Biomedical and Healthcare Ethics MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
Online exclusive
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components.
UK fees
£11,500 (Total)
International fees
£11,500 (Total)

Course overview

Students in tutorial

Explore the application of ethics in the biomedical and healthcare sectors, and develop the knowledge and skills needed to address the complex ethical issues facing professionals in this field.

This online course allows you to investigate current issues, debates and theories surrounding ethical principles in medicine and healthcare.

You’ll gain a critical understanding of issues such as trust, confidentiality, autonomy and consent, and demonstrate the contemporary relevance of your findings by applying them to real-life case studies.

Throughout, you’ll benefit from teaching informed by consultation with healthcare professionals and shaped by the latest social, technological, and political developments. You’ll learn from experts who are experienced and actively engaged in research in this field.

As our student, you’ll join a diverse community of people from many different countries and backgrounds, with many opportunities to network and connect with our online community throughout your time studying with us, including various events and activities we run as an active and thriving applied ethics research centre. Many of our students have achieved publication of a paper as a result of their time studying with us and some have been interviewed on our podcast. Whether you’re looking to progress in your career, change to a new one, or explore a new subject area, you’ll be fully supported in achieving your goals.

You can study this course on campus or online, and at Masters or PGDip level. All of these options are available both full time and part time.

Specialist support

We have extensive experience in providing high-quality online learning, having run this course in an online format for more than a decade. You’ll study at the times and pace that suit you, whether taking the course full time or part time, sharing insights with other students as you learn. Throughout, you’ll receive expert support as well as opportunities for live discussions with your module leaders, and your Academic Personal Tutor.

The IDEA Centre is an interdisciplinary specialist unit for teaching, research, training and consultancy in applied ethics, and we consult with practitioners and professional bodies to ensure that our work reflects the latest social, technological, and political developments worldwide. Our expert tutors work in partnership across the University with many disciplines and subjects and bring this experience and knowledge to your course.

Extensive resources

You’ll study using course materials that have been specially designed for online distance learning, including reading, supplements and exercises. You can easily access these at any time using the University’s virtual learning environment, Minerva.

The IDEA Centre is an active and thriving centre of research and learning, with regular research seminars, podcasts, and annual events such as our Medical Ethics Evening and Ilkley Colloquium all available for you to take part in. We maintain close ties with our alumni and external professionals who often share their insights and expertise at our events.

Leeds University Library is one of the UK’s major academic research libraries, and has extensive holdings to support your studies. You can access a wide range of books, journals and other items online, as well as webinars on academic skills.


The University offers a range of Postgraduate funding opportunities to help support you during your time studying with us.

Across our Faculty, we also have a number of generous awards and scholarships.

Course details

You’ll study modules designed to give you a solid base of theoretical knowledge and high level research skills.

As you progress through your studies, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

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 MA 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 MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Ethics: Reasons, Motivation, Obligations and Happiness 15
Health Care Ethics: Dissertation 60
Ethical Issues at the Beginning of Life (Online) 15
Ethical Issues at the End of Life (Online) 15
Conscience, Codes and Professional Issues (Online) 15
Autonomy, Rationality, and Psychiatric Issues (Online) 15
Distributive Justice and Scarce Medical Resources (Online) 15
Current Developments in Health Care Ethics (Online) 30

Learning and teaching

There are no lectures or seminars on this programme. Instead, you’ll use the University’s Virtual Learning Environment to access interactive course materials and participate in collaborative activities online. This allows you to share your experiences and insights with students from a variety of backgrounds to discover new perspectives on ethical issues. Our tutors respond to queries by email as well as contributing to the online discussion groups.

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.


Because you study online, you won’t have to take any exams during this course. Instead, most of the time you’ll be assessed using essays and coursework assignments. You’ll receive support from our tutors and be able to discuss your work with them before you submit it. Group projects, presentations and regular contributions to discussion forums may also be used to assess your progress in some modules.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree. Professional experience may also be considered. If you want to apply for this MA course but don't have a degree, you can begin your studies by completing the PGDip either online or on campus and then apply for the MA.

We look for your willingness and ability to think clearly and independently, as well as good writing skills, a basic understanding of philosophical ethics and any relevant experiences of ethical issues in practice.

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. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

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

How to apply

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?

Application deadlines

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines.

Next steps

If we're interested in making you an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to an interview, which will usually be conducted online.

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.

The ‘Apply’ 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.

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre

Contact us

Admissions Team



UK: £11,500 (Total)

International: £11,500 (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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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

A postgraduate qualification in biomedical and healthcare ethics can improve your confidence in handling workplace decisions that have ethical implications. It will also allow you to improve your transferable skills such as research, analysis and oral and written communication.

Many of our graduates continue with their research, whether in academic appointments at universities, PhD studies or as researchers for other organisations such as the King’s Fund. Others have gone into healthcare management, joined research or clinical ethics committees or gone on to teach medical or healthcare ethics at medical schools part-time.

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 about Careers support.

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