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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nancy A.S. Jecker
MHE 411
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Bioethics

Basic concepts, principles, and methods of analysis, with application to some major issues in the field of bioethics. Case studies utilized to illustrate nature of questions arising in bioethics and to provide students with opportunity to develop skills in ethical analysis.

Class description

This course introduces students to bioethics as a field of scholarly inquiry. It accomplishes this primarily by working through specific ethical problems that arise in the clinical setting of medicine. By developing an appreciation of these problems, and of the methods of analysis used in their resolution, students will also learn about the methods and practice of bioethics. Throughout the course, students will be asked both to employ philosophical analysis and argument in practical contexts, and to assess critically the assumptions underlying such analysis.

Among the topics we will address are new reproductive technologies, prenatal diagnosis, genetic counseling, decisions to forego life-sustaining treatments, informed consent, and the ethical and legal aspects of active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Students are required to complete two take-home essay examinations. Each examination requires you to demonstrate mastery of issues and arguments drawn from readings and class discussions. Each examination represents 50% of your grade; there will be no “final examination” covering the entire class content. Extra credit is available to students with a perfect attendance record. A sign-in sheet will be distributed at the start of each class. Students who attend every class will have their final course grade raised 0.1 (on a 4.0 scale).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Nancy A.S. Jecker
Date: 07/27/2007