LLAW6271 & JDOC6271

General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6271 / JDOC6271
Course name: Bioethics Foundations
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: 50

1.2 Course description

This is a course in bioethics offering an introduction to the fundamentals of bioethics.

The course provides a firm grounding in traditional approaches to bioethics and relevant basics of legal and philosophical theory, while also introducing students to non-Western perspectives. By making connections to moral and legal philosophy as well as to bioethics, students will be able to locate current questions of policy and law within a broader academic context. The course will emphasize building student understanding of philosophical fundamentals, which are involved in and may provide a different perspective to more specific topics in bioethics such as the end of life and the physician-patient relationship.

The syllabus covers significant schools of thought essential to an understanding of bioethics and medical law, such as consequentialism, virtue ethics, and deontology. Students will also be introduced to non-Western perspectives, such as concepts in Confucian ethics. Throughout the class, students will examine legal, ethical, and economic and policy dimensions of questions in bioethics using the philosophical tools they develop. This will generally take the form of case studies, which students will be given to analyze and debate in class. Such case studies will cover topics such as rationing in modern health care systems, organ transplantation, the use of reproductive technology and human enhancement. Through the in-class debates, students will develop the ability to identify the key issues of bioethics that arise in the case studies, as well as construct well-formed arguments in support of or against a position in these debates.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Rachel Ronald ronaldr@hku.hk N/A By email
Course convenor Mark Sheehan TBA N/A By email
Course convenor Michael Dunn TBA N/A By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Students will be able to locate both abstract bioethical concepts and applied clinical problems and legal cases within the broader framework of moral philosophy and legal theory.

CLO 2 Students will be able to develop critical thinking skills and ability to effectively and comfortably use concepts and language of moral philosophy and legal theory in discussion and writing to analyze legal, policy, social and clinical problems.

CLO 3 Students will be able to build legal and academic writing ability through class reflection assignments.

CLO 4 Students will be able to develop ability to debate bioethical and medico-legal questions.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation (including reflection papers) TBC 30% 5 1, 2, 3, 4
Take home exam TBC 70% 1 1, 2
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/