Our Medical Ethics & Law MA programme focuses on the ethical and legal questions raised by medical practice and science. These include debates about conflicts between mother and foetus, physician-assisted suicide, psychiatry, the allocation of scarce medical resources, the boundaries of the market in medicine and the law and ethics of medical research. The programme was established in 1978 and constitutes an important part of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
Our Medical Ethics & Law programme is designed for medical/legal professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline, those going on to research and for anyone wanting to think about some of the hardest human decisions.
You will study the ethical and legal questions raised in the context of medicine, which include genetics, assisted reproduction, abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, autism, psychiatric ethics and mental health law, medical research, organ donations and the allocation of scarce resources.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars.
Full time students have an average of 6 seminar hours per week. However, this will vary depending on which modules you choose to take and in which semester they are taught. Full time students are expected to spend 32-34 hours engaged in self-study per week.
Part time students have an average of 2-4 hours of seminars per week. They are expected to engage in 14-16 hours of self-study a week.
Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks (typically there is 1 reading week per semester), whereas self-study time is based on 31 academic weeks.
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, i.e. one essay, usually of a maximum of 3500 words. Some modules are assessed by one 2-hour exam.
Many alumni go on to work in policy-related positions, which include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Tissue Authority, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Department of Health. We also have a number of alumni who have worked or are working in the BMA Ethics Department, for the GMC, Progress Educational Trust, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the King's Fund, and medical defence societies. A number of alumni are teaching ethics and/or law in medical schools. Students who go on to doctoral-level study also find academic positions in law schools and research centres.