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Advances in biomedicine, neuroscience, and public health raise some of the most difficult ethical and societal questions today. The Bioethics & Society programme allows you to study these questions drawing on concepts, theories, and methods from philosophy and the social sciences. This will enable you to understand how bioethics influences the world, and how you could make an impact.
Application status Open
Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Study mode Full-time, Part-time
Credit value 180 - 200
Course intake Contact for details: Dr Silvia Camporesi
Course leaders Dr Silvia Camporesi & Dr Annette Rid
Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Officetel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200
Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Officetel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200
Course contact form Postgraduate admissions enquiry form
Awarding institution King's College London
Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
Department Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine
Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.
A relevant UK honours degree of 2:1 standard or overseas equivalent. If an applicant possesses an undergraduate degree below 2:1 standard, subsequent postgraduate qualifications may be taken into account. Also desirable is evidence of active engagement in relevant activities and an attentive concern for the pressing ethical questions in contemporary medicine, bioscience and health policy, demonstrated by reading and otherwise following current national and international issues.
We may consider candidates with a lower second class degree or with professional qualifications from a recognised institution if they can show relevant work experience and/or relevant professional qualifications, can demonstrate that they are highly motivated and have referees from their university or employment strongly supporting their admission onto a masters level programme
Applications must be made online using King's online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £50 applies.
Your application will be assessed by the Admissions Tutor.
You will need to write a personal statement, upload two letters of reference, and your original transcripts. In your personal statement you should explain why you are interested in the MSc in Bioethics & Society and could include, for example, details of your motivation and your relevant knowledge, experience or skills. We look for candidates who demonstrate a strong interest in the programme and are committed to advanced interdisciplinary study at postgraduate level.
We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process.
Your personal statement should be approximately 800-1000 words . You should explain why you are interested in the MSc in Bioethics & Society and could include, for example, details of your motivation and your relevant knowledge, experience or skills. We look for candidates who demonstrate a strong interest in the programme and are committed to advanced interdisciplinary study at postgraduate level.
The deadline for applications for September 2017 entry is 31st March 2017. After this date, programmes will remain open if places are available, and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 30th July 2017 or from UK/ EU nationals after 3rd September 2017.
The programme is taught in the heart of London, with immediate access to King’s hospitals and laboratories, and close to government, health policy think-tanks, patient advocacy groups, medical and scientific societies, and the private health sector. We offer a unique ‘real-world’ approach to bioethics, allowing students to understand the social and political contexts in which bioethical controversies arise and proposed solutions are developed. In the course of their studies, students are equipped with essential knowledge and skills to make a contribution to resolving bioethical problems. In addition, internship opportunities enable students to gather practical insights and to build professional networks.
Lectures and seminars are taught by internationally recognized faculty who consult the World Health Organization, the Nuffield Council or Bioethics, and the U.K. Parliament Office of Science & Technology, among others. A rich programme of guest lectures and seminars within the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine and the college, including the KCL / UCL Joint Bioethics Colloquium, enhances students’ learning experience.
The programme is ideal for health professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline, policy makers and shapers, and anyone wishing to develop a more rigorous understanding of the ethical and societal issues in biomedicine, neuroscience, and health policy today. Our Masters degree lays the foundation for future careers; for example, in government, national and international NGOs, teaching, or research in bioethics or social sciences. The programme will also enhance existing careers in clinical practice, biomedical research, public health, and health policy.
All modules are run as seminars, with a mixture of formal presentation by the instructor and active discussion among members of the seminar. Instructors are also available outside of seminars. Students will have personal guidance from a specific instructor during the dissertation phase. Assessment occurs through a mix of examinations, written work (formative and summative essays) and presentations.
Core Modules (must be taken and passed)
7SSHM616 Critical Bioethics (30 credits, term 1): offers students a critical introduction to the theoretical frameworks used in contemporary bioethics and to a wide range of approaches from philosophy and the social sciences.
7SSHM602 Dissertation in Bioethics and Society (60 credits): offers students the opportunity to investigate in depth a bioethical topic of their choice by carrying out an independent, small-scale research project.
Compulsory Modules (must be taken)
7SSHM617 Empirical Bioethics (15 credits, term 2): uses a case-study based approach to enable students to understand how bioethical controversies and proposed solutions emerge in unique social, political and regulatory contexts.
7SSHM606 Global Health Ethics (15 credits, term 2): aims to introduce students to theoretical, conceptual and analytic work related to global health ethics.
7SSHM620 Foundations in Global Health and Social Medicine (30 credits, term 1): this module is designed to introduce students to the basic theories and concepts at the interface of social science, health & medicine. It is designed to create a mini-canon that all GHSM students will master before branching out into their respective programme-specific and specialist modules. It is a shared module with the MSc in Global Health & Social Justice and the MSc in Medicine, Science & Society.
One of EITHER 7SSHM502 Designing Quantitative Research for Social Science & Health, OR 7SSHM503 Designing Qualititative Research for Social Science & Health (Term 2, 15 credits) OR Critical Research Policy (15 credits, term 2)
Students can select 15 credits of optional modules from within the department or from other departments within King's College. Listed below are some of the modules offered within the department, a full list can be found here.
*Please note that not all modules may be running in a given year, please refer to the Department Module List for further information.
Critical Global Health - 7SSHM605
Designing Qualitative Research for Social Science, Health & Medicine - 7SSHM503
Designing Quantitative Research for Social Science, Health & Medicine - 7SSHM502
Pharmaceuticals & Society - 7SSHM612
Quantitative Data Analysis - 7SSHM504
Ageing in a Global Context - 7SSHM505
Researching Vulnerable Populations - 7SSHM506
Data Manipulation & Management - 7SSHM507
Politics of Health and Medicine - 7SSHM600
Population, Ageing & Policy - 7SSHM500
Critical Policy Research for Health & Medicine - 7SSHM618
Ethics at the End of Life - 7FFLG904
Topics in Medical Ethics I - 7FFLG905
Topics in Medical Ethics II - 7FFLG906
Students may opt to take an additional Internship module which will increase their total credits to 200 for the degree.
Students who complete the Bioethics & Society programme to a high standard are expected to have numerous career paths open to them. For example, in government, national and international NGOs concerned with medicine and health, as ethics consultants in hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, and in think-tanks. Students can also continue on to a PhD in bioethics or social sciences. The programme also enhances existing careers in clinical practice, biomedical research, public health, or health policy. We collaborate closely with the Careers & Employability Office at King's College London to enhance the employability of our students, and we organise targeted Careers sessions with guest-speakers from relevant fields.
"Aimee holds a Bachelor of Arts and Humanities Honours in Theology. She decided to undertake a Masters in Bioethics & Society because she is passionate about discussing the ethical questions surrounding society and medicine. Aimee hopes to continue with a PhD in the field."
Alex received her undergraduate degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from Doane College. She went on to get her Master of Science in Medical Genetics. After working in the Wisconsin public health system, she spent 6 years in California as a clinical cancer genetic counselor.
Andrea is excited for the opportunity to develop her understanding of healthcare from the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology. After this programme, she intends to pursue a vocation as a physician where she can promote health and well-being.
Andrew previously studied at the University of Massachusetts where he received his B.Sc. in Biology and Philosophy. His focuses in biology have been mostly evolution, behaviour, physiology, and histology. His philosophical training has been geared toward metaphysics and meta-ethics.
After exploring the multiple interfaces between the humanities and medicine through side projects for two years, James decided to dedicate this year to studying the humanities as applied to medicine. One of his chief interests is studying the role of the humanities in medical education.
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N/A (PGCert, 2017/18)*; N/A (PGDip, 2017/18)*; £9,450 p.a. (MA, 2017/18)*
N/A (PGCert, 2017/18)*; N/A (PGDip, 2017/18)*; £18,420 p.a. (MA, 2017/18)*
N/A (PGCert, 2017/18)*; N/A (PGDip, 2017/18)*; £4,725 p.a. (MA, 2017/18)*
N/A (PGCert, 2017/18)*; N/A (PGDip, 2017/18)*; £9,210 p.a. (MA, 2017/18)*
*These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.
Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.
When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.
The UK/EU deposit is £500.
The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000.
Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.
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