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Course content

The MA Healthcare Ethics and Law course aims to provide you with the highest quality of training in health care ethics and health care law in a flexible and interdisciplinary way, thus catering to the practical needs of healthcare and legal professionals and those in related field.

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.

Teaching and learning

You are 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 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 telephone, skype, e-mail and face to face meetings. 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 tutors and colleagues face to face on campus. Students studying by distance learning are welcome to attend the regular research seminars that take place on campus during term time.

Coursework and assessment

At the end of each of the course units for our distance learning courses, you are required to submit an essay of 4,000 words (for course units to the value of 15 credits) or 7,000 words (for course units to the value of 30 credits). In addition, MA 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 MA may be considered for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma. The award of the MA 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 the independent research element (dissertation) worth 60 credits. 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 a dissertation of between 12000 -15,000 words, which is undertaken over the summer months in year 2.

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:

  • Law-based Medicine, Law & Society (15 credits)Mental Health Law & Policy (15 credits)
  • Ethics-based Research Ethics (15 credits)Ethics Genetics and Genomics (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 MA are able to progress within a wide variety of roles in both 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) (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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