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Short Courses in Bioethics and Health Law

The Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics is offering short courses on

  • Foundations of Bioethics
  • Foundations of Health Law
  • Advanced Health Ethics
  • Research Ethics: Conducting Research Responsibly

Venue: Phillip V. Tobias Building, Ground Floor, Canteen Meeting Room 50, Parktown, Johannesburg
Closing date for applications: 01 February 2019

Who should enrol?

  • The courses are generally open to all qualified Health Care Professionals.
  • Other graduates with an interest in the subject matter may also apply.
  • For the Research Ethics course, members of Research Ethics Committees and researchers in the health field are especially welcome to apply.


  • Each short course is run over the course of a week.
  • Attendance from Monday to Friday during office hours is a requirement for obtaining a certificate.


  • Based on attendance and a test, successful candidates will be awarded a University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Certificate of Competence.
  • The courses do NOT count as credits towards any degree.

Ethics CPD Points

  • Candidates who complete the courses Foundations of Bioethics, Foundations of Health Law or Advanced Health Ethics will receive ethics CPD points.
  • (Note: this does not apply to the Research Ethics course)


  • Each course costs: R7000.00
  • Refreshments and meals are not included in the fee

Description of Courses

Foundations of Bioethics
This unit is designed to enable you to analyse and evaluate issues in bioethics within the context of a solid ethical framework. Major theoretical, non-theoretical and other ways of viewing the world will be taught. The course intends to provide a foundational understanding of the relationship between concepts, logic & argumentation and fallacies of reasoning. 

Foundations of Health Law
This unit will cover sources of South African law, the Constitution, statutory and common law in the context of health. Criminal, civil and family law and their interaction with health will be explored. The National Health Act will be discussed as well as the amendments to the Medicines Act. International law in relation to health is included in this unit.  

Research Ethics: Conducting Research Ethically  
This unit introduces and explains a number of topical ethical issues in research ethics, including what constitutes unethical research, standards of care in a study, authorship guidelines and plagiarism. The role and modus operandi of Research Ethics Committees are outlined.  Finally, clearly articulated standards of good clinical practice in research relevant to local realities and contexts are provided.  These include obtaining valid informed consent, considering specific subgroups, standards of care for trial participants, access to study medications following completion of a clinical trial, issues pertaining to incentives affecting researchers and participants, releasing and publishing research results and the implementation of research findings.

Advanced Health Ethics
This unit addresses a number of important issues in bioethics and health law critically and in depth. A number of  important issues will be focussed on relating to ethical and medico-legal issues in clinical contexts, reproductive health, policy and public health, resource allocation, genetics, health and human rights, environmental bioethics and others. Students will learn how to apply the ethical theories, ethical and legal principles, and their critical and analytical skills learnt in the foundations units to specific ethical and medico-legal questions.

2019 Course dates

  • Foundations of Bioethics (Mon 4 – Sat 9 Feb)
  • Foundations of Health Law (Mon 11 – Fri 15 Feb)
  • Advanced Health Ethics (Mon 18 – Fri 22 Feb)
  • Research Ethics: Conducting Research Responsibly (Mon 25 – Fri 1 Mar)


Short Course Brochure: Short Course Brochure 2019


Phillip V. Tobias Building

Ground Floor

Canteen Meeting Room 50



Ms Samkelo Nsibande
Project Co-ordinator
Tel: +27 (0) 11 717 2190