Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MRes

Year of entry

Postgraduate Virtual Open Day

Wednesday 15 February. Find out more

Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
Online exclusive
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in medical/healthcare ethics or philosophy, or holders of an equivalent qualification in directly related disciplines
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components
UK fees
£10,750 (total)
International fees
£10,750 (total)

Course overview

Students in tutorial

This MRes has been designed to provide you with an opportunity to develop your research skills in applied medical ethics. It provides an excellent stepping stone to PhD research.

In your first year you will begin with intensive research methods training which will allow you to develop your skills under the supervision of expert tutors. You’ll gain a range of skills and valuable experience for a career in academic or professional research.

You will then write an extended dissertation over the remainder of the first year and during the second year, in which you can examine in depth an area of particular interest to you within the rich field of medical ethics, with the support of a research supervisor.

You will meet with your research supervisor virtually through our interactive classroom, Blackboard Collaborate.

This course is available to study part time, and also to study both full time and part time on campus.

You can study this subject as an MA, which consists of more taught content and less independent research, both full time and part time either online or on campus. If you study for the MRes then you’ll be able to audit relevant modules from this MA course.

You can also study this subject as a PGDip where you take fewer modules overall, both full time and part time either online or on campus.

Course details

The Masters by research is made up of a 30-credit taught Research Methods module and a 150-credit dissertation.

Research Methods

Delivered online, this module will provide you with training in core skills and a variety of key research methodologies for undertaking high quality research in medical ethics. It also addresses methodological issues raised in the conduct of inter-disciplinary research. It will equip you to undertake a longer independent supervised dissertation on an aspect of ethics of your choice.

During the module we will cover research skills, including identifying a suitable topic for research, bibliography and referencing. We will also explore a range of methodological approaches to the discipline of ethics.

Dissertation (MRes)

You will produce an independent piece of work analysing in detail an aspect of medical ethics. The work will enable you to exhibit both some awareness of detail of theoretical ethical considerations and to indicate their application to issues in medical ethics, where relevant making use of your experience in the context of professional life in medicine and healthcare. You will be supported through the process by a research supervisor.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MRes Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MRes Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Research Methods 30
Dissertation (MRes) 150

Learning and teaching

The Research Methods module is delivered online through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and will be available in that form to both campus-based and online students, though campus based students may wish to undertake the tutor meetings for this module in face to face form.

Of course, independent research is also vital to this programme to develop your skills and help you develop your own ideas and interests.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


The dissertation (20,000 words) will form the bulk of the assessment for the MRes. During the Research Methods module you will be guided through the process of preparing for the dissertation, through a range of assessments including an annotated bibliography, a reflective log, a research proposal and a poster presentation.


Entry requirements

Candidates should normally be graduates with a 2:1 or above, in medical/healthcare ethics or philosophy, or holders of an equivalent qualification in directly related disciplines.

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

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

The link at the top of this page 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.

Documents to include

  • Your degree certificate and transcripts of all relevant qualifications, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.

  • CV (optional).

  • Details of two academic referees whom we can contact if needed.

  • Evidence of your English language test scores, if English isn’t your first language.

  • A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form. There's no word limit but you should include:

    • Why you want to study your chosen course at Leeds

    • What role ethics play in your professional life (if relevant)

    • What knowledge and understanding you currently have of ethics (if relevant)

    • How studying ethics will contribute to your academic and/or professional development

  • Application essay: this will be used to assess your ability to construct arguments and defend a coherent ethical position. It should be 1000-1500 words long and address a topic relevant to your chosen course. You can choose from the questions below, or contact us about an alternative:

    • How should doctors decide who shall live when not all can live?

    • Is foetal abnormality a morally defensible ground for performing an abortion?

    • Should women be allowed to bear babies for a fee?

    • Can deception in research be justified?

    • When, if ever, are doctors justified in breaching a patient’s confidentiality?

  • Outline of proposed research: this does not need to be long (one to two paragraphs) but it should give us an indication of the sort of questions you would like to look at in your extended dissertation.

Application deadlines

There’s no formal deadline for applications, but you should aim to submit your completed application as early in the year as possible. This will allow you time to organise your visa and transport arrangements (if relevant) and also meet the deadlines for any funding opportunities you pursue.

If you want to apply for a scholarship with us, the deadline for this is 30 June.

Next steps

If we're interested in making you an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to an interview. This will be either in person if you'll be coming to Leeds to study, or over Skype or a similar platform if you'll be studying through online learning.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

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.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023

This course is taught by

Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre

Contact us

Admissions Team



UK: £10,750 (total)

International: £10,750 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses 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.

We also offer a number of scholarships to help support you while you're studying with us, and will consider flexible fee payment options if you're studying part-time or through online learning.

Find out more about our biomedical and healthcare ethics scholarships.

Career opportunities

The heavy emphasis on research skills means this course is excellent preparation for PhD study and an academic career. However, you’ll also develop important transferable skills including oral and written communication, analysis and problem-solving which are valuable across a wide range of roles in different sectors.

Careers support

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.

Student profile: Harriet Standing

The kinds of issues we studied in the course are important and realistic dilemmas which are faced in healthcare but also in general life.
Find out more about Harriet Standing's time at Leeds

Staff profile: Sarah Carter-Walshaw

The ethics of healthcare is more important than ever, and we're very proud to offer a course where students from all over the world can discuss these issues.
Find out more about Sarah Carter-Walshaw's time at Leeds

Student profile: Dorothy Frizelle

I would definitely recommend this course of study; it should be compulsory for people working in healthcare and who hold power and responsibility over people and services.
Find out more about Dorothy Frizelle's time at Leeds