PHLX101-02: Introduction to Bioethics

A massive open online course by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

The course is now in archive mode. While the main course platform and its content will remain free and available, discussion boards and edX quizzes are no longer available. It is no longer possible to earn a Certificate of Completion. No account is neccessary to access the course platform—simply click the Enter Course button above to get started.

About the Course

Introduction to Bioethics explores some of the most difficult—and fascinating—moral challenges we face in health, medicine, and emerging technologies.

Should we clone humans? What should we think of the coming genetic revolution? How much control should we have over how and when we die? When does medical treatment turn into medical enhancement — and should we care? Is rationing health care good, bad, necessary — or all of the above?

This course will explore fundamental moral issues that arise in medicine, health, and biotechnology. Get behind the headlines — and polarized debates — and join others who want to think deeply and openly about these problems. Some are as old as life itself: the vulnerability of illness, the fact of death. Some are new, brought on by a dizzying pace of technology that can unsettle our core ideas about human nature and our place in the world. And nearly all intersect with issues of racial and gender equality, as well as policies affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Designed to introduce students to the range of issues that define bioethics, together with core concepts and skills, this course should be of interest to undergraduates, health care professionals, policy makers, and anyone interested in philosophy or ethics.

Meet the faculty

This course is taught by seven senior research scholars of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, one of the world's oldest academic ethics institutes. Established in 1971 with a founding interest in biomedical ethics, it has trained generations of moral leaders in bioethics and beyond. You can learn more about the Institute and its role in the history of bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics homepage.