Master in Clinical Bioethics


Programme Description

Title: Master's Degree in Clinical Bioethics from the Menéndez Pelayo International University, in collaboration with the Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset *

  • Credits: 60 ECTS
  • Duration: October 31 - June (two years).
  • Modality: Online and blended
  • Director: Mr. Benjamín Herrero

* Pending verification by ANECA.

Presentation and Objectives


In current medicine, ethical conflicts are increasingly frequent and have a high impact on decision-making. It is essential that health professionals develop specific competencies to face the growing challenges of the medicine of the future.

The “Master in Clinical Bioethics” offers the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow effective solutions to conflicts to be identified through an innovative teaching methodology, focused on active teaching and learning skills.

The teaching model offered in the Master is integrated and multidisciplinary, focused on presenting clinical cases through schemes specifically designed to facilitate student understanding. The teaching method of presenting cases using schemas has been introduced in medicine in Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA, being novel in the teaching of clinical ethics in Spain and Latin America.


  • Main: develop specific competences that facilitate the resolution of the most frequent ethical conflicts in clinical practice.

  • Secondary:

    • Know the fundamental aspects and problems of clinical ethics, as well as its main areas of application in daily clinical practice.

    • Develop the necessary skills to assume the role of an ethical consultant / consultant in three modalities: the individual format of the consultant, the mediator and the member of ethics committees for health care.

    • Develop the necessary attitudes to facilitate the making of moral decisions, both individually and in groups, and thus optimally solve the most frequent ethical problems.



Module 1 (8 ECTS Credits): Introduction to clinical ethics.

Blended learning (one face-to-face week at the end of the Module) vs online.

Coordinators: Benjamín Herreros and Miguel Sánchez.

  • Part 1: Introduction to clinical ethics:

    1. Bioethics history.

    2. Scope of clinical ethics. Ethics, Law and Deontology.

    3. Schools and theories in bioethics. Primalism, Casuism, Ethics of virtue. Other theories. Advantages, limits and comparative analysis of theories.

    4. Neuroscience of moral decision.

  • Part 2: Work methodology and decision making in clinical ethics:

    1. The method of ethics and the method of clinic.

    2. Analysis and decision-making methods.

    3. Comparative practical analysis of methods in clinical ethics.

  • Part 3: The clinical relationship:

    1. Introduction to the clinical relationship.

    2. The consent process.

    3. The limits of consent: nudging

    4. Competition and capacity.

    5. Decision making by representation. Represented and unrepresented patients.

    6. Advance directives.

  • Part 3: Ethics and professionalism:

    1. The professional's duties to patients.

    2. Relationship with other professionals.

    3. The health professional and society.

    4. Conscientious objection.

Module 2 (12 ECTS Credits): Counseling and consulting in clinical ethics.

Blended learning (one week in person at the beginning of the Module) vs online.

Coordinators: Benjamín Herreros and Diego Real de Asúa.

  • Part 1: Models of ethical advice and consulting:

    1. Advisory and consulting models.

    2. Comparative practical analysis of the models.

  • Part 2: Ethics Committees for Healthcare:

    1. Origin of the Ethics Committees for Health Care (CEAS).

    2. Functions, tasks, training and accreditation of CEAS.

    3. Difference between CEAS and Research Ethics Committees.

    4. CEAS types and models.

    5. The advice of the CEAS. Preparation of protocols in clinical ethics.

    6. CEAS problems and difficulties.

    7. Practical cases.

  • Part 5: The Clinical Ethics Consultant:

    1. Origin of consulting in clinical ethics.

    2. Types and models of consultant.

    3. The consultant. Functions, tasks, training and accreditation.

    4. The ethical consultation: the initial context, data collection, narrative construction, analysis and implementation, follow-up. Documentation of the activity in the clinical history.

    5. Problems and difficulties of the consultant.

    6. Practical cases.

  • Part 6: Ethical mediation and other advisory models:

    1. Origin of ethical medication.

    2. The mediator. Functions, tasks, training and accreditation.

    3. Ethical mediation: context, data collection and monitoring. Documentation in the clinical history.

    4. Mixed models and other clinical ethics consulting models.

    5. Practical cases.

Module 3 (14 ECTS Credits): Advanced clinical ethics.


