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MA/LLM in Bioethics and Medical Law

The MA/LLM in Bioethics and Medical Law is administered by the Law School but co-taught between PPR and Law.

This scheme is suitable for anyone interested in bioethics and medical law, including intercalating medical students and others with a first degree or relevant professional qualification and work experience. It is available to full time students (one year registration) or part-time students (two years registration).  This scheme introduces students to the fundamental analytic skills of moral philosophy and law, the principal ethical and legal issues arising within medical research and practice, and an appreciation of the major approaches – ethical and legal – to the resolution of the relevant problems. These include the regulation of artificial reproduction, life and death decision-making particularly in respect of seriously ill neonates and terminally ill patients, consenting to medical procedures and to clinical research, the appropriate use of genetics, and the fair distribution of health care resources.

The core modules are taught in four intensive 3-day blocks.  This structure allows students to combine study with full-time work, and family and other commitments, and makes the programme accessible to people living anywhere in the UK (or beyond the UK).  Attendance at Lancaster is required only for the teaching blocks but, between blocks, tutorial and web-based support is provided.  The blocks normally take place at the following times early/mid-October, early December, late January and just before Easter.  Please contact the School for further details.

In the first term, all students take two modules: Foundations of Bioethics and Foundations of Medical Law.  These modules provide an introduction to many of the fundamental concepts, methods and theories used in medical ethics and law.  In the second term, two further modules (Life and Death and Paternalism, Autonomy & Consent) offer an opportunity to study some of the major practical and policy issues in bioethics and medical law, such as abortion, advance decisions, assisted dying and euthanasia, consent, reproductive technologies, and withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatment.  In addition to these four compulsory modules, students take a fifth module from a long list of approved modules, or may take a self-directed study module (which may but need not be done through distance learning).  The self-directed study module allows students to undertake a piece of independent research (5,000 words) on a topic of interest to them, supervised by a member of staff.  All students will also write a dissertation of 20,000 words on a topic of their choice, supervised by a member of staff.

Summary of structure

(1) LLM101, compulsory, block teaching, start of Michaelmas, 20 credits
(2) PPR454, compulsory, block teaching, end of Michaelmas, 20 credits
(3) PPR456 compulsory, block teaching, start of Lent, 20 credits
(4) LLM102 compulsory, block teaching, end of Lent, 20 credits
(5) LLM233 or PPR531 or another approved module from the Faculty, 20 credits
(6) Dissertation, 80 credits

Timetable (full-time)


Block 1 (LLM 101 & PPR 454 - first half)


Block 2 (LLM 101 & PPR 454 - second half)

January (end of)

Block 3 (PPR 456), submit essays for LLM 101 & PPR 454. Start work on LLM 233 or PPR 531


Block 4 (LLM 102)

April (end of)

Submit essays for LLM 102, PPR 465, & LLM 233 or PPR 531

May - June

Supervised study towards dissertation

July - August

Writing up dissertation

September (start of)

Submit dissertation

Timetable (part-time)



Block 1 (LLM 101 & PPR 454 - first half)


Block 2 (LLM101 & PPR454 – second half)

January (end of)

Block 3 (PPR456), submit work for LLM101 & PPR454


Block 4 (LLM102)

April (end of)

Submit work for LLM102 & PPR456


Start work on LLM233 or PPR531

June (end of)

Submit work for LLM233 or PPR531

July - September



October - June

Supervised study towards dissertation

July - August

Writing up dissertation

September (start of)

Submit dissertation

The classification of the award as either an MA or LLM is dependent on the greater weighting (100 credits or more) in either the Law School (LLM) or PPR (MA).  

There is an earlier PG Diploma exit point available. To be awarded a Diploma, candidates need to have studied 6 taught modules and attained a Pass mark of 50 for each element.

Further details of all Law modules (LLM) can be found at: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/law/prospective/postgrad/llmcourses.htm#101

Further details of all PPR modules (MA) can be found at: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/ppr/postgraduate/masters/philosophy/degrees/ma_bioethics_medical_law.htm 


The programme invites applications from British and international graduates who hold at least an upper second class degree from an approved university in a relevant subject, or who have equivalent status.

Those with appropriate professional qualifications and/or experience are also strongly encouraged to apply (especially for part-time study), as the course is highly relevant to the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, healthcare managers, physiotherapists, radiographers, chaplains, and all other healthcare professionals.  Candidates who apply on the basis of professional qualifications and/or experience will normally be invited for interview prior to acceptance.

Intercalating medical students are also very welcome to apply.

For applicants for whom English is not a first language, the University requires either a British Council IELTS score of 6.5 or above, a TOEFL score of 580 or above, GCSE grade C or above, or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English grade C or above.

Law masters degrees FAQs http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/law/prospective/postgrad/docs/faq.pdf

For further details:
Please contact Eileen Jones (e.jones@lancaster.ac.uk)
Lancaster University
Law School


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