Course Offerings

A list of current bioethics course offerings can be found on the Bioethics Courses Fall 2017.  For a complete list of bioethics courses and their descriptions, see below.

Required Courses

BIE 702: BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH ETHICS (3) A historical and conceptual survey of ethics and policy issues in biomedical research. Emphasis will be placed on research involving human subjects; translational research, including oversight of novel biotechnologies; and the ethical implications of research design and funding decisions.  Topics will include the regulatory structure of research and proposals for reform; genomics and biospecimen research; and the relationship between medical research and medical treatment. Students will be required to take any 2 of the following 3 courses: Clinical Ethics, Biomedical Research Ethics, and Public Policy, Medicine, and Justice.  King

BIE 703: BIOETHICS THEORY (3) A study of the main theoretical approaches to contemporary bioethics.  Each approach will be examined critically and students will explore how each approach informs analysis of contemporary issues in bioethics. Iltis

BIE 704: PUBLIC POLICY, MEDICINE, AND JUSTICE (3) An examination of the organization of medicine and biomedical science in the United States today. The relationships between scientific and medical institutions and the implementation of public policies will be critically analyzed in light of the requirements of the principle of justice. Topics will include conflicts of interest, broadly understood, within and between institutional and professional actors; the regulation of medical practice; access to health care; and the balance between the public good and market forces. Students will be required to take any 2 of the following 3 courses: Clinical Ethics, Biomedical Research Ethics, and Public Policy, Medicine, and Justice. Moskop

BIE 705: CLINICAL ETHICS (3)  This course will focus on “ethics at the bedside” and will make extensive use of case studies. The course will begin with sessions on the role of ethics in health care, the theoretical tools of bioethics, and the relationships among law, culture, and clinical ethics. The course will then review the moral foundations of therapeutic relationships, and it will conclude with examination of moral issues encountered in health care at the beginning and at the end of life. Students will be required to take any 2 of the following 3 courses: Clinical Ethics, Biomedical Research Ethics, and Public Policy, Medicine, and Justice. Moskop

BIE 706/707: BIOETHICS SEMINAR (3) A seminar on bioethics topics of interest featuring WFU and invited external faculty, with additional student presentations. Participants will also engage presenters and scholarly literature on a variety of aspects of bioethics, including,but not limited to, the scholarly and professional practice of bioethics, the role of empirical scholarship in bioethics and related disciplines, the relationship of bioethics to advocacy and policy, and bioethics communication and mediation. King

BIE 791/792: THESIS RESEARCH (1-6) Research directed toward fulfilling the thesis requirement.  May be undertaken at any time, but full-time students are encouraged to begin thesis planning in the spring and complete the thesis during the summer term or the fall semester following completion of all course work. Various faculty.

Elective Courses

BIE 619 : CONCEPTS OF HEALTH AND DISEASE (2/3) Concepts of health, disease, and disability shape discussions in bioethics and health policy.  This course examines and critically evaluates competing conceptions of health and disease. The implications of adopting different understandings of health and disease for bioethics and health policy will be explored. Iltis

BIE 670: COMMUNICATION ETHICS AND BIOETHICS: AN INTERFACE (3) This course explores: 1) how the phenomena of the call of conscience, acknowledgment, and our metaphysical desire for perfection inform the ontological status of communication ethics; 2) how communication ethics is a necessary concern for bioethics scholars, policymakers, researchers, and others interested in assessing the ongoing debate over the benefits and burdens of biotechnology; and 3) how biotechnology affects our collective understanding of human dignity.  Students will also be involved as role-players in a Wake Radio program where an actual case study in communication and bioethics is broadcast to the University community.  Hyde, Robeson

BIE 701: HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOETHICS (2/3) This elective explores the origins of bioethics thought, through examination of core concepts in philosophy, moral theory, social and cultural studies, and law and policy. Topics may include, for instance: the ancient Greeks, Confucius, and key religious teaching on health; the civil rights movement;the history of scientific medicine; and the legal conceptualization of medical practice. This course expands and extends students’ knowledge of the contemporary history of bioethics as incorporated in to various aspects of their required courses. Staff

BIE 708: RESEARCH METHODS (may be required for the thesis option) (2) An introduction to the methods, concepts and tools used in quantitative and qualitative empirical research in bioethics.  Students will develop skills in the design, conduct, interpretation, and evaluation of bioethics research.  Hall & Shumaker

BIE 709: ETHICS OF HEALTH COMMUNICATION (3)  Topics may include the following: (1) Communication with patients, including truth-telling, confidentiality, and techniques for effective communication; (2) Communication within and between institutions, including portable advance directives, access to patient records, and the prevention of medical errors; and (3) Communication with the public, including issues arising from the presentation of bioethical issues in news media, film, and television. Hyde

