MINA340 Bioethics

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Deborah Helen Oughton

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk, engelsk

Limits of class size:Maximum 20 and a minimum of 6 students

Course frequency:Every other year (odd years). Will not be given in 2023.

Nominal workload:

Structured lectures: ca. 35 hours. The students" own contributions in the form of semester assignment writing: ca. 90 hours.

In total 125 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in January block. This course has teaching/evaluation in January block.

About this course

The course has a broad definition of Bioethics, covering use of modern and traditional biotechnology, genetechnology as well as environmental assessment and management. It covers the Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects (ELSA) of biotechnology and environmental sciences.

Lectures will be held intensively for the first week of the course with the following topics: 1: Legislation. 2: Risk assessment and consequence analyses. 3: Ethics and ethical evaluations.

Guest lecturers from the Biotechnology Advisory board will participate

Following an assignment seminar, during the rest of the course, the students will write a semester assignment on a subject of their own choice.

Learning outcome


Students should get acquainted with the legislation in the field and their applications. Since the legislation requires consequence and risk evaluation as well as ethical argumentation, this must also be known to the students. The students will be given insight into the most important ethical theories , principles and dilemmas linked to biotechnology and environmental management.


Students are to be capable of holding a discussion on the ethical and social consequences of the use of modern biotechnology in the way it is required in cases of applications linked to,field experiments using genetically modified organisms or for conducting research on genetic engineering.Students will be able to identify relevant ethical arguments and values linked to assessment of biotechnology and environmental protection

General competence:

Students should be acquainted with the methods used, the application and possibilities, conflicts of interests, and the discussion about science and politics related to this issues. The students should therefore have an understanding of the rationale behind the legislation and the application of the relevant theories, laws and acts. .

  • Lectures, discussions and semester assignment. Classic and topical case studies will be used during the teaching week, so that students can gain experience in ethical argumentation and analysis, as well as skills in applying the legal and ethical toolbox to their own case studies or research. In the semester assignment, the students are to document knowledge from the course through an ethical evaluation of the application of biotechnology or genetic engineering, or environmental management.
  • The students will get individual supervision from the course responsible.
  • General bio- and gene technology or solid competence in general biology or environmental sciences.
  • Semester assignment. Grading system: Pass / Not pass
  • An external examiner will be used for evaluating the semester assignment.
  • Participation in lectures is compulsory (80%) as well as an assignment seminar.
  • Although the lectures are held in English, it would be an advantage for students to have a sufficient Level of Norwegain to follow the legal and media examples.
  • Essay seminar 5 hr

    Lectures and discussions: 30 hours

  • PhD students and Master students in bio- and gene technology, environmental sciences
  • MINA340 reduced with 5 ECTS against BIO340
  • Passed / Not Passed
  • Special requirements in Science