The interdisciplinary minor in bioethics encompasses work in the fields of biology, natural science, philosophy, sociology and theology. It enables students to study topics in which the life sciences and ethics converge, such as: biological and chemical weapons, human stem cell research, global warming, human and animal experimentation, pollution, genetic screening and gene therapy, and human population growth.
The bioethics minor helps to prepare students for a range of future careers, or for advanced study in ministry, the health professions, the sciences, teaching, law, journalism, research, government or social work. For many students, the study of bioethics not only deepens their understanding of science and its impact on our lives, but also strengthens their ability to think broadly and critically, and to better see the vital integration of science and technology with individuals and the world around us.
Why study bioethics?
Bioethics, which examines the ethical implications of science, addresses many of the issues that have—or will have—a major impact on individuals and on our society. Some of the many important questions raised by bioethicists include:
- Who should be screened for genetic diseases, and how should we make use of the genetic information we collect?
- What are the biological and philosophical underpinnings of our conceptions of race, gender and sexual orientation, and how should we use these concepts?
- Can an understanding of issues such as global warming, pollution and habitat destruction help us to understand the relationship between human beings and the natural world?
Upon completion of the program, students will:
- Understand relevant scientific concepts, techniques, and methods as they relate to bioethical topics
- Recognize bioethical issues
- Apply ethical reasoning and ethical judgment (concepts, theories, methods) to discuss bioethical issues
- Integrate science and ethics such that students can take a bioethical topic or issue and connect the scientific with the ethical issues.