Individual and population health is a matter of growing social concern. Achieving good health and delivering effective healthcare demands innovation. A variety of fields have a role to play, including law.
As a student on this programme you will examine topics that reflect some of the main contemporary legal and ethical challenges faced by those working in medicine, and place them in their social and historical context. These include issues that arise in the context of genetics, assisted reproduction, abortion, standards of medical treatment, transplantation medicine, mental health, advance decisions, assisted suicide, medical research, and the allocation of scarce resources.
We offer you the opportunity to study the fundamentals of medical law and ethics, both international and domestic, at an advanced level, and the opportunity to take more specialised courses on issues of contemporary significance, encouraging and supporting the development of research skills necessary for a career in medical law or ethics.
The legal and ethical experts who deliver this programme come from a wide range of disciplines from across the University, and they benefit from a close association with the J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law.
This programme offers a range of subjects that covers a broad spectrum of contemporary issues in medical law, jurisprudence and ethics, from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, allowing you to tailor a programme to suit your interests.
For 2017/18 the programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a dissertation worth 60 credits.
We are currently in the process of confirming courses for the 2018/19 academic year.
By the end of the programme, you will be able to:
You will engage with different learning environments and modes of class participation, and will draw upon and develop a range of skills. The programme will foster imaginative ways of unpacking and responding to contemporary issues in ways that do not necessarily follow or merely apply existing paradigms or legal constructs.
You will demonstrate a sound grasp of the foundational elements of medical law and ethics, including the role of the law and its various mechanisms (eg: consent, confidentiality, reasonableness, negligence) and the cross-cutting human rights dimensions.
You will develop critical thinking informed by ethical analysis, and apply that thinking to comment on and critique the law’s role in regulating medicine, healthcare services, research, and nascent fields.
Other skills you will develop include:
This programme can lead to a range of employment opportunities and specialised academic work, including: specialised training for solicitor or advocate work with an emphasis on health related issues; professional care providers; ethics review panel members; health policy and/or patient advocates (e.g. NGOs); or health policy designers (e.g. governmental legal advisers, consultants, etc).
Study in depth the 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.
Examines in depth the legal questions raised by medical practice and science. The Medical Law pathway forms a part of the MA Medical Law & Ethics programme, which 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.
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 law and to examine selected areas of health care and medical practice from a further perspective of medical law.
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.
Our Medical Ethics & Law MA programme focuses on the ethical and legal questions raised by medical practice and science. These include debates about conflicts between mother and foetus, physician-assisted suicide, psychiatry, the allocation of scarce medical resources, the boundaries of the market in medicine and the law and ethics of medical research. The programme was established in 1978 and constitutes an important part of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
Our Medical Ethics & Law programme is designed for medical/legal professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline, those going on to research and for anyone wanting to think about some of the hardest human decisions.
You will study the ethical and legal questions raised in the context of medicine, which include genetics, assisted reproduction, abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, autism, psychiatric ethics and mental health law, medical research, organ donations and the allocation of scarce resources.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars.
Full time students have an average of 6 seminar hours per week. However, this will vary depending on which modules you choose to take and in which semester they are taught. Full time students are expected to spend 32-34 hours engaged in self-study per week.
Part time students have an average of 2-4 hours of seminars per week. They are expected to engage in 14-16 hours of self-study a week.
Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks (typically there is 1 reading week per semester), whereas self-study time is based on 31 academic weeks.
The total notional study hours for the MA are 1800 (10 hours per 1 credit). Notional study hours comprise formal teaching and learning activities, such as lectures and tutorials, as well as assessments and independent research and study.
Many modules are assessed by coursework, i.e. one essay, usually of a maximum of 3500 words. Some modules are assessed by one 2-hour exam.
Many alumni go on to work in policy-related positions, which include 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.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Medical Law and Ethics at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The Medical Law and Ethics masters degree provides an opportunity to examine the structure and operation of the legal system in England and Wales, to look critically at the real life impact of law on practice within the medical care system and to do this in the context of an understanding of the ethical problems that arise in health care.
Teaching and Employability:
- teaching takes place in 3 or 4 day blocks rather than weekly attendance
- the course is run by research active staff with significant experience of study and teaching in this area
The course provides a basis for critical reflection on the ethical value-judgements that are found in medicine with a particular focus on those issues relating to birth and death. It then looks at the operation of the legal system and in detail at the impact of legislation and the courts on the provision of medical care.
Students of Medical Law and Ethics will study on a part-time basis.
Part one modules are taught over two years, and dissertations must be submitted by 15th October of the third year.
Each module in part one involves attendance at a three or four day teaching conference followed by a one-day seminar approximately one month later.
The MA Medical Law and Ethics team are experts in their field. Please see a number of selected publications below:
- Richard Griffith & Cassam Tengnah, Law and Professional Issues in Nursing, Exeter: Learning Matters (2008)
- Hugh Upton, ‘Rationing: the loss of a concept’, Journal of Medical Ethics 37/7 (2011).
- Hugh Upton, ‘Presumed consent and organ donation’, Clinical Ethics 7/3 (2012)
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.
In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.