Assisted Dying: Rhetorics and Reality DUMF5129

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course addresses the global debate about the ethics, pragmatics, and social ramifications of lawful assisted dying. The intention is to provide essential background about the history of the 'euthanasia debate' and how it has changed over time. Students will be sensitised to global variations in the form the debate takes, the type of medicalised 'assistance' advocated for and, in some jurisdictions, offered as well as the real and potential implications for health and social care providers. Theoretical ideas will also be introduced which will enable students to understand the increasing prominence of assisted dying in end of life debates.  



Online delivery - None

Online delivery - 1x 90 minute seminar per week

Requirements of Entry

Entry to programme

Excluded Courses





1. Continuous reflective journal of 2500-3000 words (60%)

2. Case study of 1500 words (40%)

Course Aims

1. To enable students to critically analyse the ethical principles and different rights claims at stake in the assisted dying debate.


2. To enable students to interrogate the research evidence from jurisdictions which have legalised assisted dying in order to assess its implications. 


3. To enable students to appraise social theories which can inform a broad-based understanding of the historically situated nature of contemporary 'right-to-die' discourses.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Account for the factors which have led to increasing calls around the world for legislation permitting assisted dying. 


2. Critically reflect on the challenges of implementing assisted dying policies and practices in jurisdictions where it is lawful.


3. Reflect upon how macro-level changes in how we live and die in the 21st Century are influencing the assisted dying debate.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.