BIE 710: GLOBAL BIOETHICS (2/3) A comparison of American bioethics with the views of other societies and cultures, including western and non-western perspectives and developed and developing world perspectives. Topics may include: individualism vs. the community, reproductive freedom, organ transplantation, definitions and views of death, access to medical advances, and the use of human subjects in medical research.  Other issues include health disparities, justice in research, and the role of humanitarian aid in promotion of global health. Staff

BIE 711: CURRENT TOPICS IN CLINICAL AND BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH ETHICS (2/3) An in-depth critical examination of selected topics of current interest in clinical and research ethics. Topics will be identified by staff and students. Examples of pertinent topics include human pluripotent stem cell research; assisted reproduction; research without consent; the sale of human organs; pandemic and biodefense preparedness; synthetic body parts and transhumanism; genetic enhancement; regenerative medicine and biogerontology.  May be repeated for credit.  King

BIE 713: LAW, MEDICINE, AND ETHICS (3) An examination of the relationships between law and medicine, including the legal regulation of medical practice, concepts of medical malpractice, medical neglect, informed consent and legal competence, confidentiality and privacy, and definitions of death. The ethical implications of the intersection of law and medicine will be critically analyzed. Coughlin

BIE 715: BIOETHICS AND RELIGION (2/3) This course explores fundamental themes, methods, and issues in religious bioethics. It seeks to determine the ways that religious approaches offer distinctive, complementary, or overlapping perspectives with secular approaches. Specific topics will include assisted reproductive technologies, family planning and abortion, genetic therapy and enhancement, withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, suicide and euthanasia, and justice issues in the allocation of health care resources. The course will combine lectures and discussions with the analysis of cases. Staff

BIE 717: ETHICS, ECONOMICS, AND HEALTH POLICY (3) Examines ethical and justice aspects of social decision-making and market allocation mechanisms in the context of health care, health policy, and population health.  Staff

BIE  721/722: RESEARCH/INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3) Students may work with a faculty member on a project of mutual interest. May be repeated for credit. Various faculty.

BIE 723: BIOETHICS AT THE MOVIES (2)  A critical examination of the bioethical issues raised in selected full length feature films.  The goal of this course is to increase students’ ability to think critically about complex issues, paying close attention to relevant details.  Hardgrave

BIE 725: HEALTH CARE LAW AND POLICY (2/3) This course examines the public policy and legal dimensions of the financing and regulation of health care delivery. Its focus is on how medical institutions (hospitals, insurers, HMOs) are structured and regulated, and how these institutions relate to their physicians and patients. Ongoing debate over health care reform is a main focus. The dominant theme is how law shapes and responds to the rapid economic and structural changes that are taking place in the health care sector.
This course is cross listed as LAW 525.

BIE 727 : PERFORMABLE CASE STUDIES IN BIOETHICS (3) Students will develop a bioethics case study and present it as a dramatic reading with audience discussion at semester’s end. From an initial prompt (e.g. subject matter, situation, incident) and associated readings, the work will be implemented in three phases of approximately equal length: 1) discussion and analysis of the prompt and readings; 2) student presentations of additional research, either individually or in teams, and concomitant discussion and analysis, from ethical, social, legal, and policy perspectives; and 3) script (case) development during in-class writing sessions. The overarching goal is to exploit the unique ability of dramatic art to engage complex, multifaceted issues in ways that are neither nebulous nor propagandistic, and to highlight the relationship between process, close analysis, art and scholarship in bioethics. Robeson

BIE 729: BIOETHICS AS A PROFESSION (2) A critical examination of the scholarly literature both in and about bioethics.  Topics may include the ethics of the profession of bioethics, controversies concerning the role of bioethics professionals, and the standards and evaluation of practitioners of bioethics.  King

BIE 731: BIOETHICS AT WORK: THE IRB (1-2) This course provides students with the opportunity to experience and understand human research oversight by attending Institutional Review Board (IRB) meetings, reviewing submitted protocols, and considering the ethical issues arising in therein. Students assigned to a single IRB for a single semester will receive one credit.  They will attend monthly meetings, meet periodically with course faculty and staff, and meet with IRB senior staff at the beginning and end of the semester.  Students are also required to maintain and submit a journal of commentary on meetings and protocols and the ethical issues arising therein, and an end-of-semester paper. Initial enrollment will be in the spring semester, concurrent with enrollment in BIE702:  Biomedical Research Ethics.  Additional Credits may be earned by students who attend the meetings of more than one IRB or who continue attendance during the summer term and/or in the fall semester.  Enrollment in BIE 702:  Biomedical Research Ethics is required. Course requires permission of instructor.  Iltis/King/Behar

