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Bioethics & Society MA/ PG Dip / PG Cert

Course Description

Advances in biomedicine, neuroscience, and public health raise some of the most difficult ethical and societal questions today. The Bioethics & Society programme allows you to study these questions drawing on concepts, theories, and methods from philosophy and the social sciences. This will enable you to understand how bioethics influences the world, and how you could make an impact.

Key benefits

• The only U.K. programme to be based in a social science department: we do Bioethics AND Society, Bioethics IN Society, we are not confined to the ivory towers of academia!
• Covers a broad range of ethical issues in clinical practice, biomedical research, genetics & reproduction, health policy & public health, and neuroscience & mental health
• Offers rigorous training in qualitative or quantitative research methods and empirical ethics
• Provides skilled supervision to develop competence in executing a small-scale independent dissertation research project
• Provides internship opportunities to enhance students’ employability and career opportunities
• Collaborates with other departments at King’s to serve students’ individual needs and interests and create exciting career streams of optional modules
• Collaborates closely with King's College Careers & Employability Office to enhance the employability of our students with targeted sessions
• Possibility to complete a PG Diploma (coursework only) or PG Certificate (selected coursework)
• A rich programme of guest lectures and seminars within the Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine and the College, including the KCL / UCL Joint Bioethics Colloquium, and the SSHM Seminar Series, enhances students’ learning experience, and networking opportunities.
• The programme is offered as a 1-year full time / 2-year part-time Masters, 1-year PG Diploma (only course-work), and a 6-month PG Certificate (selected course-work).

Visit the website: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/bioethics-and-society-ma-pg-dip-pg-cert.aspx

Course detail

- Description -

With immediate access to King’s hospitals and laboratories, and close to government, health policy think-tanks, patient advocacy groups, medical and scientific societies, and the private health sector, we offer a unique ‘real-world’ approach to bioethics, allowing students to understand the social and political contexts in which bioethical controversies arise and proposed solutions are developed. In the course of their studies, students are equipped with essential knowledge and skills to make a contribution to resolving bioethical problems. In addition, internship opportunities enable students to gather practical insights and to build professional networks.

- Course format and assessment -

All modules are run as seminars, with a mixture of formal presentation by the instructor and active discussion among members of the seminar. Instructors are also available outside of seminars. Students will have personal guidance from a specific instructor during the dissertation phase. Assessment occurs through a mix of examinations, written work (formative and summative essays) and presentations.

Career prospects

Students who complete the Bioethics & Society programme to a high standard are expected to have numerous career paths open to them. For example, in government, national and international NGOs concerned with medicine and health, as ethics consultants in hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, and in think-tanks. Students can also continue on to a PhD in bioethics or social sciences. The programme also enhances existing careers in clinical practice, biomedical research, public health, or health policy. We collaborate closely with the Careers & Employability Office at King's College London to enhance the employability of our students, and we organise targeted Careers sessions with guest-speakers from relevant fields.

How to apply: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/taught-courses.aspx

About Postgraduate Study at King’s College London:

To study for a postgraduate degree at King’s College London is to study at the city’s most central university and at one of the top 20 universities worldwide (2015/16 QS World Rankings). Graduates will benefit from close connections with the UK’s professional, political, legal, commercial, scientific and cultural life, while the excellent reputation of our MA and MRes programmes ensures our postgraduate alumni are highly sought after by some of the world’s most prestigious employers. We provide graduates with skills that are highly valued in business, government, academia and the professions.

Scholarships & Funding:

All current PGT offer-holders and new PGT applicants are welcome to apply for the scholarships. For more information and to learn how to apply visit: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/funding/sources

Free language tuition with the Modern Language Centre:

If you are studying for any postgraduate taught degree at King’s you can take a module from a choice of over 25 languages without any additional cost. Visit: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/mlc

Visit the Bioethics & Society MA/ PG Dip / PG Cert page on the King’s College London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Salma Chalak

1660.jpg MSc Medicine, Science & Society

My previous higher education was in Biology. It became obvious to me as I was pursuing my education in that field that I didn’t enjoy laboratory work and I became gradually less interested in the ‘scientific side’ of scientific discoveries and more interested in their social fate after their scientific closure. I also became confident I didn’t want to pursue a career in biology but wanted, instead, to move to the social and ethical side of scientific inquiry because that is an area which appeals to me and interests me greatly.

I applied for the Medicine, Science and Society MSc programme at King’s College because its topic and focus fall perfectly in my area of interest and because it represented a great opportunity for me to further my knowledge in the field which will hopefully allow me to pursue a research career in it in the future.

My previous qualifications and experience in biological research have served me very well so far as we have been studying the effects and social, political and ethical implications of developments in a field I know and am familiar with its procedures, practices and concepts. I have also learnt a lot from the course. I have acquired new skills and perspectives I did not get previously while studying biology. I have learnt to be more critical of science and medicine and scientific evidence and to place them in their wider social and cultural contexts.

The course helped me understand the social limits of the seemingly limitless scientific discoveries and the potential impact of advancements in the medical and scientific field on society as a well as how such advancements and discoveries affect public policy and the perception of society to these fields. I am also learning how to conduct social science research and the different methods used. The teaching staff in the department are very helpful, supportive and approachable.

I recommend this course to anyone hoping to develop their skills in Social Sciences and to understand the relation of science and medicine with society and the potential impacts and effects they have on each other which professionals in the scientific field might tend to overlook.

(Student Profile)


4596.jpg After exploring the multiple interfaces between the humanities and medicine through side projects for two years, James decided to dedicate this year to studying the humanities as applied to medicine. One of his chief interests is studying the role of the humanities in medical education. 

(Student Profile)


4597.jpg Andrea is excited for the opportunity to develop her understanding of healthcare from the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology. After this programme, she intends to pursue a vocation as a physician where she can promote health and well-being.


Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine Bursaries - 6 Awards

One award for one student on each of the following three Masters programmes;MA in Bioethics & Society
MSc in Global Health & Social Justice
MSc Medicine, Science and Society
Two awards for students on the following Institute of Gerontology programmes, MA/MSc Ageing and Society
MSc Gerontology
MA Public Policy and Ageing

Value of Scholarship(s)



All students applying for any of our Full Time programmes to begin in September 2012 are eligible for these bursaries, including UK, EU and Overseas students.

Application Procedure

There is no separate application procedure. All fully completed applications received by midnight on the 31st July will be considered for the bursaries. A fully completed application means a complete online application form together with all supporting documents including personal statements, transcripts, references and IELTS certificates (where appropriate). These must have been uploaded to or received by the Postgraduate Admissions Portal by the due time and date. The successful candidate will be notified no later than 14th August.
You may also wish to consult our Graduate Funding Database for further funding opportunities.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A relevant UK honours degree of 2:1 standard or overseas equivalent. We may consider candidates with a 2:2 degree or with professional qualifications from a recognised institution if they can show relevant work experience and/or relevant professional qualifications, can demonstrate that they are highly motivated and have referees from their university or employment strongly supporting their admission. Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements: View Website

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Recipient: King’s College London

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