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Bioethics and Medical Humanities Minor Description

Should we use medical science to produce “designer children” or to enhance our mental and physical performance? Where does therapy end and enhancement begin? Do we have a right to choose the time and means of our own death—and should medical personnel be permitted to assist us? Can we have a meaningful discussion about physician-assisted suicide in a country without universal access to health care? Do we have a right to health care and what does this mean for health care rationing? What demands does social justice make on public health, and what challenges does discrimination pose—whether on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation or disability? What do we owe the developing world, particularly when we rely on its population as research subjects for the development of new drugs? How can we ensure that academic research is truly independent when it’s funded by pharmaceutical companies or others in the private sector? What role should religion play in debates about stem cells, abortion and end of life issues? What are the implications of recent developments in medical science for “cognitive liberty” and “genetic privacy”?

These are just some of the questions that bioethics—a relatively new and fast-growing discipline—seeks to ask and answer. Students taking the BMH minor will have the opportunity to probe these questions, drawing on literature and on recent scholarship from a wide range of disciplines (including philosophy, medicine, law, psychology, sociology, anthropology, public policy, international studies and environmental studies).

Students electing the BMH minor are required to have a basic background of biology coursework, and will take a curriculum that includes 18 credit hours, beginning with an introductory course on basic ideas and concepts in bioethics, followed by a choice of other relevant bioethics and humanities courses, and capped with an integrative course involving original research by the student. The minor will be suitable for students in almost any major, especially students going on to further academic work or careers in medicine, law, the health sciences, the life sciences, informatics or forensics.

 

BMH minor description as PDF

BMH minor application form as PDF

 

For the new Bioethics and Medical Humanities website, go to: http://bioethics.psu.edu  

To read about the Rock Ethics Institute's Bioethics Initiative, go to http://rockethics.psu.edu/bioethics

 

Requirements

Students electing the BMH minor will start with a basic background of biology coursework, and will take a curriculum that includes 18 credit hours, beginning with an introductory course on basic ideas of bioethics, followed by a choice of other relevant courses on topics in bioethics and medical humanities, and capped with an integrative course involving original research by the student.

• A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor.

• Scheduling Recommendation is by Semester Standing (e.g. Sem.: 5-8)

 

Courses offered are listed below (all are 3 credits):

Prerequisites:

BIOL 110: Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity or 6 credits BIOL (inc. ANTH 21)


Prescribed courses: (6 credits)

PHIL 132/RL ST 131: Introduction to Bioethics BMH 490: Bioethics and Medical Humanities Capstone (Sem: 5-8)

 

Additional courses: (12 credits)

Select 12 credits, at least 3 credits must be at the 400 level, and one course must be selected from the list of Ethics courses:

 

Ethics:

BBH 301: Ethics in Health and Biobehavioral Research BIOL 461: Contemporary Issues in Science and Medicine NURS 464: Dying and Death PHIL/STS 432: Medical and Health Care Issues WMNST 458: Critical Issues in Reproduction PHIL 498: Special Topics (Part of the Rock Ethics Institute lecture series, when relevant) (Sem: 5-8)

 

Humanities:

CAS 453: Health Communication Theory and Research HIST 103: History of Madness, Mental Illness, and Psychiatry

 

Other:

ANTH 470H: Our Place in Nature CSD 269: Deafness and Society FD SC 280: Food, Values, and Health H P A 301W: Health Policy and Administration KINES 345: Meaning, Ethics, Movement STS/NUTR 430: Global Food Strategies WMNST 250: Sexual Identity over the Lifespan (Sem: 5-8)

For 2007 – 2008, credit will also be given for:

ANTH 497D Exploring and Experimenting with Humans’ Genomic Variability:

Ethics and Meaning in the Post-genomic World (Spring 2008)

CAS 253: Health Communication (Fall 2007)

FD SC 280H: Food, Values and Health (Fall 2007)

H P A 401: Comparative Health Systems (Spring 2008)

STS 297A: Science and the Art of Healing (Fall 2007)

 

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Jesse Ballenger, BMH Faculty Advisor 

Science, Technology, and Society Program 

133 Willard Bldg

University Park, PA 16802

(814) 865-2223 

Email: jfb16@psu.edu

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