This degree allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of professional ethics, and what they mean for practitioners in the biomedical and healthcare sectors.
You'll learn about the ethical issues that arise across medicine and healthcare practice, but you'll also have the opportunity to specialise in areas that interest you or suit your career aspirations. You'll take modules on topics such as ethical issues at the beginning and end of life, autonomy and psychiatry, professional issues and allocating medical resources fairly, and focus on a topic of your choice to complete an independent dissertation.
We're constantly developing the course and consulting with professionals working in the field, so our courses are informed by the most recent developments in practice. But you'll be taught by active researchers with expertise in teaching ethics across medical disciplines, giving you the chance to engage with the latest academic arguments and debates.
The programme is designed for people who've never studied ethics or medical ethics, although we do also have applicants who have studied philosophy before. If you're interested in thinking about key ethical issues in a reasoned and independent way, you'll be able to explore big questions in the biomedical and healthcare spheres with the support of the Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied Centre (IDEA).
This course is also available to study part-time and/or online. You could also choose to study for a PGDip qualification, where you'll study fewer modules overall.
In Semester 1 you'll develop your understanding of key concepts and approaches in the study of ethics, as well as how it applies to the biomedical and healthcare fields. You'll study developments and debates in healthcare ethics and the ethical issues at the beginning and end of life.
You'll build on this knowledge in the following semester and apply it to the professional context, considering issues like the carer/patient relationship, consent and the role of the conscience in professional practice. You'll also explore questions surrounding the distribution of scarce medical resources and compulsion or coercion in cases of mental illness.
Throughout the programme you'll develop your understanding as well as advanced skills in research and analysis. You'll showcase this in your dissertation, when you focus on a specific topic of your choice, and submit your work before the end of the course in September.
If you choose to study part-time, you'll study over a longer period and take fewer modules each year. If you take the PGDip, you'll study fewer modules overall.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Reason, Virtues and Obligation 15 credits
- Conscience, Codes and Professional Issues 15 credits
- Autonomy, Rationality and Psychiatric Issues 15 credits
- Distributive Justice and Scarce Medical Resources 15 credits
- Current Developments in Health Care Ethics 30 credits
- Health Care Ethics: Dissertation 60 credits
- Ethical Issues at the Beginning of Life 15 credits
- Ethical Issues at the End of Life 15 credits
For more information on typical modules, read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MA Full Time in the course catalogue
For more information on typical modules, read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MA Part Time in the course catalogue
Learning and teaching
Taught modules are structured around weekly group seminars led by one of our tutors. Overall, each taught module normally involves about four hours per week of contact time. In some modules you may also take part in group project work. However, independent study is also a vital element of this degree, allowing you to improve your research and analytical skills and gain more varied perspectives on key issues.
Essays are our most common form of assessment - usually of around 3,000 words. However, in some modules we may also use presentations or other methods to assess your progress.
Applying, fees and funding
A bachelor degree. Professional experience may also be considered.
If you don't have a degree, we normally ask you to register for the PGDip programme. You can upgrade to the MA if you progress successfully.
We look for your willingness and ability to think clearly and independently, as well as good writing skills, a basic understanding of philosophical ethics and any relevant experiences of ethical issues in practice.
This course is also available as an intercalated programme to students who have completed three years of a UK medical degree (or international equivalent) and are normally ranked in the top 50% of their year of study.
Read more at Intercalation.
We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:
- don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
- want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.
Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).
How to apply
Documents and information you need:
Your degree certificate and transcripts of all relevant qualifications, or a partial transcript if you're still studying.
Two academic references.
Evidence of your English language test scores, if English is not your first language.
An essay of 1,000-1,500 words on a topic relevant to the programme - suggested topics available on our How to Apply page.
There is no formal deadline for applications. However, you should allow time to make arrangements to start your course, such as visa applications or moving to Leeds - and the application deadlines for many scholarships and bursaries will close much sooner. As a result we strongly encourage you to submit your completed application by July 31st of the year you plan to start the programme.
Next steps:All applicants to our courses will be interviewed. For students planning to study on campus, this will be face-to-face and take place at the IDEA Centre. Distance learning students can also be interviewed by phone, VOIP or Skype.
- Apply (Full time)
- Apply (Part time)
This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
University of Leeds Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy
UK/EU: £7,250 (total)
International: £17,500 (total)
Read more about paying fees and charges.
For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.
Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.
Additional cost information
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.
A postgraduate qualification in biomedical and healthcare ethics can improve your confidence in handling workplace decisions that have ethical implications. It will also allow you to improve your transferable skills such as research, analysis and oral and written communication.Many of our graduates continue with their research, whether in academic appointments at universities, PhD studies or as researchers for other organisations such as the King's Fund. Others have gone into healthcare management, joined research or clinical ethics committees or gone on to teach medical or healthcare ethics at medical schools part-time.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That's one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Related coursesApplied and Professional Ethics MA
Applied and Professional Ethics PGDip
Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics PGDip