Ethics in Life Sciences


Course Objective

To provide a toolbox of ethical instruments to analyze properly moral
problems related (to one's own) research in the life sciences and beyond
• To acquire conceptual knowledge of the central concepts in applied
philosophy and professional ethics
• To be able to execute an ethical reflection on issues related to one
owns life science specialization and to open it for an impartial and
constructive discussion
• To conduct, as a team based project, a moral dialogue
• To acquire the necessary skills to handle ethical issues in an
accountable manner, as a professional academic beyond one's own
inclinations and prejudices
• To show a respectful and accountable attitude in dealing with group
dynamics during the seminar groups and moral dialogue group project.

Course Content

Researchers in life sciences help generate knowledge that builds the
future of our society. Therefore, professional academics should be
accountable for their decisions, experimental designs and presentation
of results. In this short course, the principles of justification will
be illustrated with cases of technology ethics and medical ethics. The
way an ethical review on animal research works is simulated through a
role-play exercise. Finally, as a group training project, an ethical
dialogue is prepared and executed in confrontation with another team.

Teaching Methods

Ethics in the Life Sciences is a parttime course of four weeks (3 ECTS).
The total study time is 80 hours.
The different elements have the following study time:
• Lectures: 17 hours
• Seminar groups: 12 hours
• Group assignment: 20 hours
• Exam: 2 hour
• Moral dialogue: 4 hours
• Self study: 25 hours
Please note that attendance to the seminars is compulsory. Attendance to
the lectures is highly recommended. In our experience, relying on
self-study alone is insufficient to apply the theory of the
lectures in the assignments of the workgroups, and to pass the exam.

Method of Assessment

• Intellectual participation in the workgroups (10%)
• Multiple-choice exam (50%)
• Execution of the moral dialogue, including presentation (and notes)
All three elements have to be passed

Entry Requirements

Bsc Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Psychology with profile Biological
Psychology or Neuropsychology


Available on Canvas

Target Audience

Compulsory course in all FALW Master programmes, except Health Sciences
and Neuro Sciences

Additional Information

Lectures in English, Most of the seminar groups are in Dutch. Students
who don't speak Dutch will be placed in English-taught seminar groups.
All presentations and plenary discussions are in English.

In order to maximize the experience of differences in values and
preferences, and to increase meaningful ethical inquiry, we will
randomly assign you to seminar groups. Placement will be communicated
through Canvas one week before the course starts.

General Information

Course Code AM_470707
Credits 3 EC
Period P3
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator P. Klaassen MA
Examiner P. Klaassen MA
Teaching Staff P. Klaassen MA
dr. J.F.H. Kupper

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group*, Lecture

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: