In recent years, ethics has become part of most tertiary biotechnology curricula. There is, however, considerable variation in the extent and manner of ethics education provided to students in different institutions. In addition, the perceived need that students and employers have regarding ethics education, and the aims and expected outcomes of ethics education, are rarely made clear. This research reports the findings of a questionnaire administered to 375 undergraduate biotechnology students from 19 Australian universities to determine their attitudes towards the teaching of ethics. The results suggest that undergraduate biotechnology students generally regard ethics education to be important and that ethics should be included in undergraduate biotechnology curricula. Students tended, however, to emphasize the professional and industrial side of ethics and not to recognize the personal effects of morals and behaviour. We provide suggestions for rethinking how ethics should be taught.
International Journal of Science Education Vol. 28, Issue 10, p. 1225-1239