MIT OpenCourseWare


Course Overview

Topics and Format

HST continued to explore ethical issues through a weekly seminar course entitled HST.590 Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series: Topics in Medical Ethics and Professional Conduct in Research. This course is required of all HST PhD students and attended by many MD and SM students along with interested faculty and staff. It is taught for two years in rotation with seminar series in communications and business topics.

See an online report on the integration of ethics and responsible conduct of research into the HST curriculum.

Academic year 2006 saw the continuation of seminars exploring techniques for recognizing, analyzing, and resolving ethical dilemmas facing healthcare professionals and biomedical researchers in today's highly regulated environment. Guest lectures by practicing clinicians, technologists, researchers, and regulators included case studies, interactive small group discussions, and role-playing simulations. Professional conduct topics include authorship, conflict of interest, data acquisition, and management, and the protection of human subjects and animals involved in research programs.

Future Directions

As of Spring 2006, the two year cycle of teaching a standalone course on ethics is coming to an end, so HST and Dr. Rosen are turning their attention to teaching a smaller group of students in more depth and to integrating ethical teaching into a selection of HST courses. Guest lectures with case studies for six science and engineering course are currently being developed by Dr. Rosen and integrated into the subject material with the help of individual course instructors.


All assignments are in-class discussion based work that includes breakout sessions for seminar topics and role-playing scenarios.

Grading and Evaluation

Grading is pass/fail and evaluation of students is based on attendance and class participation.