Accessibility statement

Public Health & Ethics - HEA00031M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Stephen Holland
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
B Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To understand and apply moral theory relevant to ethical evaluation of public health initiatives.
  • To understand and apply political theory relevant to ethical evaluation of public health initiatives.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the moral and political issues raised by public health initiatives.
  2. Apply moral and political theory to public health initiatives.

Module content

The module covers eight topics, of which the following are indicative:

Topic 1: Utilitarianism and refusing to treat recalcitrant smokers

Topic 2: Kant on treating people as mere means, and Down’s Syndrome screening

Topic 3: Kant on universalisable maxims, and voluntary non-immunisers

Topic 4: Virtue ethics and harm reduction strategies

Topic 5: Principlism and SARS

Topic 6: The harm principle and the ban on smoking in public places

Topic 7: Conceptions of freedom and health behaviour modification

Topic 8: Communitarianism and teen pregnancy strategies


Task Length % of module mark
Open Examination (1 day)
Open Exam
3.5 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Examination (1 day)
Open Exam
3.5 hours 100

Module feedback

Written feedback for summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Holland, S. (2014). Public Health Ethics (2nd Edn). Cambridge: Polity.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students