I. Course Prefix/Number: PHL 180
Course Name: Medical Ethics
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Define the basic vocabulary needed to discuss ethical theories and be able to state the problems that ethical theories address.
B. Explain and compare at least four conflicting ethical theories and the arguments that support these theories.
C. Evaluate ethical theories by critically examining (both orally and through written work) the arguments that support the theories and by discussing what important considerations may be lacking in the theories studied.
D. Apply ethical theories to concrete issues and situations faced by health care professionals. Issues concerning patient autonomy, death and dying, reproduction and new reproductive technologies, and privacy will be included.
E. Apply theories of social justice to the debates over the right to health care and how it should be realized as well as to the debates about the ethics of experimentation on human subjects and about racism and sexism within the health car delivery system.
F. Use the ethical theory with which they agree to defend their own positions on contemporary moral issues in health care ethics both orally and in writing.
G. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
A. History of medicine and health care
B. Early understandings of medical ethics
II. Theories of ethics
C. Natural law and religious ethics
D. The ethic of care
E. Theories of social justice
III. Autonomy and paternalism
IV. Defining death and euthanasia
V. Issues about reproduction
VI. Experimentation on human subjects
VII. Health care and social justice
VIII. The ethics of nursing
IX. Ethics and health information professionals
X. The global AIDS crisis
VII. Methods of Instruction
B. Small group work
D. Student presentations and debates
E. Guest speakers
F. Field trips may be required
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
B. Standards for written work
F. Final Project
G. Special policies about make-up exam, late papers, or other matters of concern
IX. Instructional Materials
Text: VARIES BY INSTRUCTOR
The use of Internet assignments means that the material discussed can be very timely.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
A. Quizzes/Exams……40 points
B. Essays……40 points
C. Final project with oral presentation……10 points
D. Attendance and participation………10 points
E. Grading scale: 90-100, A…….80-89, B………70-79, C……….60-69……..D
XI. Other Course Information
• Office and office hours:
• Email and website:
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.