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Different course options

Full time | Strand Campus | 1 year | 17-JAN-22

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Medical Ethics Law / Legal Studies

Course type


Course Summary


Our MA in Medical Ethics and Law focuses on the legal and ethical questions raised in the context of medicine. These include debates about: consent and those who lack capacity; duties of care relating to treatment and to information disclosure; the treatment of children and adolescents; assisted reproduction and abortion; assisted suicide, euthanasia and end of life decisions; psychiatric ethics and mental health law; organ donation; autonomy and public health; and the allocation of scarce resources.

Course detail

MA Medical Ethics and Law, established in 1978, examines in depth the legal and ethical questions raised by medical practice and science. The Medical Law only programme is a pathway under the MA Medical Ethics and Law. Students can decide at induction which programme they wish to pursue (ethics and law; or law only, with the option of taking one ethics module). There are always developments in medical practice and science of great interest to medical ethics and law. Huge legal and ethical questions are raised by advances in fields such as genetics and assisted reproduction. In a changing moral climate, debates about conflicts between a pregnant woman and her fetus, or about physician-assisted suicide, are very much alive. There are challenging ethical and legal questions about psychiatry, about capacity issues in relation to treatment decisions, about the allocation of scarce medical resources, about autonomy and public health, and many other issues. These courses are designed for medical or legal professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline and those embarking on further research in this area. You will study the methods of reasoning and analysis in law and ethics (if doing the joint programme, or mainly law if doing the medical law programme) and examine selected areas of health care and medical practice from a medical law and ethics perspective.

Teaching and assessment

You will largely be taught through seminar-style teaching in sessions of two hours per module per week. The total notional study hours for the MA are 1800 (10 hours per 1 credit). Notional study hours comprise formal teaching and learning activities, such as lectures and tutorials, as well as assessments and independent research and study. Many modules are assessed by coursework. Some modules are assessed by exam. The dissertation can range in length from 12,000 to 15,000 words.

Career prospects

Many alumni have gone on to work in policy-related roles including positions at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Tissue Authority, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Department of Health. Several alumni have also worked in the BMA Ethics Department, for the GMC, Progress Educational Trust, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the King’s Fund, and medical defence societies. Others have found academic positions in law schools and research centres, some teaching ethics and/or law in medical schools.


An important module if you are interested in the moral issues which arise in the context of medical practice and medical law. An introduction to the major theories provides you with a theoretical framework for the analysis of a range of complex problems in medical ethics. You develop a critical awareness of the principles and doctrines operating and learn to apply them in a systematic and creative way to some of the most difficult issues facing the medical profession today.
Dissertation (60 Credits)

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK/ international students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, e.g. law, medicine, philosophy, theology, social science, one of the life sciences, dentistry or nursing studies. Alternative qualifications: Evidence of achievement of an academic level comparable to at least upper second class honours standard through past studies and where previous study, work or experience has made the applicant a suitable candidate, will also be considered.