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Teaching ethics in Europe


Aim: To carry out an appropriate overview and inventory of the teaching of ethics within the European Union Schools of Medicine.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent by email to 45 randomly selected medical schools from each of 23 countries in the European Union in February 2006.

Results: 25 schools of medicine from 18 European countries were included (response rate = 56%). In 21 of 25 medical schools, there was at least one ethics module. In 11 of 25 medical schools, the teaching of ethics was transversal. Only one of the responding schools did not teach ethics. The mean time invested in ethics teaching was 44 h during the overall curriculum.

Conclusions: Ethics now has an established place within the medical curriculum throughout the European Union. However, there is a notable disparity in programme characteristics among schools of medicine.

  • WMA, World Medical Association

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