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Healthcare Ethics and Law (Distance Learning) (LLM)

Course content

The LLM Healthcare Ethics and Law aims to provide the highest quality of training in health care ethics and health care law in a flexible and interdisciplinary way, catering to the practical needs of health care and legal professionals and those in related fields. 

You will gain an expert knowledge and understanding of bioethical 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 LLM Healthcare Ethics and Law aims to

  • provide the highest quality of training in healthcare ethics and health care law with an interdisciplinary approach;
  • provide an emphasis on the application of moral and legal theory to real world scenarios, thus catering to the practical needs of healthcare and legal professionals;
  • offer students the opportunity to gain a comprehensive knowledge and firm understanding of ethical and medico-legal theories;
  • offer students the opportunity to gain the skills needed to apply theory to real world scenarios in a diverse range of contexts;
  • develop ethical and medico legal knowledge and research skills for the writing of a Masters-level dissertation

Teaching and learning

You will be provided with a comprehensive set of course materials at the beginning of each course unit. These interactive specially designed materials provide an introduction to the issues and skills central to each unit and direct you to other study components such as further reading.

Each unit is supported by a virtual learning environment where you can access all course materials, online reading lists, podcasts, and the University's extensive online library. You are encouraged to use the VLE to discuss issues raised in the course materials with your course tutor and fellow students. Tutors are also available to provide one to one support by face to face meeting, telephone, skype and e-mail. In addition to this you will have access to a wide range of online resources to support your learning via the library website.

An optional study day is held each year giving you an opportunity to meet with tutors and colleagues on campus. All students studying by distance learning are welcome to attend the regular research seminars that take place on campus during term time.

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 7,000 words for the three 30 credit Core course units.

In addition, LL.M students must submit a supervised 12,000 to 15,000 word dissertation by independent research (60 credits).  As a part-time student, you will undertake a dissertation in the summer months of year two. Please note that you can also extend your registration for extra 3 months to submit a dissertation in December of your second year, instead of September (you will be advised of the exact date on the second year of the course).

Those students who do not achieve success in the LL.M may be considered for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma. The award of the LL.M is classified according to Pass/Merit/Distinction. 

Course unit details

Students will be required to complete 180 credits: 120 credits comprised of taught course units (each of 15 or 30 credits value), and an independent research element of the course worth 60 credits by way of a Masters dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. The dissertation should be predominantly law-based.

On the  distance learning  course students complete 60 credits of taught course units in the first year and 60 credits in the second year, together with the dissertation. Students must choose the two `law' options to qualify for the degree of LLM.

The Core course units for the  distance learning   course  are :

  • Philosophical Bioethics (30 credits)
  • Medico-Legal Problems (30 credits)
  • International Issues in Healthcare Ethics and Law (30 credits)

Students must choose optional course units to a total value of 30 credits from the following list:


  • Medicine, Law & Society (15 credits)
  • Mental Health Law & Policy (15 credits)


  • Research Ethics (15 credits)
  • Ethics & Genetics (15 credits)

Details of all current course units available in the School of Law can be found on the  Faculty of Humanities website .

Scholarships and bursaries

The School is offering a number of awards for students applying for masters study. To find out more please visit our  Master's funding opportunity search page .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Career opportunities

Successful graduates of the LLM are able to progress within a wide variety of roles in 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 health care professionals.

Visit the Healthcare Ethics and Law (Distance Learning) (LLM) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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