Medical Law and Ethics LLM

Postgraduate (2 years part-time)



Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Teaching times


Semester 1: Monday - Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00 in 1 week. Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00 in 2 weeks.
Semester 2: Monday - Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00 in 1 week. Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00 in 2 weeks.


Study the ethical and legal issues that arise in medical and healthcare practice, and produce a significant piece of independent research work in your Major Project.

Full description


If you’re working in the medical or healthcare fields and want to move into a more senior position, our course will help to enhance your CV. By developing specialist academic expertise in the field of medical law you’ll broaden your knowledge and understanding of the legal and ethical context in which you work.

Our course will also provide a sound basis for continuing your studies at PhD level, particularly if you have a law degree.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Applied Ethics in the Medical and Healthcare Context
    On this introductory module, you will look at a number of different moral theories and ethical concepts and gain a range of analytical tools with which to assess different ethical claims. You will consider how we as professionals understand concepts of values, and look at the relationship between law and morality and the nature of moral and legal rights. You will also undertake critical analyses of theories of ethics, gaining a critical awareness of the theories and principles in health care ethics that you will apply in a systematic and creative way to various contemporary issues facing the health and medical professions. You will be assessed through an essay that critically explores moral theory and ethical concepts in relation to a health care practice.
  • Medical and Healthcare Law
    With the public being far more aware of their rights than ever before, the threat of litigation is constant, and there is a pressing need for practitioners to become familiar with both the legal and ethical principles involved. On this module, you will explore the fundamental principles that underpin the relationship between health professional and patient. You will undertake critical analyses of issues such as patient confidentiality, consent to medical treatment (adults and children), the concept of mental capacity, and the accountability of the health professional. You will also consider the impact of human rights law. Your assessment will consist of an essay that critically examines the legal and ethical concepts in relation to health care in practice.
  • Research Studies
    This module will give you a critical overview of the main methodologies and designs applied to research within health, social work and social care, professional practice and policy. It will give you the opportunity to explore the theoretical dilemmas that underlie the process of inquiry and its relationship to practice. All professionals need to be highly skilled and knowledgeable to meet the demands of complex activity that underpins much professional practice, and to demonstrate that research directly informs practice. You will discover a framework within which to select, evaluate and justify the research methods chosen for your research project. You will need to prepare and write a research proposal, which will normally lead to a level 7 dissertation, so you will need prior knowledge of some research approaches at level 6. This module is taken by students on a variety of MA/MSc/MCh courses, so your learning will usually be undertaken with a group of students who bring different academic and/or professional interests to their study, creating a community of collaborative working well suited to interdisciplinary exploration.

Year two, core modules

  • Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Year two, optional modules

  • Integrated Governance and Compliance Frameworks in Healthcare Communities
    The focus of recent high profile reports on quality of care and the culture in NHS organisations indicate that we need a deeper understanding about how to develop and promote high standards of care that safeguard the public and staff. On this module you will engage with and explore clinical governance and safeguarding concepts, learning the necessary skills to develop and lead in the promotion of high standards of care and governance. Taking into account changes in organisational structures that have had an impact on those working in the health professions, system power and patient expectation, you will develop an informed understanding the many factors that contribute to the delivery of safe and high standards of care. Your assessment will comprise written coursework.
  • Legal and Ethical Issues Throughout Life
    On this module you will explore the relationship between legal, medicine and ethical concepts, and the often conflicting issues that underlie it, from the beginning of life through to its end. You will also look at some of the most controversial areas on the medico-legal agenda, such as assisted reproduction and surrogacy; the legal and moral issues surrounding abortion; organ transplantation; end of life decisions, including withholding and withdrawal of treatment from neo-nates and infants, and euthanasia. You will take into account recent developments in the relevant area of law and, throughout the module, assess the impact of human rights legislation. You will be encouraged to contribute to in-depth critical discussion on the areas covered, and assess the importance of both legal and ethical principles and their application to everyday clinical decisions. Your assessment will comprise written coursework.
  • Medical Law and Ethics in the Care of Older People
    This module will build on the principles set out in the first year modules to show how the needs and entitlements of older people bring additional considerations and obligations to bear on legal and ethical approaches to health care. You will gain greater awareness of the impact of an ageing population on the health care profession, with people aged over 65 accounting for about half of all NHS resources. While a number of providers are establishing specific units for the health care of older people, and care homes manage increasingly complex health needs associated with old age, barriers to accessing health care provision still persist. You will look at specific problems that can arise for some older people, including those suffering from dementia, around consent to treatment, the type and extent of treatment, and the need to balance the individual older person’s agency rights with their welfare requirements. In a professional context, you will often be tasked with determining an appropriate response to competing needs, where risk and other factors are multiple and complex. The assessment for the module will consist of applying knowledge gained throughout the module to a complex hypothetical case study.


You’ll show your understanding of the modules through written coursework. Meanwhile, the Major Project will let you draw on your own professional background and/or personal interests to produce an original, extended piece of writing.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

You want the benefit of a thriving and highly regarded school where you can develop your skills and confidence for a potentially complex and competitive career. Graduating with this kind of specialist knowledge makes you valuable to employers, confident that you’ve learnt the tools to do the job. You know what it takes to be a professional in your field and we design our courses to get you on the right track, and to get you practicing in a safe environment as soon as possible. With professional accreditation to back up the theory of your degree, you’ll stand out from the crowd of other applicants and be ready for your first graduate job.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Entry requirements

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

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