MA in Bioethics and Medical Law

St Mary's University, Twickenham

Program Description

MA in Bioethics and Medical Law

St Mary's University, Twickenham

MA in Bioethics and Medical Law

  • MA in Bioethics and Medical Law
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Bioethics and Medical Law
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Law

Start Month: September. One entry point only each year.

Mode of Study: Full-time, part-time. On site or distance learning. The programme is offered both part-time over three years and full-time over one year for the full MA, with possible options of a certificate (after one year part-time)and a diploma (after two years part-time).

Length of Course: 1 year full-time; 3 years part-time, as explained in previous section.

Everyday, it seems, some new medical ethical problem appears in the news: whether to do with resource allocation or withdrawing treatment, assisting suicide or human cloning. There is an obvious need for people, and especially for healthcare professionals and teachers, to be informed about these issues.

To address this need, St Mary's University has a well established Postgraduate Programme in Bioethics and Medical Law. The discipline of bioethics addresses ethical issues related to medicine, life sciences, and associated technologies as applied to human beings, taking into account their social, legal, environmental and spiritual dimensions.

The primary aim of the programme is to promote respect for human dignity and respect for the life of human beings through the provision of a thorough academic understanding of the major issues and competing schools of contemporary bioethics. The perspective of the course is strongly influenced by the Hippocratic Oath. This corresponds closely to the traditional stance of Judaism and Christianity on medical ethics.

Programme Content

The MA in Bioethics and Medical Law is offered both part-time (normally over three years) and full-time (over one year). In the onsite mode of delivery, teaching is conducted through evening seminars. This involves one seminar a week in the case of part-time students and two a week for full-time students. Both onsite and online students attend eight (full time) or four (part-time) Saturday day conferences and participate in online discussions.

The course has one entry point but three possible exit points. After successfully completing 60 credits worth of modules (at least 30 credits of which must be core) it is possible to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Law . After successfully completing 120 credits, it is possible to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioethics and Medical Law . The full Masters' in Bioethics and Medical Law is awarded on successful completion of 180 credits, that is six taught modules plus a 20,000-word dissertation of the requisite quality.

This structure has the great benefit of flexibility. It may be that a student initially intends to study for a Masters', but his or her circumstances change, making it impossible to complete the full quota of modules. Such a student may still be able to obtain a Certificate or a Diploma, and thus receive credit for the work he or she has done. Another student may wish to start with the Certificate before deciding whether to progress to the Diploma or the Masters'.


The programme starts in September but students may apply at any time of year. Applications must be received by Sept 3rd 2012 for 2012-13 at the latest.

To qualify for entry students normally are required to have a 2:1 degree from a UK university or equivalent in a relevant subject at honours level, or a professional qualification in teaching, medicine or law.

The course is also open to intercalating medical students without a first degree. Applications should be made on the usual form and will be evaluated on the personal statement and two referees from the sending medical school. Medical students often achieve either a merit or distinction on the course and gaining an MA during undergraduate studies certainly stands out in future job applications.

Students without this background may be admitted to the programme provided that they can satisfy the Programme Director that they have sufficient experience of academic study for Masters level, and that they have relevant prior learning experience. Such applicants will be required to produce evidence of having obtained a relevant diploma and provide a portfolio of relevant experience.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 1, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus or Online
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 - 3 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 3 years
Price Free