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End of Life Issues (POPH90259)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Online

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePOPH90259
Term 3 - Online
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject explores the ethical issues that may arise at the end of life. Beginning with a multidisciplinary exploration of the concept of the end of life, students will investigate a number of longstanding as well as emerging issues that confront individuals, families, professionals and societies. Students will consider the implications of making decisions in various domains at different stages of the end of life, as well as the potential role of families, friends, carers, health professionals, lawyers, other professionals and policy makers in such decision making.

The subject will focus in particular on the role and responsibilities of professionals working with people preparing for or at the end of their lives. Topics may include historical and cultural perspectives on mortality and the end of life; justice in the distribution of resources at the end of life; the concept of a "good death" and euthanasia; determination of death and deceased donation of organs and tissues; and end-of life care planning and decision-making.

The curriculum for this subject will engage with art as a medium for reflection on ethical issues. Throughout the subject, students will explore a number of artworks independently and with their peers in exercises designed to foster skills in observation, interpretation, and analysis as well emotional engagement.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • Recognise, explain and critically reflect on ethical issues concerned with the end of life from a variety of perspectives, and identify professional ethical responsibilities that may be relevant in the context of end of life issues.
  • Demonstrate an informed understanding of core ethical principles and concepts through exposition and application of these in the analysis of end- of-life issues.
  • Formulate reflective arguments outlining potential solutions to ethical dilemmas in the context of the end of life.
  • Identify, critically analyse, and explain ethical dilemmas that may confront professionals working with people at the end of life, and formulate solutions to these dilemmas that are well grounded in ethical arguments.

Generic skills

Students will be provided with the opportunity to practice and reinforce:

  • Enhanced skills in critical thinking and analysis of issues in public policy and practice from an ethical perspective.
  • Advanced oral and written communication skills.
  • Advanced skills in reasoning, persuasion and effective argumentation.
  • Ability to identify, evaluate and integrate ethical theory with empirical knowledge in public health and clinical care, policy and practice.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • 1a. Contribution to small group activity with peers that involves observation, description, and analysis of ethical issues inspired by specific artworks. Weeks 2, 5 and 6 (10%)
  • 1b. Reflective blog summarizing learning from small group activity (500 words) due End of Term (10%)
  • 2. Written reflective essay discussing an ethical issue in the context of end of life (1250 words) due Mid Term (25%)
  • 3. Structured peer review of another student’s essay (250 words) due Mid Term (5%)
  • 4. Argumentative essay exploring an ethical issue for professionals working in the end-of-life (2,500 words) due at the End of Term (50%)

Dates & times

  • Term 3 - Online
    Principal coordinatorLynn Gillam
    Mode of deliveryOnline
    Contact hours30 hours
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Pre teaching start date10 July 2017
    Teaching period17 July 2017 to 10 September 2017
    Last self-enrol date11 July 2017
    Census date 4 August 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail25 August 2017
    Assessment period ends15 September 2017

    Term 3 contact information


    Currently enrolled students:

    Future Students:

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Last updated: 19 October 2018