MSc Healthcare Ethics and Law (Intercalated) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

At The University of Manchester, we provide the highest quality of education in healthcare ethics and healthcare law.

This course complements your medical degree, giving you the opportunity to study the in-depth moral and legal issues that you will face as a medic or researcher.

While identifying the ethical and legally problematic aspects of practice, you will learn to formulate ethically acceptable solutions in challenging circumstances. 

On completion of the course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the principles of medical ethics and law, and will have developed a full conceptual toolkit that has been informed by both disciplines.


By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply the concepts you have learned to real-world situations, both familiar and unforeseen.
  • Identify the ethically and legally problematic aspects of practice; and be able to suggest ways to minimise, solve, or avoid those problems.
  • You will also, through the dissertation element of the course, have refined the ability to make and sustain a prolonged and sophisticated argument on a topic of interest.

Special features

Specially-structured course for medical students to widen their understanding ethical challenges featuring interactive lectures and prominent guest speakers.

Teaching and learning

Teaching will be mainly by interactive lecture. Each course unit will be taught in two-hour teaching blocks; these are run as a hybrid of traditional lecture and discussion. 

You will be encouraged to play an active role in these lectures. Additionally, you have the opportunity to attend weekly papers on current research and developments in the field given by either members of staff or a visiting speaker. 

During the course, you will be expected to complete six taught course units and a dissertation. All taught units are to be assessed by an essay of 4,000 words (for course units to the value of 15 credits) or assignments totalling 6,000 words (for course units to the value of 30 credits). 

The dissertation will be between 10,000-12,000 words. This dissertation will represent a major piece of independent research and you will be able to present your own papers to the rest of your cohort based on your dissertation as it progresses during semester two.

Coursework and assessment

All taught course units will be assessed by written coursework, which allows for extended argument and analysis. Some semester one units require two pieces of work; for these, the deadlines will be in November and January.

The deadline for semester one courses assessed by one piece of coursework, will be January. The semester two deadline will be in May/June. Assessment by coursework alone will allow for extended analysis and argument.

The dissertation will be submitted in August (just prior to resuming your medical studies).

Course unit details

You are required to sit six taught course units. Two of the assessed taught units are compulsory; the remaining four will be chosen from a range of optional units (although the range of available units will vary according to staff availability).

Optional units will have a value of 15 credits each. Subject to alteration, we would expect these to cover topics such as:

  • Global Health, Law, and Bioethics;
  • Children, Medicine and the Law;
  • Medicine, Law and Society;
  • Mental Health Law and Policy; 
  • Research Ethics;
  • Ethics and Genetics.

You will also be required to complete a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words on a topic of your choice. This gives you an opportunity to define and defend a precise and sophisticated position. It is not unknown for intercalating students to use their dissertations as the basis for papers that appear in international peer-reviewed journals.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation by Independent Research CSEP60012 60 Mandatory
Philosophical Bioethics CSEP60201 30 Mandatory
Research methods and methodologies for bioethics and law CSEP60022 15 Optional
Mental Health Law and Policy CSEP60102 15 Optional
Ethics & Genetics and Genomics CSEP60192 15 Optional
Medico-Legal Problems CSEP60211 30 Optional
Global Health Law and Bioethics CSEP60222 15 Optional
Research Ethics CSEP60312 15 Optional
Medicine, Law and Society CSEP60962 15 Optional

Scholarships and bursaries

There is a range of funding opportunities for students continuing their education with a taught postgraduate master's course.

To find out more please visit our master's funding opportunity search page .

What our students say

Meet some of our postgraduate students studying for a master's in International Law, Healthcare Ethics and Law and Financial Law in Student Spotlights .


At The University of Manchester Law School, you are supported by the first-class resources you would expect of a top law school. 

In addition to the networked study spaces at the Williamson Building, you can access The University of Manchester Library , which houses a substantial collection of law books and periodicals, as well as texts to support you.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: