monash Bioethics Centre offers both coursework and research-based opportunities to further your study in Bioethics.
The Masters of Bioethics and the Graduate Certificate of Bioethics allows for advanced study in bioethics to enhance your career and follow your interests in this area. The programs are taught by international leaders in the field and provide opportunities to develop skills in ethical analysis, as well as research, writing and other professional capabilities. They are particularly well suited to healthcare professionals and scientists who face complex ethical issues in their working lives, as well as recent graduates seeking to further their knowledge and gain credentials in the area of Bioethics.
Research degrees in Bioethics allow you to develop a high degree of expertise in an area of particular interest to you. They entail extensive scholarly research, developing significant expertise and skills in critical reasoning, argument, comprehension, communication, research, and logical analysis, at the highest level.
Bioethics degrees by research are part of the Philosophy Graduate Research program.
The Monash Bioethics Centre offers an annual Fellowship, to support one Monash Master of Bioethics student to undertake an internship with the Global Health Ethics Unit at World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Fellowship provides up to AU$6,000 reimbursement for travel, accommodation, and food expenses.
As bioethics interns at WHO, Fellows assist with projects of the Global Health Ethics Unit. The aim is for Fellows to have a semi-professional experience learning about the substantive work of the Unit, as well as international organisations more generally. Fellows who have not already fully completed their Master of Bioethics coursework may wish (but are not required) to complete APG5044 (Professional internship) as a capstone unit toward their Master of Bioethics degree. Applicants for the Fellowship must already have been selected to the WHO internship program.
For further general information about the WHO internship program, go to who.int/careers/internships/en/
The Fellowship is not currently offered, because of restrictions on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lee-anne Pascoe – awarded the Monash-WHO Fellowship in 2018, and will be serving as an intern with the Global Health Ethics unit in 2019
- Elly Ganakas – awarded the Monash-WHO Fellowship in 2017, and served as an intern with the Global Health Ethics unit in 2018
- Two Fellowships were offered/awarded in 2016, enabling Helene Jacmon and Nicholas Aagaard to serve as interns with the Global Health Ethics Unit in 2016 and 2017
- Pat McConville – with the Global Health Ethics Unit; Department of Knowledge, Ethics and Research, 2016
- Thomas Burns – with the Global Health Ethics Unit; Department of Knowledge, Ethics and Research, 2015
- Dr Euzebiusz (“Zeb”) Jamrozik – with the Global Health Ethics Unit; Department of Knowledge, Ethics and Research, 2014
- Evie Kendall – with the Global Health Ethics Unit; Department of Knowledge, Ethics and Research, 2013
- Dr Lynn Woodward – with the Ethics and Health team, in the Department of Ethics and Social Determinants, 2012
- Rhys Price-Robertson – with the Ethics and Health Unit, a branch of the Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights (ETH), 2010/11
- Esther Davis – with the Ethics and Health Unit, a branch of the Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights (ETH), 2010
- Jennifer Brown – with the Department of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law, 2008
- Danny Edwards – with the Department of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law, 2007 – see also this brief video of Danny speaking about his studies with the Centre including his time in Geneva [Video 4.04 mins.]
- Adam Henschke – with the Human Genetics Programme, 2006
- Imogen Goold – with the Human Genetics Programme, 2005
- Angela Ballantyne – with the Human Genetics Programme, 2003
- Shawneequa Callier – with the Ethics, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genomics Program, 2002
The Monash-WHO Fellowship is not currently offered, because of restrictions on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will re-open once international travel is permitted by Monash University and the Australian Government. At that time, application information will be available here.