MA Medical Ethics and Law, established in 1978, examines in depth the legal and ethical questions raised by medical practice and science. The Medical Law only programme is a pathway under the MA Medical Ethics and Law. Students can decide at induction which programme they wish to pursue (ethics and law; or law only, with the option of taking one ethics module).
There are always developments in medical practice and science of great interest to medical ethics and law. Huge legal and ethical questions are raised by advances in fields such as genetics and assisted reproduction. In a changing moral climate, debates about conflicts between a pregnant woman and her fetus, or about physician-assisted suicide, are very much alive. There are challenging ethical and legal questions about psychiatry, about capacity issues in relation to treatment decisions, about the allocation of scarce medical resources, about autonomy and public health, and many other issues.
These courses are designed for medical or legal professionals, graduates of a relevant discipline and those embarking on further research in this area. You will study the methods of reasoning and analysis in law and ethics (if doing the joint programme, or mainly law if doing the medical law programme) and examine selected areas of health care and medical practice from a medical law and ethics perspective.
You will largely be taught through seminar-style teaching in sessions of two hours per module per week.
Full time students have an average of 6 seminar hours per week. However, this will vary depending on which modules you choose to take and in which semester they are taught. Full time students are expected to spend 32-34 hours engaged in self-study per week.
Part time students have an average of 2-4 hours of seminars per week. They are expected to engage in 14-16 hours of self-study a week.
Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks (typically there is 1 reading week per semester), whereas self-study time is based on 31 academic weeks.
The total notional study hours for the MA are 1800 (10 hours per 1 credit). Notional study hours comprise formal teaching and learning activities, such as lectures and tutorials, as well as assessments and independent research and study.
Many modules are assessed by coursework. Some modules are assessed by exam. The dissertation can range in length from 12,000 to 15,000 words.