Biomedical and Health Care Ethics

Study mode:Online Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 8.69 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 8.69 k / Year(s)  
160 place StudyQA ranking:4124 Duration:12 months You need IELTS certificate

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The MA in Biomedical and Health Care Ethics offers a rigorous grounding in health care ethics and biomedical ethics, provided by tutors from the Centre with expertise in teaching ethics in medical disciplines. Students learn about the ethical issues that arise across all areas of medicine and health care practice, and can specialise in areas of particular interest.

The Health Care Ethics Masters programme was established at the University of Leeds in 1991, and more than two hundred students have taken the course. On average, at least 15% of students achieve a distinction (the highest available classification for their degree) each year, and this is reflected in the wide range of careers that graduates have pursued.

The programme is also available by online distance learning.

The MA is also available as an Intercalated degree for students from Medicine and Dentistry.

The success of this MA was one of the reasons for establishing our Centre, and teaching on the course draws on our research expertise. Members of the teaching team have been involved in major research projects (including a £240,000 EU-funded project in biomedical ethics) and have produced a wide range of publications in ethics and medical ethics.

Course Structure To gain the MA students need to complete 180 credits. The course is made up of seven taught modules (6 x 15 credits, and 1 x 30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Part-time Programme

Most students study the course part-time over two years whilst continuing to develop their careers. In the first year you will study six core modules which provide grounding in the discipline and an introductory examination of a wide range of topics. In the second year there is also one further taught module. The second year is predominantly devoted to the writing of the dissertation. This allows you to examine in depth a subject of your own choice, under individual supervision.
At all stages you will have ready access to tutors for advice regarding your progress and the pacing of work so as to cope satisfactorily with the problems that crop up for students who are working and studying.

Full-time Programme

The course can also be completed on a full-time basis. As a full- time MA student you will study all seven taught modules and the dissertation within one academic year, generally commencing the dissertation study in the second part of the year.


Study For students studying on campus in Leeds teaching time is concentrated on one half-day per week to make it easier for you to fit your study around your work. Teaching takes place in the IDEA Centre, which is approximately 15 minutes walk from Leeds Railway Station.

Online Distance Learning

For students studying online, all teaching is delivered via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and is structured so that you can participate in group activities at a time that suits you.

Postgraduate Diploma

The postgraduate diploma is awarded for satisfactory completion of the seven taught modules (120 credits). It is University policy that students lacking a first degree are normally registered for the diploma in the first instance, with a view to upgrading to the masters programme where appropriate, and subject to satisfactory progress.

MA (by research), MPhil and PhD degrees

Applications are also welcomed from candidates wishing to undertake research in any aspect of biomedical and health care ethics, working towards the award of MA, MPhil or PhD.


The MA Biomedical and Health Care Ethics is aimed primarily at health care professionals, although it also attracts graduates from philosophy and associated disciplines.

The programme is particularly suitable as continuing professional development (CPD), and most of our students study part-time whilst working (the course can be taken on a full-time basis).

Participants have included hospital doctors (usually consultants or registrars), GPs, nurses in all specialties, lawyers and business people. Others have come from backgrounds in pharmacy, counselling, therapy work, community care services, health care administration, social work, chaplaincy work, psychology, teaching, and work with the handicapped. Others still have had experience sitting on research ethics committees. In addition, there have been a number of philosophy, biosciences and social sciences graduates. Students have come from India, Canada, Belgium and South Africa, as well as from the UK.

The course is designed for those coming to the study of ethics or medical ethics for the first time. Candidates should normally be graduates or holders of an equivalent qualification. Where a candidate is not a graduate, relevant professional experience is taken into account. The key attributes sought are a willingness and ability to think through problems in a reasoned and independent way. We also seek a very basic grasp of what philosophical ethics is, evidence of commitment to its study, writing skills, and evidence of any relevant experience of ethical issues arising in practice. While some students who come on the course have already studied philosophy formally, previous study of philosophy is not a requirement. Applicants for whom English is not their first language need to meet the University’s minimum requirements for English language proficiency. For full details of the University’s policy on English language requirements, including details of exemptions and a full list of acceptable qualifications, please see the University’s Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy. It is University policy that students lacking a first degree are normally registered for the postgraduate diploma in the first instance, with a view to upgrading to the masters programme where appropriate, and subject to satisfactory progress. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

To encourage and enable medical professionals to develop their expertise in ethics we are offering four bursaries of £1,000 to students on either the MA Biomedical and Health Care Ethics or the MA Biomedical and Health Care Ethics (Online). Two bursaries will be awarded per programme.


Current and former medical staff who apply to the Masters and Postgraduate Diploma degrees in Biomedical and Health Care Ethics (either online or campus-based) are eligible to apply. Preference may be given to clinical staff.
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