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Medical Ethics & Law MA

Course Description

The MA Medical Ethics & Law programme at King's College London examines in depth the ethical and legal questions raised by medical practice and science. The programme was founded in 1978, and is an important part of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, the first of its kind in the UK.

This is a time of great interest in medical ethics and law. Huge questions are raised by advances in fields such as genetics and assisted reproduction. In a changing moral climate, debates about conflicts between mother and fetus, or about physician-assisted suicide, are very much alive. There are challenging questions about psychiatry, about the allocation of scarce medical resources, about the boundaries of the market in medicine, and about the law and ethics of medical research. The programme aims to study the methods of reasoning and analysis in ethics and law, and to examine selected areas of health care and medical pratice from these perspectives. It also seeks to further the understanding of those whose work brings them into contact with medical ethics and law and those who wish to embark on further study and research.

Key benefits

- In-depth philosophical analysis and the most up-to-date legal scholarship applied to a very wide range of medical issues.

- The programmme discusses controversial issues such as euthanasia and abortion with a balanced approach.

- Supported by the UK's first centre of Medical Law and Ethics and its distinguished team of academic staff members, teaching is conducted in small seminar groups of less than 30 to encourage active student participation.

- Applicants with a particular focus on medical law may want to consider the Medical Law pathway as part of the MA Medical Ethics & Law programme.

Visit the website: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/medical-ethics-and-law-ma.aspx

Course detail

- Description -

Study in depth the ethical and legal questions raised in the context of medicine including genetics; assisted reproduction; abortion; assisted suicide and euthanasia; advance decisions; autism; psychiatric ethics and mental health law; medical research; organ donations and the allocation of scarce resources.

- Course purpose -

For medical/legal professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline, those going on to research and for anyone wanting to think about and discuss some of the hardest human decisions. To study the methods of reasoning and analysis in ethics and law; to examine selected areas of health care and medical practice from a further perspective of medical ethics and law; to assist those involved in teaching or intending to teach in these areas.

- Course format and assessment -

Full-time students are required to complete the programme over one academic year and to write the examinations for each module in January or May of that year. Coursework will be required for some modules and Dissertations are due by late August the same year. Part-time students are required to complete the programme over two academic years, with Dissertations due by late August of the second/final year of study.

Career prospects

Enhancement of existing career; more specialised area of law; personal development. Many alumni go on to work in policy-related positions including positions at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Tissue Authority, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Department of Health. We also have a number of alumni who have worked or are working in the BMA Ethics Department, for the GMC, Progress Educational Trust, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the King's Fund, and medical defence societies. A number of alumni are teaching ethics and/or law in medical schools. Students who go on to doctoral-level study also find academic positions in law schools and research centres.

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 Medical Ethics & Law MA page on the King’s College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Dr Sharm Rajenthran

997.jpg As a Londoner, King’s College London was top of my list for degree choices based on its reputation for teaching excellence and optimal location. However, what has justified my decision many times over is that my time spent as a student at the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics has proved to be one of the most rewarding academic pursuits of my career.

In common with many medics, as a psychiatrist I was looking for a forum to examine ethical and medico-legal aspects of patient care which can often get lost in the pressures of a busy workday. While the MA has provided for my personal interest in mental health, its excellent curriculum is impressively broad in its scope and has never failed to be stimulating. I am sure I was not alone in thinking this given the passionate debate amongst my classmates who come from diverse backgrounds in law, philosophy and health care. However what sets the CMLE aside is the opportunity to be taught by academics who are leaders in their fields and are involved in informing and shaping policy in the UK. Yet, they are also gifted teachers who are always approachable and enthusiastic and never short of a good idea for your assignments.

(Student Profile)

Yan Yan Leung

998.jpg King’s was my first choice for graduate study in terms of its offerings for my field, the quality of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics (CMLE), and its location. If given the chance to choose again, I would make the same choice with even greater confidence. Not only did King’s deliver on my expectations, but I was further impressed by the quality of the community of staff, faculty and my fellow students.

What was clear from the start was that the administrative staff and faculty at the CMLE all genuinely care about their students, and are willing to offer assistance and answer questions with patience, kindness and honesty. Not only are our lecturers lead researchers in their field, they are also excellent teachers, demonstrating that they were as committed to their students as they were to their own research and work outside of the classroom. Moreover, I could not have asked for a better group of fellow students. Our classroom discussions were enriched by their varied professional backgrounds and personal experiences. I found myself constantly humbled and motivated by the fact that it was like learning in a classroom of teachers, not students.


Entry Requirements

The basic entry requirements are a recognised first degree of at least upper second class honours (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant discipline, eg law, medicine, philosophy, theology, social science, one of the life sciences, dentistry or nursing studies. Evidence of achievement of an academic level comparable to at least upper second class honours standard through past studies and where previous study, work or experience has made the applicant a suitable candidate, will also be considered. Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements: View Website

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