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Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence PhD

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Degree awarded
36 Months full time, 72 months part time
Entry requirements

A good (UK first class or upper second class honours) bachelor's degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline;


EITHER a master's degree in ethics, law, or a cognate discipline, at Merit level or the overseas equivalent

OR a suitable period (normally at least three years) of validated professional experience in a relevant field;

  1. a sample of written work demonstrating ability in the area of philosophical bioethics or medical law [2,000 - 5,000 words], and a brief outline of your proposed research topic [1-2 pages]
  2. A copy of your CV
  3. two academic references,
  4. official transcripts and certificates from your previous degree programmes,
  5. a 500-2,000 word provisional research proposal indicating the area you are interested in pursuing,
  6. and, for candidates for whom English is not their first language, a demonstrated proficiency in English, evidenced by an International Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 or equivalent, with a minimum writing score of 7, or equivalent. The certification must have been awarded in the two years prior to entry.

Applications are considered from September each year for admission the following September's intake.  As places are limited on this programme each year, applicants are advised to submit their application as soon as possible to give them the best chance of securing one of these places. Applicants who clearly fulfil the criteria but who cannot be offered a place will be asked whether they would like to wait for possible cancellations in the ongoing round and/or like to be considered again in a year's time. Selection will be made on the basis of academic merits and promise, and it can involve interviews and/or other types of preliminary on-site performance evaluation.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
Student numbers on this programme are restricted to 8 students per cohort and applications will be considered in the order that they are received.
How to apply

Apply online

Please note that there is one annual admission point in January to the PhD degree course in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence. The deadline to apply for September 2015 is  August 2015 at the very latest . However, we strongly advise that you apply as soon as possible in order to be guaranteed a place on the course.

Programme options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning

Programme description

National, regional, and local governments, organisations, and authorities are beginning to realise that they need highly trained people in healthcare ethics and law. This means that it is now a good time to aim for the highest academic qualifications in the field.

Traditional graduate studies for a research degree do not offer the ethical and legal knowledge or the comprehensive methodological training needed for cutting-edge research into bioethics and medical jurisprudence. A more structured approach is called for.

This programme is designed to provide a solid skills basis for independent research, and to guide participants steadily towards the completion of a structured doctoral thesis, which is based on publishable journal articles and book chapters. The programme itself is unique in its combination of taught elements, which are designed to ensure a genuine sense of community among the participants, and friendly but relentless supervision by world-class scholars in the field.

The topics and themes which are covered during the taught period and which are suitable for the students' postgraduate research include classical and contemporary issues like abortion, euthanasia, resource allocation in health care, public health activities, life-style regulation, assisted reproduction, gene therapy, genetic testing, human enhancements, cloning, stem cell research, the doctor-patient relationship, professional responsibility, and the legal and ethical status of living, dead, and unborn bodies; as well as central principles and doctrines like autonomy, rights, sanctity of life, justice, utility, self-determination, dignity, solidarity, precaution, self-governance, and the role of society and community in medicine and health care.  All of these are approached in a uniquely analytical and structured way, combining the methodological strengths of medical law and philosophical ethics.

This programme is offered by  The Centre for Social Ethics & Policy in The School of Law - one of the leading bioethics and medical jurisprudence institutes in the world, with two decades of experience in campus-based and distance-learning MA programmes, and a lively and productive research environment. 

Open days

November 2014

The School of Law will be represented at the Law Fair at Manchester Central in November 2014 if you wish to speak to us on the informal basis.



Self-funded graduates of the Manchester School of Law will receive a loyalty discount of 20% on their annual tuition fees when they register for the programme.

Various funding opportunities are available to students taking the 3 year PhD programme.   PLEASE NOTE that the next admission point in September 2015 to the PhD degree course in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence.   As well as submitting the relevant Scholarship application, PhD candidates must submit a complete PhD application by the 15 March PRECEDING the relevant September admission point in order to be considered in the appropriate cycle of Scholarship competitions.  Please see the School of Law funding pages for details or email

Contact details

Academic department
School of Law
Contact name
Mrs Amy Colasurdo
+44 (0)161 306 1279
+44 (0)161 275 4724

Academic department overview

See: About Us.

Related subject areas