University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (LAWS11372)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course develops students' understanding of and engagement with applied bioethics.
- It builds on the skills developed in Fundamentals in Bioethics and applies the three pillars of rigorous bioethical analysis: concepts; theories; and argument.
- It will focus on the particular challenges raised by the development and application of biotechnologies, and their implications for society.
- It will demonstrate how ethical analysis can help us to think about the impacts of biotechnologies on social norms and social structures.
- It will equip students to recognise the challenges of, and design suitable responses to biotechnological innovation, as set against a context of plural values and perspectives in societies.
Course description 1. Biotechnologies and society
2. Assisted reproductive technologies
3. The human embryo
4. Neuroethics
5. Genomics
6. Changing identities
7. Biotechnologies and public heath
8. Virtual spaces and societies
9. Sustainable futures
10. Future societies and persons
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Fundamentals in Bioethics (LAWS11390)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x short written exercise (1000 words) (40%)
1 x essay (4000 words) (60%)

Requirements for all course assessments will be outlined to students within the individual courses at the start of each semester.

Feedback Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.

Details of the School's feedback policy will be available at the start of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the bioethical and social challenges raised by biotechnologies.
  2. Identify, conceptualise and analyse ethical problems and issues raised by the development and application of biotechnologies.
  3. Use the concepts, theories and methods of argumentation gained in Fundamentals in Bioethics to defend positions and advance recommendations in respect of biotechnological developments and applications.
  4. Undertake critical evaluations of the social impacts of diverse ethical responses to biotechnologies.
Reading List
There is no set text for this course.

A proportion of the core readings will come from:
- Kuhse, H, & Singer, P (eds). (2012). 'A companion to bioethics: second edition'. Wiley Blackwell. Available as an e-book from University of Edinburgh library
- Kuhse H, Schueklenk U and Singer P. (eds) (2016), 'Bioethics: an anthology: Third edition', Wiley Blackwell.
Both of these are available as e-books from University of Edinburgh library

The following texts are not currently available as an ebook - relevant scanned chapters will be made available to students.

- Ashcroft, R, Dawson, A, Draper, H, andMcMillan, J (eds). (2007) 'Principles of health care ethics'. John Wiley & Sons.
- Hope, R. A., Hope, T, Savulescu, J, and Hendrick, J. Medical ethics and law: the core curriculum: second edition. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008.

A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Cognitive skills. The course will enable the student to select and deploy appropriate research techniques; they will critically analyse and evaluate key issues in the subject area, and formulate coherent arguments relating to key issues in the subject area.

2. Communications. Students will be able to summarise and communicate information and ideas effectively in oral and written form. Students are also expected to interact with each other and with tutors online, and this forms part of the overall assessment.

3. Autonomy, accountability. Students will exercise personal autonomy and intellectual initiative in, and take responsibility for, the conduct of their own work.

4. Working with others. They will engage with others through participation in online discussion: articulating and supporting a line of argument and formulating critical analyses of arguments presented by others.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
Keywordsbioethics,biotechnology,innovation,medical ethics,regulation,moral philosophy
Course organiserMs Emily Postan
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information