CUL480 - Ethical Issues in Science and Technology

Outline info
Last revision date 2017-07-10 13:40:36.651
Last review date 2017-07-10 13:40:36.652

Subject Title
Ethical Issues in Science and Technology

Subject Description
This subject examines the philosophical theories relevant to the study of ethics, including the development of professional codes of ethics that guide technologists and engineers in the performance of their duties, and considers their application in all fields of science and technology. Case studies of current environmental, medical, industrial and energy issues will be studied in this context.

Credit Status
One General Education elective credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1) Apply deontological and consequentialist approaches to ethical issues at the personal, professional and societal level
2) Identify and critique typical ethical issues that arise in the fields of science and technology
3) Analyze the causal chain between technology and its effects on society
4) Classify the major points of contention that underpin techno-ethical conflicts
5) Apply effective decision-making frameworks to workplace and global scenarios
6) Analyze and critique key components of professional codes of ethics
7) Analyze and evaluate current points of view on the major technology-related issues facing the world.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Topic Outline

  • Morals and ethics
  • Ethics and technology
  • Our digital world
  • Bioethics
  • Climate change
  • Energy consumption
  • GMOs

Mode of Instruction

In-class: Students attend classes on campus each week. All instruction is delivered in a face to face environment.
Teaching and Learning Methods:
To ensure that students are engaged as much as possible in the learning process, instructors can use such teaching methods as class and small group discussions, essays and research, individual and group presentations, readings, lectures, workshops, in-class exercises, and/or web-based instruction. The mode of delivery will dictate the most appropriate teaching methods available to an instructor.

Prescribed Texts

Reference Material

Students are referred to the following web site for the Seneca College Library APA Style Guide and Guide to Integrating Quotations (APA Style):

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Term Work:
All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned. 
Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.

Modes of Evaluation

GMO Activity 15%
Quiz 15%
Presentation 15%
Major Assignment 30%
Final Examination 25%
Student Success:

Please come prepared to participate in class. Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood