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Bioethics & Society MSc

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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 course allows you to study these questions through a unique interdisciplinary approach drawing on concepts, theories, and methods from philosophy and the social sciences, in a global health context. This will enable you to understand how bioethics influences the world, and how you can make an impact in the world.

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Key benefits

  • The only UK course based in a social science department, faculty of social sciences and public policy.
  • Taught at King’s College London, ranked joint 31st in the World (QS World University Rankings 2021)
  • Taught in the heart of London, at King’s College Strand Campus
  • Offers a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach to bioethics that draws from key concepts, theories, methods and findings from philosophy and the social sciences and science and technology studies.
  • Lectures and seminars are given by internationally recognized faculty who consult for the World Health Organization, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and the U.K. Parliament Office of Science & Technology, among others
  • Collaborates with other departments at King’s to serve students’ individual needs and interests and create exciting career streams of optional modules
  • Offers a rigorous methods training in qualitative and quantitative research methods and critical policy research
  • Provides skilled supervision to develop competence in executing a small-scale independent dissertation research project
  • Offers a rich programme of guest lectures and seminars, including the Biotechnology and Society research seminar,  the Culture Medicine and Power conversations, the Mental Health & Society reading group, and the GHSM Seminar Series 
  • Offers individualised career support to build a strong CV, helping students to identify opportunities to present their work, do internships, and secure funding
  • Collaborates closely with King’s College Careers & Employability Office to enhance the employability of our students with targeted sessions
  • Offers an entry level onto PhD in Bioethics & Society at King’s College London 

Key information

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 and Dr Gry Wester

Course leaders Dr Silvia Camporesi & Dr Gry Wester 

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2979
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200


Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of Global Health & Social Medicine



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Bioethics & Society MSc

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Course detail


The course is taught in the heart of London 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.

Course format and assessment


We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment.

The following table will give you an idea of what a typical academic workload might look like as you progress through your studies:

 Year or moduleLectures, seminars and feedback  Self-study (hours)
 Per 15-credit module  15 hours (usually 1.5 hours of lectures/ seminars per week over a 10 week term, but some may also be offered intensively)  135
 Dissertation module  6 half-hour supervisory sessions and 8 x 2 hour workshops  581

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


The department assesses students on a combination of essays, written examinations (open book), oral presentations and the dissertation. The nature of assessment varies by module.

Regulating Body 

King's College London is regulated by the Office for Students.

Extra information

For more information contact the Admissions' Tutors, Dr Silvia Camporesi: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/about/people or Dr Gry Westerhttps://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/about/people


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules, and students on this course take modules totalling 180-200 credits.

King's College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant courses of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.


Required Modules

You are required to take the following modules:

You are also required to take one of the following modules:

Optional Modules
In addition, you are required to take 45-75 credits from a range of optional modules. It is strongly suggested you take at least one 15 credit ethics module. Optional modules may typically include:

Please note that module availability may vary on a given year due to staff availability. Contact your programme director for more information. 

Part-time students will be expected to take Critical Bioethics, one research methods module and one optional module in year 1, with the remaining required and optional modules taken in year 2. Part time students attend the dissertation workshops and submit a dissertation proposal in Year 1 with the dissertation being submitted at the end of Year 2.  

Entry requirements & how to apply

Bioethics & Society Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements   2:1

A relevant UK honours degree of 2:1 standard. 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.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. 

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.

International requirements    Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements  Band B  Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements. 


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

Your application will be assessed by the Admissions Tutor.

You will need to write a personal statement, provide contact details of one academic reference (or a professional reference if you have been out of education for more than 5 years), 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.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). 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.

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
 Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021

Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.


Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £23,460 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: £5,250 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,730 per year (2021/22)

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


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 deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • books if you choose to buy your own copies 

  • library fees and fines 

  • personal photocopies 

  • printing course handbooks if you choose to print your handbooks (all the reading material can be accessed through KEATS, King’s online learning system) 

  • society membership fees e.g. Institute of Medical Ethics 

  • stationery 

  • travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

  • graduation costs

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Graduates from this course have gone onto the following destinations:
  • Policy consultation (e.g. Nuffield Council on Bioethics, King’s Fund, UK Biobank Ethics & Governance Council)
  • National and international NGOs (e.g. disease charities such as Cancer Research UK or British Lung Foundation, Council on Health Research and Development, Gates Foundation)
  • Government (e.g. Department of Health, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Health Research Authority, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology) 
  • Hospitals (e.g. clinical ethicist) 
  • Private sector e.g. Pharmaceutical companies
  • Leadership positions in health care (for trained professionals)
  • Academic work in bioethics or sociology (e.g. our PhD programme in Social Science, Health & Medicine)

You can access a list of career pathways of our Bioethics & Society alumni here: 


Career destinations

Students who complete the Bioethics & Society course 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.



Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

Next steps

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