Individual and population health is a matter of growing social concern. Achieving good health and delivering effective healthcare demands innovation. A variety of fields have a role to play, including law.
This programme examines topics that reflect some of the main contemporary legal and ethical challenges faced by those working in medicine, and places them in their social and historical context.
These include issues that arise in the context of genetics, assisted reproduction, abortion, standards of medical treatment, transplantation medicine, mental health, advance decisions, assisted suicide, medical research, and the allocation of scarce resources.
We offer students the opportunity to study the fundamentals of medical law and ethics, both international and domestic, at an advanced level, and the opportunity to take more specialised courses on issues of contemporary significance, encouraging and supporting the development of research skills necessary for a career in medical law or ethics.
The legal and ethical experts who deliver this programme come from a wide range of disciplines from across the University, and they benefit from a close association with the J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law.
This programme offers a range of subjects that covers a broad spectrum of contemporary issues in medical law, jurisprudence and ethics, from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, allowing you to tailor a programme to suit your interests.
For 2017/18 the programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.
By the end of the programme, you will be able to:
identify areas of law relevant to contemporary issues in the broad healthcare setting
identify gaps, inconsistencies, or instances of inappropriate or over-regulation in healthcare and nascent fields
build on your understanding of key values in medical law and ethics, such as autonomy, solidarity, justice, reciprocity
build on your understanding of key mechanisms in medical law and ethics, such as consent, confidentiality, human rights, etc
appreciate the international dimensions of medicine and its regulation, including the growing importance of European regulation and international agreements
appreciate the limits of law in discerning appropriate social responses to new medical and technical advances
develop critical thinking informed by legal, ethical, and social science analysis, and apply that thinking to comment upon the law’s role and appropriate responses to contemporary issues
experience the benefits of undertaking study in different learning environments (both on-campus and online)
You will engage with different learning environments and modes of class participation, and will draw upon and develop a range of skills. The programme will foster imaginative ways of unpacking and responding to contemporary issues in ways that do not necessarily follow or merely apply existing paradigms or legal constructs.
You will demonstrate a sound grasp of the foundational elements of medical law and ethics, including the role of the law and its various mechanisms (eg: consent, confidentiality, reasonableness, negligence) and the cross-cutting human rights dimensions.
You will develop critical thinking informed by ethical analysis, and apply that thinking to comment on and critique the law’s role in regulating medicine, healthcare services, research, and nascent fields.
Other skills you will develop include:
general intellectual skills, such as independent critical analysis, interdisciplinary understandings of common problems, problem-solving through reasoned and well-justified ethical and legal discourse, synthesis of complex information and ability to subject to informed critique
personal skills, such as written and oral skills, group working and interaction skills, intellectual development through interdisciplinary engagement and blended learning environment
study-derived personal virtues, such as autonomy, critical self-reflection, consideration of others and academic integrity
This programme can lead to a range of employment opportunities and specialised academic work, including: specialised training for solicitor or advocate work with an emphasis on health related issues; professional care providers; ethics review panel members; health policy and/or patient advocates (e.g. NGOs); or health policy designers (e.g. governmental legal advisers, consultants, etc).