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This innovative course aids the practical, spiritual and theological formation of healthcare workers in their challenging vocation.

  • Enables you to make an informed and reflective contribution to the healthcare sector
  • Encourages the development of intellectual resources necessary for critical reflection on practical and ethical issues
  • Supports and affirms you, as a healthcare worker, in all spheres of your vocation
  • Aids spiritual and theological formation, and fosters a sense of community among healthcare workers

Why study Practitioners in Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care?

In the work of ministering to people - often at crucial or vulnerable times in life - the healthcare practitioner encounters many challenges, surprises and sacred moments.

By undertaking our Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care degree course you will have the opportunity to link theory with practice, and identify and work through challenges.

The degree also enables you to reflect deeply on those moments that are formative for you as a healthcare practitioner and often life-changing for people you meet on the journey.

This course is for healthcare practitioners who already have a healthcare placement. We offer the opportunity to learn with and from other healthcare practitioners.

Why St Mary's?

This unique part-time course is designed to enable you to gain new perspectives on your key role in the modern NHS and acquire a relevant degree qualification.

Building on the success of its Foundation Degree in Healthcare Chaplaincy St Mary’s University is pleased to offer this newly revised Foundation Degree for Practitioners in Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care. 

The new degree is for all healthcare practitioners from those working in care homes, to those working in hospices and in hospitals, not forgetting healthcare chaplains.

We regard the practice of healthcare as a vocation where expert and effective care has spiritual, theological and ethical dimensions. With its focus on pastoral care, theology and ethics, and rooted in respect for the dignity of all human beings, made in the image of God, this foundation degree looks to form each individual healthcare practitioner, enabling them to develop professionally.

Those from all faith traditions and none are welcome to apply.

Please note: Practitioners in Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care is not currently accepting applications for September 2020.

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Entry requirements

N/A UCAS points required

View alternative requirements

To calculate your expected UCAS points, please use the UCAS Tariff calculator.

  • A six unit award at Level 3 such as A-levels, Vocational A-Levels (VCEs), BTEC, Access or NVQ Level 3 is required.
  • A GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in English Language is also required.
  • You must be employed in a healthcare setting, (either paid or voluntary) for at least half of the working week
  • A letter of recommendation will be needed to support your application

An informal interview will form part of the application process once a completed application form has been received.

Requirements for other qualifications (including BTECs, Irish Highers, Scottish Highers, International Baccalaureates and Access Courses) are also available. For more information please email

We will make you an offer if you are within the tariff band range and you meet subject-specific requirements (where applicable).

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 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section (or equivalent).

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

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Course content

Year one

  • Healthcare Ethics, Theology and Care in Context Core
  • Bioethics I Core
  • Care 1: The Vocation of the Healthcare Practitioner Core
  • The Human Person: Focus of Care Core
  • Dying, Death, Grief and Bereavement Core
  • Religious Perspectives on Healthcare Core

Year two

  • Religion and Psychology Core
  • Spirituality Core
  • Care 2: Person Centred Care Core
  • Bioethics II Core
  • Pastoral Reflection Core
  • The Human One Optional
  • Supervised Essay Optional

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.

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Career opportunities

Since this degree links theory and practice, it will enhance your existing employment skills. By encouraging the development of the intellectual resources necessary for critical reflection on practical and ethical issues, the foundation degree programme is an excellent preparation for all healthcare professionals who wish to see their skills in human understanding and critical skills flourish.

Many former students have gone on to study one of our postgraduate degrees.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

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How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

Lectures and seminars take place at St Mary’s one evening a week and additional lectures and resources are available online. This form of blended learning recognises the reality of having to work and study at the same time. By studying with us you will have the opportunity to link theory with practice, and to identify and work through challenges.

You're expected to bring your own work experiences into the discussions and to learn to place your work into an educational context. This formative learning experience is often life-changing for many who study on the programme.

Tutors are experts in their fields and some work in an NHS setting. They will enable you to engage seriously with making the link between theory and practice, as well as deepening your self-reflection in what is often a very challenging area.

In addition to lectures and tutorials, teaching includes discussion, seminars, workshops, visits and use of IT.

Class sizes tend to be between 10 and 15 students.

Teaching breakdown

Learning on the course is made up through a combination of:

  • Contact time: 12%
  • Work-based learning: 70%
  • Guided learning: 6%
  • Independent study: 12%

Independent study is a key feature of your degree and is crucial to furthering your knowledge.

You will receive your timetable a week before teaching is due to start at the latest.

Assessment methods

For most modules on the programme, assessment consists of a combination of oral presentations, case studies and essays. There are no formal exams.


We adhere to the university’s policy of providing feedback on assessments within three weeks.

See how your final degree mark is calculated...

Compensated passes

Please refer to the information on compensated passes throughout your degree as outlined in the academic regulations.

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Fees and funding

2021/22 fees

  • Home: £5,250
  • International: £12,900

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Fees for EU applicants starting courses in 2021/22 academic year

Eligible EU applicants will pay the same tuition fees as UK students to support EU students during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course.

EU fees for 2022 entry are not yet confirmed.

View fees and funding information for EU students beginning their studies in 2021...

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs may incur should you wish to purchase recommended texts.


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new foundation students. This includes:

Living costs

A guide to your living costs has been created by our Student Funding Team.

Accommodation costs vary depending on whether you opt for an en suite room and on-site catering. Take a look at our accommodation options and the prices you can expect to pay.

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Further information

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UCAS Application Timeline