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Course descriptions

Bioethics core courses (compulsory)

BIOE 680 Bioethical Theory 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

This is a seminar course designed to introduce the student to contemporary methods and theories in bioethics. The focus is on various styles or modes of moral reasoning such as the principlist approach, casuistry, feminist bioethics, pragmatist bioethics, narrative ethics and virtue ethics. The relations between bioethics and political philosophy will be considered through an exploration of bioethics within liberal societies, communitarian approaches to bioethics, and models of "democratic deliberation". How the different approaches are used to address such topics as end-of-life care, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources and stem cell research will be considered.

BIOE 681 Bioethics Practicum 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

The goal of this course is to provide an exposure to some of the daily realities of clinical and research ethics. It is intended as a practical counterpart to the knowledge base in medicine, law, religious studies, and philosophy acquired in the theory courses. Students will be expected to integrate their theoretical knowledge with requisite attitudes and skills, in order to be able to apply these in a predominantly clinical context.

There are three basic requirements for this course. The first, and most fundamental one, is participation as an "active observer" in clinical settings under the direct supervision of a clinical ethicist or other appropriate health care professional. This will include weekly attendance in a variety of health care settings (e.g., community and family practice centre, adult and neonatal intensive care units, emergency room, chronic care facility, psychiatric unit, clinical ethics committee, and research ethics committee), as well as a month-long assignment in a single setting during the last part of the term.

Secondly, students will be expected to integrate this clinical experience with their theoretical knowledge in the preparation of weekly seminars, where the emphasis will be on case analysis as well as the role and importance of inter-personal communication skills.

Finally, students will be expected to write a term paper in which they will be required to explore one aspect of their practicum experience in greater detail, integrating the lessons learned from theoretical, clinical and personal experience.

Bioethics elective courses

CMPL 642 Law and Health Care 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

This seminar covers: the philosophical and ethical foundations of law applied in medicine (e.g., fault, systemic forms of liability, patient rights, informed consent); legal structures and their impact on health care (e.g., adversarial procedure, contingent fees, juries, damage awards, the role of experts); law and ethics of the health care professions; administrative and legal control of health care systems; and other selected legal-ethical issues.

RELG 571 Ethics, Medicine and Religion 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

This seminar involves a study of how the religious beliefs and practices of religious traditions (including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism), affect the approaches taken in the context of selected bioethical issues.

PHIL 543 Course not available

This is an advanced seminar in biomedical ethics. Topics discussed include the nature of health and of disease and the relationship of patients to medical practitioners (including matters of confidentiality, truth-telling, and competency). In dealing with these and other issues an effort is made to speak to the question of cultural, social, political and legal relativity of judgements in biomedical ethics.

EPIB 624 Public Health Ethics & Policy 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 In this graduate-level course, students critically assess ethical dilemmas and policy considerations raised by the theory and practice of public health. Specific topics include: measuring and defining health; surveillance and privacy; preparedness, quarantine, and distribution of resources during a health emergency; health inequalities; and genetics and racial categorization in public health.

Course materials draw on a wide range of disciplines, including epidemiology, medicine, history, sociology, and anthropology. Students from any disciplinary background are welcome; there are no prerequisites. Undergraduates are welcome to take the course with the permission of the instructor. Coursework includes reviewing scholarly literature, formal presentation and debate, and written work.

 

General elective courses 

HGEN 660 Genetics and Bioethics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 Course outline:    http://publications.mcgill.ca/humangenetics/files/2012/07/HGENO-660B-2012-.pdf

Students wishing to obtain a registration permit should email Cindy Tao grad [dot] hq [at] mcgill [dot] ca or dept [dot] humangenetics [at] mcgill [dot] ca  with a copy to Professor Joly.