Coordinators: Benjamín Herreros, Beatriz Moreno, Diego Real de Asúa and Tayra Velasco.

  • Part 1. Information and communication:

    1. How to inform and communicate with the sick.

    2. Truthfulness and tolerable truth.

    3. Privacy and confidentiality.

    4. Competition assessment. The least mature.

    5. Give bad news. Coping with the end of life.

    6. Difficult patients.

    7. Ethical problems in the clinical relationship.

  • Part 2. The patient at the end of life:

    1. Introduction to the ethical problems of the end of life.

    2. Fragile and multipathological patients.

    3. Terminal cancer and non-cancer patients.

    4. Neurodegenerative diseases. Dementias.

    5. Disorders of consciousness: coma, vegetative state and states of minimal consciousness.

    6. Death. Diagnosis. Anthropological and ethical considerations.

    7. Decisions at the end of life in paediatric patients.

  • Part 3. Ethical problems in patients at the end of life:

    1. Adequacy between objectives and treatment: limitation of therapeutic effort and therapeutic obstinacy.

    2. Proportionality, futility and exceptionalism. Cardiopulmonary non-resuscitation orders.

    3. Food and nutrition at the end of life.

    4. Palliative care. Palliative sedation.

    5. I reject palliative care.

    6. Euthanasia and assisted suicide.

    7. Management of patients in emergency situations.

    8. Triage decisions.

    9. Organ transplants.

    10. Optimal management of the terminally ill and at the end of life.

  • Part 4. Ethical conflicts in special contexts.

    1. I reject medical actions. The duty of not abandonment.

    2. Treatment requests.

    3. Ethics in the medical consultation. Medical losses.

    4. Health management ethics.

    5. Conflicts of interest in medicine.

    6. Ethics and sexuality. Sterilization. Therapeutic misconception.

    7. Voluntary termination of pregnancy.

    8. Assisted human reproduction techniques. Surrogate motherhood.

    9. Prenatal diagnosis.

    10. Genetic advice.

    11. Pediatric patients.

    12. Preventive activity ethics. Vaccines.

    13. The psychiatric patient.

    14. Ethical problems in emergencies and emergencies.

    15. Ethical problems in rare diseases.

    16. Ethics and disability.

    17. Ethics and eugenics.

Module 4 (6 ECTS Credits): Research integrity and biotechnology.

Blended learning: (one week in person at the beginning of the Module) vs online.

Coordinators: Emanuele Valenti and Eduardo Pacios.

  1. Introduction to research and responsible innovation.

  2. The concept of open science

  3. Research ethics: ethical standards of research in human beings.

  4. Research integrity: scientific malpractice (manufacturing, falsification and plagiarism), questionable and responsible scientific practice

  5. Ethics Committees for Clinical Research and Research Ethics Committee with medicines.

  6. Ethics of scientific publications. Critical reading of science.

  7. How to ethically investigate at the end of life.

  8. Research in clinical ethics. Quantitative investigation.

  9. Research in clinical ethics. Qualitative research.

  10. Genetics. Gene and stem cell therapy.

Module 5 (20 ECTS Credits): Practices and TFM *.

Blended learning (two-week internship stay) vs online.

Coordinators: Benjamín Herreros, Diego Real de Asúa and Emanuele Valenti.

  1. Internships in Ethics Committees for Health Care.

  2. Internships in consulting and ethical mediation.

  3. Practices in Ethics Committees for Clinical Research.

  4. Practices in a clinical ethics centre / institution.

  5. End of Master's Project *.

  6. Evaluation

* End of Master's Project (TFM): Tutored by a teacher assigned for this task, you will have to do a face-to-face or streaming presentation.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

El Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset, IUIOG, es un centro de excelencia en posgrado adscrito a la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Especializado desde hace más de 30 años en e ... Read More

El Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset, IUIOG, es un centro de excelencia en posgrado adscrito a la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Especializado desde hace más de 30 años en el desarrollo e impartición de doctorados y másteres de alta calidad en los ámbitos de las Ciencias Sociales, las Humanidades y las Ciencias de la Salud, sus programas cuentan con reconocimiento oficial y, también, por ranking de prestigio. Read Less