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Mental Health, Ethics and Law MSc

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Our Mental Health, Ethics and Law MSc course is delivered by two internationally recognised centres of excellence and provides an integrated, strongly interdisciplinary, education in mental health, ethics and law. It equips graduates to become leaders in healthcare, mental health law or policy.

You will have the unique opportunity to study alongside others from a wide range of academic and professional disciplines at the heart of London’s legal and psychiatric world.

Key benefits

  • In-depth and integrated clinical, philosophical and legal analysis of key issues presented in the field of mental health.
  • Supported by the UK’s first Centre of Medical Law and Ethics and Europe’s largest centre for research and teaching in psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience: the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
  • The centres are located in central London and maintain close links with national and international policy makers and leading legal, ethical and clinical practitioner communities.       

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course leaders

Dr Jillian Craigie, Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, King’s College London Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000

Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience The Dickson Poon School of Law



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Course detail


We have developed a strongly interdisciplinary course designed to investigate the interface between mental health, law and ethics at a theoretical level and to engage directly with the dilemmas and experience of illness encountered in practice. The course will expand your understanding both within and beyond your own disciplines, and will provide you with the skills necessary to analyse and critique current law, practice and policy in relation to mental health.

Our course is for anyone concerned with mental health who wishes to study the clinical, ethical and legal thinking behind current law, policy and clinical practice. It has been designed for health professionals, lawyers, policy makers and all those with a relevant first degree who are keen to consider the difficult questions raised by mental health and society’s response.

Further literature

Course format and assessment

You will be taught mostly through lectures and seminar-style teaching. 

The following information will give you an idea of what a typical academic week might look like.

Full time

There will be 6-8 hours per week of lectures, seminars and feedback. Students are expected to spend 32-34 hours per week engaged in self-study.

Part time

There will be 4-6 hours per week of lectures, seminars and feedback. Students are expected to spend 14-16 hours per week engaged in self-study.

Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks (1 reading week per semester may apply depending on module choices), whereas self-study time is based on 31 academic weeks.

The total notional study hours for the MSc are 1800 (typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work).  Notional study hours comprise formal teaching and learning activities, such as lectures and tutorials, as well as assessments and independent research and study.


You will be assessed through a combination of examinations and coursework.

About half of the modules offered will be assessed by a two- or three-hour exam. The other modules are assessed through coursework. In addition to coursework and exams, a percentage of your final mark may be based on assignments (such as presentations or reaction papers) given in-class.

The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.

Regulating Body

King's College is regulated by the HIgher Education Funding Council for England.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits; however, 190 credits can be taken.

Full-time students will take all of these credits in one year. 

Part-time students can choose how many credits to take in each of their two years. It is recommended, but not required, that part-time students take at least some of the 20 credit required modules in their first year. The dissertation must be taken in the second year of part-time study.

Required Modules
You are required to take the following modules:
Optional Modules

You will choose 60-70 credits from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

  • Pro-social & Anti-social Behaviour across the Lifespan (30 or 15 credits)
  • Specialist Forensic Services: Assessment, Treatment & Development (30 or 15 credits)
  • The Concept of Mental Disorder (20 credits)
  • Narrative and Medicine (20 credits)
  • Global Health Ethics (30 credits)
  • Ageing in a Global Context (15 credits)
  • Principles of Psychiatric Research & Psychiatric Epidemiology (30 credits)
  • Moral Theory & Medical Ethics (20 credits)
  • Topics in Medical Ethics I & II (20 credits each) made up of two five-week blocks; if you decide to take Topics in Medical Ethics I & II, you would study four five-week blocks; subjects offered may include:
    • Justice and Resource Allocation
    • Autonomy and Public Health

    • Reproductive Ethics

    • Human Rights and Health 

  • Topics in Medical Law I & II (20 credits each) made up of two five-week blocks; if you decide to take Topics in Medical Law I & II, you would study four five-week blocks; subjects offered may include:

    •  Coroners & Inquests 

    • Law at the End of Life 

    • Abortion and the Law

    • Assisted Reproductive Technologies

    • Clinical Negligence

  • Medical Law 1: Consent, Refusal & Request (20 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. For the most accurate information at any time, please email the Programme Director, Professor Rosamund Scott: rosamund.scott@kcl.ac.uk

Entry requirements & how to apply

Mental Health, Ethics and Law Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1 We expect a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. law, medicine, philosophy, psychology, theology, social science, one of the life sciences, or nursing studies). 


A qualification appropriate to the programme in medicine; or a professional mental health qualification.

Alternative qualifications: Evidence of achievement of an academic level comparable to at least 2:1 standard through past studies and where previous study, work or experience has made the applicant a suitable candidate will also be considered.

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.

Personal statement and supporting information

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

Mental Health, Ethics and Law checklist
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). Your persona statement should outline your academic background, reasons for taking the programme and what you hope to gain from it, including any relevant strengths, ambitions or research interests. 

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.
Other Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your 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.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Binding costs
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

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.


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

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