BIE 733: BIOETHICS AT WORK: THE CLINICAL CONTEXT (1-3) This course provides students with the opportunity to experience and understand clinical ethics activities in the academic medical center setting, through attendance at Clinical Ethics Committee and Subcommittee meetings and other ethics-related events. Students will attend meetings of the WFUBMC Clinical Ethics Committee, the Consultation, Policy, and Organizational Ethics Subcommittees, and educational sessions organized by the Education Subcommittee. Monthly 2-hour meetings with faculty will explore the application of bioethics theory to cases, topics, and issues encountered in clinical settings. Students may also be able to attend ethics consultations by arrangement. Prerequisite: BIE 705: Clinical Ethics. Course requires permission of instructor. Moskop

BIE 737: BIOETHICS & GENETICS (3) An exploration of some of the ethical issues generated by the acquisition and application of knowledge about the human genome.  Topics include eugenics, confidentiality, gene therapy, genetic testing of minors, genetic testing of adults, and ownership of genetic information. McConnell

BIE 739:  NEUROETHICS (NEUROSCIENCES & ETHICS) (3) This course introduces students to basic philosophical and ethical issues in neuroethics.  In this course, two branches of neuroethics are explore:  the ethics of neuroscience and the neuroscience of ethics.  The ethics of neuroscience investigates the ethical implications of the application of neurotechnology for individuals and society, and the neuroscience of ethics attempts to answer traditional ethical questions through neuroscience.  In the first half of the course, issues related to the ethics of neuroscience such as brain privacy (mind reading), brain manipulation, and cognitive enhancement are studied, and in the second half, contemporary neuroscientific results bearing on ethical issues like personal identity, free will, and the nature of normative judgments are reviewed.  This course is cross listed in the Divinity School. Jung

(meets the Bioethics Seminar requirement for Fall 2015)
This team-taught course provides bioethics students with an overview of the different ways in which narrative of diverse types are instrumental to bioethics thinking. Four to six faculty will teach individual course units for 2-3 session, addressing topics including, but not limited to illness narratives, bioethics in fiction and film; performable case studies addressing bioethics issues; the voice of the medical case presentation; narrative reading and narrative writing; bioethics in the news; and the ethics of “thick description.” Involvement of multiple faculty enables critical reflection on narrative from a varied of disciplinary perspectives common to bioethics. King

BIE 757: BIOTECHNOLOGY LAW AND POLICY (2/3) This course surveys a range of legal and public policy topics in biotechnology, such as: FDA regulation of drugs and devices, regulation of medical research, products liability, insurance coverage of pharmaceuticals, intellectual property, and genetics.  This course is cross-listed as Law 657.  Hall

BIE 777: HEALTH RELATED RESEARCH:  LAW, REGULATION AND POLICY (2)  This course explores the regulatory framework and the policy issues that animate health-related research.  Topics include public health and quality improvement research genetic research, health-related behavioral and social science research, first-in-human trials, and international considerations.   This course is cross listed as LAW 677. King 

BIE 790: BIOTECHNOLOGY AND ETHICS (3) With the convergence of medicine, nanotechnology, computer science, molecular biology, genetic engineering, and business, biotechnologies are emerging not only as an important provider of life-saving and life-enhancing treatments but also a fast-growing and very profitable industry. This course explores some of the major ethical issues related to the current and proposed uses of biotechnologies with particular attention to the reasons and arguments that are often used to support various views on the use of biotechnology. This course is cross-listed as THS 790 (Divinity School). Jung

BIE 794: BIOETHICS AND LAW (2) This course involves applying principles of bioethics in scientific and medical scenarios from the perspective of the legal system to see how the bioethics principles affect decision-making and strategy in the litigation and legislative processes. This course is interactive in nature, and involves the use of simulation and role-playing to help understand and address emerging bioethics issues in areas including informed consent, genetic testing, biomedical experimentation, and end of life decisions.
This course is cross-listed as Law 594.  Coughlin

Other Courses to Consider

WGS 621: GENDER AND THE POLITICS OF HEALTH (3) In this course, we will explore the intersections of gender and health, addressing questions such as: How have women and men interacted differently with the field of medicine, as healers, patients, and participants in medical research? How do social and cultural norms about gender influence the  definition of illness categories? What role does medicine play in enforcing gender norms? How does gender as a social role affect health status and health outcomes? Undergraduates and graduates eligible to take this course.  Gupta