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.
This programme examines topics that reflect some of the main contemporary legal and ethical challenges faced by those working in medicine, and places 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 students 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 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.
The 120 credits of taught courses for 2017/18 are made up of the following mandatory and option courses.
Mandatory courses (100 credits)
20 credit courses in semester 1
20 credit courses in semester 2
*These programmes are co-requisite.
The remaining 20-credits can be taken from the list of Law School courses and courses offered by other Schools in the University of Edinburgh from the list below.
Courses from the School of Law
Courses from outside the School of Law
We cannot guarantee that all courses will run each year, and will provide adequate notice of any changes to the programme structure and courses.
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).
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.