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Medical Ethics and Palliative Care (MA/PgDip)

Course Description


Major advances in medical technology, increased expectations, and changing moral attitudes have combined to generate many complex ethical and legal problems in the fields related to medical ethics and palliative care. Individuals who care for patients with life-threatening illnesses can face particularly pressing and difficult moral choices. The course provides an opportunity to gain a deeper and more systematic understanding of these issues, and to explore the moral problems health care professionals working in these areas may face.

Teaching is delivered in short intense blocks, enabling those in full-time employment to do the course part-time and fit it around the demands of their work wherever they are based. The course is taught in Liverpool by lecturers from Keele’s Centre for Professional Ethics (PEAK) and the Learning & Teaching Department of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute. From time to time, law lecturers from Keele University may provide specialist input, and external expert speakers may also be invited to speak on the course. This is an exciting joint venture uniting academic and practical expertise.

Students come from a wide range of backgrounds within the field of health care and many diverse geographical locations. Past and current students have reported that meeting and exchanging ideas with others who work in different fields and in different parts of the country is one of the major benefits of the course.

The Medical Ethics and Palliative Care teaching team have many years experience of teaching postgraduate applied ethics courses. We are aware of the special problems and challenges which may face mature students and those combining study with full-time work, and therefore we do our utmost to offer a supportive and stimulating environment for learning. Each student is assigned a personal supervisor from the teaching team, whom they can contact for help or advice at any time during the course.

Teaching staff also work at the forefront of research in medical ethics, which helps to give the course a contemporary edge. In the recent 2014 REF, staff from Keele's Healthcare Law and Bioethics cluster who teach on the MA were part of Keele's Philosophy submission, which was ranked first in the country for its Impact work. The impact submission was based on staff's work in the field of Biomedical ethics, with 80% of this work judged as being world-leading and the remaining 20% as being of internationally excellent.

See the website - https://www.keele.ac.uk/pgtcourses/medicalethicsandpalliativecare/

Course Content

The MA in Medical Ethics and Palliative Care involves both taught sessions and a chance for students to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing related to the course. Teaching occurs in four three-day modules that run between October and April. This innovative structure has proved particularly popular with health care professionals in full-time employment as it allows students to combine study with full-time work, family and other commitments. It also enables students who are based in all areas of the UK and beyond to attend. Contact between students and staff, and between students, is facilitated between modules to create a distinctive student community.

The MA requires the successful completion of 180 M Level credits, made up of four 30-credit taught modules and a 60-credit dissertation. It can be taken either full-time or part-time. When taken part-time the four taught modules are completed in the first year, with the dissertation being completed in the second year. When taking this route there are no specific attendance requirements during the second year apart from a one-day research skills workshop – you may meet your supervisor at mutually convenient times, keep in touch via email or phone, or use a combination of methods.

When taken full-time, the course is completed within one year with the dissertation being submitted at the start of September.

Some students may not want to do the whole course. An alternative route is to leave after completing the four taught modules. Successful completion of these will lead to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Ethics and Palliative Care.

Teaching & Assessment

Each teaching block is followed by an assignment. For module one this is made up of three short written tasks, whilst for each of modules 2, 3 and 4 the assignment consists of a 4,000-word essay. All modules must be passed in order to proceed to the dissertation.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.

Find information on Scholarships here - http://www.keele.ac.uk/studentfunding/bursariesscholarships/

Visit the Medical Ethics and Palliative Care (MA/PgDip) page on the Keele University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Gemma Lowe

"I feel the support I had from all of you and especially my supervisor in the second year really helped me through. I really enjoyed the course, I have climbed mountains in the past two years. I learnt a lot about myself and acquired so many new skills for the future. A big thank you to you all."

Gemma Lowe, Specialist Screening Practitioner (Graduated MA in Medical Ethics and Palliative Care 2014)


Entry Requirements

The course is open to all those with either a degree in a relevant subject, or appropriate professional qualifications and/or experience. Applications are welcome from people with a professional or other serious interest in medical ethics and palliative care, including (but not limited to) doctors, nurses, health care managers, intercalating medical students, radiographers, chaplains, charity and voluntary workers, social workers, hospice directors, medical and pharmaceutical researchers, and health care educators.

Course Fees

UK/EU: Full-time £4,550, Part-time £2,750; International: £13,260

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Recipient: Keele University

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