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MA Healthcare Ethics and Law

Different course options

Full time | The University of Manchester | 1 year | SEP-21

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Ethics Medical Ethics Health Studies Law / Legal Studies

Course type


Course Summary

Course description

The MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law will provide you with expert knowledge and understanding of ethical and medico-legal theories, and the skills needed to apply them to real-world scenarios in a diverse range of contexts.

You will study a wide variety of ethical and legal subjects including autonomy, consent, refusal of treatment, confidentiality, the moral status of the foetus, resource allocation, genetic testing, HIV testing, medical malpractice, clinical negligence, organ and tissue transplantation, fertility treatment, genetic manipulation, research ethics, stem cell research and euthanasia.


The MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law covers a wide variety of ethical and legal subject matter in order to allow students to apply their theory to real-world scenarios.

Teaching and learning

Teaching tends to defy the traditional boundaries associated with lectures and seminars. Generally, each class in a course unit has a duration of 2 or 3 hours per week, and is split roughly equally between a formal, didactic period and a structured discussion period (most often based on the so-called challenge-response model). Nevertheless, each class is considered a seminar or lecture, and attendance of all classes of a course unit for which a student is enrolled is thus compulsory. For course units of 15 credit value there will generally be 15 hours of face-to-face teaching throughout the semester in which the unit is delivered, and twice that amount for 30 credit units.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment of all taught course units (to a total of 120 credits) is by assessed coursework in the form of essays of 4,000 words per 15 credit course unit and up to 6,000 words for the two 30 credit core course units.

In addition, students who wish to complete the MA must submit a 12,000 to 15,000 word dissertation by independent research (60 credits); no dissertation is required for the PGDip or PGCert. Part-time students undertake a supervised dissertation in the summer months of Year 2. Please note, as part-time students, you can extend your registration for an extra 3 months to submit your dissertations in December instead of September in Year 2 (you will be advised of the exact date during Year 2 on the course).

Those who do not successfully complete the MA may be considered for the Postgraduate Diploma.

Those who do not successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma may be considered for the Postgraduate Certificate.

The awards of the MA or Postgraduate Diploma are classified according to pass, merit or distinction. The Postgraduate Certificate is awarded unclassified.

Career opportunities

Successful graduates are able to progress within a wide variety of roles in both medical, legal and ethical fields. Graduates from previous years have, for example, proceeded to specialise in medico-legal practice and academic careers, and the degrees have enhanced the careers of healthcare professionals.

Students can also exit with PGDip awards.


The aims of the course unit are: To provide a detailed and advanced understanding of the law relating to the field of healthcare and its relationship to bioethics; To enable students to understand the impact of the law on patients, practitioners and society; To provide a sound base of knowledge and skills for students to apply in the remainder of the postgraduate programme; To develop students' capacity for critical analysis and logical thinking and to encourage independent learning and commitment to scholarship.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

MA applicants must hold a minimum Upper Second class honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. Those applicants who do not satisfy the entry requirements for direct entry onto our MA course may wish to be considered for entry onto the Postgraduate Diploma course. In exceptional circumstances candidates who do not have first degree, but who can demonstrate professional competence, may be admitted on the Postgraduate Diploma course. Transfer to the MA, if requested, will be considered based on marks obtained in the taught component, and is dependent upon the student reaching Master's level in the taught modules.