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Bio-Ethics and Security


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Bio-Ethics and Security introduces two important studies in the bio-medical field. Security, the study of all aspects related to the privacy, integrity and authenticity of data and processes in information systems with important ramifications for biomedical-data processing. And Bioethics, the study of the ethical issues emerging from ongoing developments in biology and medicine.
In this course, Security will be firstly introduced by starting with an overview of important algorithms, systems and aspects for the security of biomedical-data. Basic cryptographic concepts, algorithms and protocols are discussed. Important biomedical security subjects such as the authentication, security, and privacy of patient data; privacy and security in biomedical applications; anonymity, security, and authentication of research data are discussed in several case studies.
Secondly, the principles and theories that are related to bioethics will be introduced. Furthermore, students will learn how to apply these principles and theories in varied ethical dilemmas arising from medical and non-medical life sciences. Rich and diverse topics, that bioinformaticians are closely involved, are collected for seminars. Students get the opportunity to share their opinions in the class and improve the capacity of moral reasoning about bioethical issues.

Course objectives

  • Obtain knowledge on the major cryptographic algorithms and protocols for data anonymity, security, authentication and privacy.

  • Obtain knowledge on the problems and solutions in the area of Biomedical Security.

  • Be able to understand and evaluate proposed cryptographic solutions in the area of Biomedical Security.

  • Clarify the fundamental principles and theories that relate to bioethics.

  • Apply normative ethical theories to complex bioethical issues.

  • Evaluate multiple perspectives concerning diverse bioethical issues.


The most recent timetable can be found at the Computer Science (MSc) student website.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudymap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminars

  • Debate session

  • Assignments

Hours of study: 84 (= 3 EC)
Lectures and Assignments: 30
Debate session: 10
Report: 44

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on the student's presence and active participation in seminar discussion and debate sessions, assignments, and a final technical paper (8 pages). All assignment sets are graded with a fail/pass. To pass the course 5 of the 6 assignment sets should have a pass.
The final grade = the grade for the final technical paper, if at least 5 of the 6 assignments have a pass.
The final grade = 4, if less than 5 of the 6 assignments have a pass.
The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

  • Scientific papers from conferences, workshops and journals.

  • Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Oxford University Press (Seventh Edition).
    Recommended, not compulsory


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudymap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to register for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course.

Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturers: dr. Erwin Bakker dr. Lu Cao


Not applicable.