LLM Healthcare Ethics and Law / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Research Ethics

Unit code CSEP60312
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Law
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit presents, and encourages students to engage with, key moral debates relating to the acquisition and use of human-derived research data. Case studies will be used to illustrate particular problems, dilemmas, and points of controversy; but attention will also be paid to how the current research ethics environment and standards came about, and what should be done with dodgy data that is, data that are morally problematic, but which might potentially be useful.

The course iwll cover the following topics:

  1. History of  Research Ethics
  2. The Current Research Ethics Framework
  3. Research Ethics Committees
  4. Medical Research and the Law
  5. Ethical Implication of Clinical Research Designs
  6. Medical Research: Vulnerable Participants
  7. Research Ethics in Developing Countries
  8. HIV Research and Informed Consent
  9. Using Unethical Data - the Nazi Experiments
  10. Research Ethics outside the Health Care Field


The unit aims to provide a thorough grounding in the ethical debates arising from research particularly empirical research involving humans  and the use of research data.
The module interprets the word research widely, it will primarily consider research in the biosciences, but will also discuss the social sciences.
By the end of the course unit, successful students will have developed a critical appreciation and understanding of the ethical issues raised by research, both others and their own, and will have the ability to make meaningful contributions to debates surrounding the acquisition, storage, and use of data.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught by blended learning. Students will have access to the DL materials for the research ethics course, and there will be 5 seminars during the semester to support learning.

Course Materials and Handouts will be available via Blackboard

Knowledge and understanding

Students will have a good understanding of key moral debates and problems relating to research on human subjects 

Students will understand the research ethics system in the UK and the main principle of research ethics as they apply worldwide

Intellectual skills

Students will be able to analyse critically and make use of moral arguments.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Critical thinking, and the ability to define a clear moral position and construct a coherent and persuasive argument in its defence.

Assessment methods

One piece of assessed coursework (an essay) of no more than 4,000 words.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Soren Holm Unit coordinator

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