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St Mary's University

Bioethics and Medical Law MA, PGDip, PGCert

Previous degree


Distance learning available


Student visa accepted?



1 year (full-time), 2/3 years (part-time)

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 10 for Student ExperienceThe Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 5 for Teaching Quality

Examine ethical dilemmas with our hands-on Bioethics and Medical Law masters

Assess medical advances with our Bioethics and Medical Law master’s. You’ll investigate theories and real-world cases under a Hippocratic/Judeo-Christian lens. You will cover topics like:

  • philosophical concepts of what it means to be human
  • the beginning of life
  • end of life
  • the UK legal system
  • bioethical principles
  • global perspectives on bioethics.

Expert teaching and support

Our academics are ethics experts within:

  • law
  • medicine
  • philosophy
  • theology.

They’re also committed to your development. Our student, Anna Maria, tells us their lecturers are “encouraging, helpful, and ready to give advice whenever [they] contact them”.

Another student, Sophie, explains that St Mary's is "passionate about students being a name not a number" and she "feels as though [she] can speak to the lecturers at any time".

Publish your work

You’ll have opportunities to publish your final dissertation in peer-reviewed journals. Graduates have published:

  • An ethical exploration into embryo disposal practices in the UK in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.
  • An expanded form of their dissertation on genetics and neuroscience published by Springer as part of their ‘Briefs in Ethics’ series.
  • Ground-breaking dissertation into natural embryo loss in human reproduction to international audiences in the journal F1000Research.
  • Articles addressing topics such as the harms of prostitution, human dignity, euthanasia in Belgium and end of life decision making during the Covid-19 pandemic in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
  • On moral philosophy and the tensions between harm reduction and abstinence in drugs policy in The New Bioethics.
  • Presumed consent for organ donation in the Journal of Intensive Care Society

Explore London

St Mary’s is only a 30-minute train ride to central London. Therefore, you will have numerous opportunities to visit:

  • the Supreme Court
  • Royal Courts of Justice
  • Parliament
  • The Wellcome Trust Collection and Library
  • London Science Museum
  • The Francis Crick Institute
  • The Alan Turing Institute.

Flexible learning

We offer our bioethics master’s on a part-time or full-time basis, in-person or a ‘blend’ of in-person and online. Therefore, you’ll study around your commitments.

The programme’s design also allows you the flexibility to exit the programme with different awards (PG Certificate, PG Diploma) if completing the full MA is not possible.


Matthew James

Course Lead

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Course content


The modules listed below are the modules that were available to students in the 2023/24 academic year and are illustrative of what may be offered for 2024/25. 

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Students are normally required to achieve a 2:2 degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a relevant subject.


Previous degree

Additional requirement information

Alternatively, a professional qualification in teaching, medicine or law is also accepted.

Medical students can also take the full-time MA programme as an intercalated option during their studies usually in their third of fourth year of training.

If you don't meet these requirements you may be admitted if you show evidence of sufficient experience and aptitude for academic study at Master's Level. You'll need to provide a portfolio of suitable work and experience.


International Requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section.

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Further Information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Fees & funding

September 2024





Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme. Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please see our additional costs webpage

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


You can check on the UK government website to see if you may be eligible for a loan of up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate programme.

Home and international students may also be eligible for external sources of funding. International students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

For more information, please look at our postgraduate funding page.

How the degree is taught

Assessment methods

A variety of different forms of assessment are employed across the programme including:

  • Online discussion
  • Critiques of academic papers, news media and thought leader pieces
  • Essays
  • Collaborative based assessments
  • An unseen written examination (in the case of medical law)

Career opportunities

With our Bioethics and Medical Law master’s, you will develop essential transferrable skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and adaptability.

Some examples of job roles and areas of work for graduates of Bioethics and Medical Law MA, PGDip, PGCert include:

bioethics committeeshealthcarebiotechnologygeneticspharmaceutical industryresearch management and developmentlawcivic leadershipbusinesspoliticsmediaeducation

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More from St Mary's


Postgraduate events

We have a range of webinars and events to help you decide whether St Mary's is the place for you.


Student life

Discover what life is like on our London campus.

Open Days

Open Days are a fantastic opportunity for you to meet academic staff. You'll also be able to look around the campus, speak to current students and find out more about services such as Accommodation, Student Wellbeing and Study Abroad.

Book your place now