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Course content

This degree allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of professional ethics, and what they mean for practitioners in the biomedical and healthcare sectors.

You’ll learn about ethical issues in medicine and healthcare practice, but you’ll also be able to specialise in areas that interest you or suit your career aspirations. You’ll study topics such as ethical issues at the beginning and end of life, autonomy and psychiatry and fair allocation of medical resources.

We’re constantly developing the course and consulting with professionals working in the field, so our courses are informed by the most recent developments in practice. But you’ll be taught by active researchers with expertise in teaching ethics across medical disciplines, giving you the chance to engage with the latest academic arguments and debates.

If you don’t have a degree, you can apply for this programme and then upgrade to the MA if you progress successfully.

The programme is designed for people who’ve never studied ethics or medical ethics, although we do also have applicants who have studied philosophy before. If you’re interested in thinking about key ethical issues in a reasoned and independent way, you’ll be able to explore big questions in the biomedical and healthcare spheres with the support of the Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied Centre (IDEA).

This course is also available to study part-time and/or online.

Course content

This programme is similar to the MA Biomedical and Health Care Ethics, except that you don’t undertake a dissertation.

In Semester 1 you’ll develop your understanding of key concepts and approaches in the study of ethics, as well as how it applies to the biomedical and healthcare fields. You’ll study developments and debates in healthcare ethics and the ethical issues at the beginning and end of life.

You’ll build on this knowledge in the following semester and apply it to the professional context, considering issues like the carer/patient relationship, consent and the role of the conscience in professional practice. You’ll also explore questions surrounding the distribution of scarce medical resources and compulsion or coercion in cases of mental illness.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules each year and study over a longer period.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Reason, Virtues and Obligation 15 credits
  • Conscience, Codes and Professional Issues 15 credits
  • Autonomy, Rationality and Psychiatric Issues 15 credits
  • Distributive Justice and Scarce Medical Resources 15 credits
  • Current Developments in Health Care Ethics 30 credits
  • Ethical Issues at the Beginning of Life 15 credits
  • Ethical Issues at the End of Life 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics PGDip Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics PGDip Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Taught modules are structured around weekly group seminars led by one of our tutors. Overall, each taught module normally involves about four hours per week of contact time. In some modules you may also take part in group project work. However, independent study is also a vital element of this degree, allowing you to improve your research and analytical skills and gain more varied perspectives on key issues.


Essays are our most common form of assessment – usually of around 3,000 words. However, in some modules we may also use presentations or other methods to assess your progress.

Career opportunities

A postgraduate qualification in biomedical and healthcare ethics can improve your confidence in handling workplace decisions that have ethical implications. It will also allow you to improve your transferable skills such as research, analysis and oral and written communication.

Many of our graduates continue with their research, whether in academic appointments at universities, PhD studies or as researchers for other organisations such as the King’s Fund. Others have gone into healthcare management, joined research or clinical ethics committees or gone on to teach medical or healthcare ethics at medical schools part-time.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Visit the Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics PgDip page on the University of Leeds website for more details!




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