The LLM in Medical Law and Ethics addresses a diverse range of topics that reflect the legal and ethical challenges faced by those working in and around health and medicine. These topics are examined in their social, political and historical context.
Why study medical law and ethics?
Individual and population health is of critical social concern and has been identified as a key ‘global challenge’ which implicates a wide range of actors and policy fields.
This programme is ideal for those who wish to develop skills that will prepare themselves for a career in medical law or ethics or in health-related policy or regulation, and who wish to add new advocacy skills to their professional portfolio. The programme attracts students from a variety of legal backgrounds, as well as students with prior education and training in health and public health-related fields, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.
The LLM in Medical Law and Ethics adopts an interdisciplinary approach to learning, drawing on academics within and beyond law and ethics.
Uniquely, students will have the opportunity to select their own topics for study, exploring together with fellow students and staff, issues that are at the cutting-edge of the broad field of medical law and ethics.
This not only broadens avenues of learning, but also opens students up to a much wider community of scholars and practitioners.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years*. It offers a range of subjects that covers a broad spectrum of contemporary issues in medical law, jurisprudence and ethics, from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, allowing you to tailor a programme to suit your interests.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
- Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course serves as a foundation for critical analytical engagement with the core features of the discipline of medical jurisprudence, being the relationship between law and ethics in the provision of healthcare, the influence of human rights on medical practice, the importance of consent, confidentiality and medical negligence in shaping the contours of the doctor/patient relationship, as well as issues at the start and end of life, such as assisted reproduction and assisted dying. Where appropriate, comparative legal analysis will further inform discussion and debate.
- Fundamental Issues in Bioethics (20 credits)
This course serves as a foundation for critical engagement with the core elements of bioethics and of doing bioethics. It will introduce students to three pillars of rigorous bioethical analysis: (i) concepts, (ii) theories, and (iii) robust argumentation. It will equip students with the skills to develop and defend ethical arguments, and to apply these to legal, regulatory and policy issues in health and biomedicine.
- Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course is designed to engage students with current live issues arising in the field of medical jurisprudence, being a disciplines which sits at the cross-roads between law, medicine and ethics and is concerned primarily with legal and social responses to advanced in medicine, healthcare and related technologies. The course is deliberately designed to be open and responsive to issues that are current at the time of delivery in any given year.
You must study a minimum of 40 credits and maximum of 60 credits from the courses listed below.
- Governance of Innovative Medicine (20 credits)
This course examines the features of ‘innovative medicine’, its key actors and objectives, the role of international and national law in its regulation, and new approaches to its governance. A key theme of the course will be the creative tension that derives from the dialogue between the scientific, economic and public interests in this socially important arena. The course will enable students to evaluate how law, regulatory structures and new forms of governance mediate key issues and perpetual change at this complex interface to facilitate pursuit of the objectives of health.
- Public Health Ethics and Law (20 credits)
This course provides a grounding of the fundamentals elements of public health ethics and law. It explores the form and function of public health through the ethical values, concepts and tensions at play, and considers how these (should) inform policy and practice. It supports the students in critically assessing the legal and regulatory frameworks in which public health operates, and examines the primary national and international institutions that are responsible for public health interventions and/or respond to public health needs.
- Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices (20 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of risk and its regulation, examining how regulatory frameworks are shaped and/or respond to new and emerging human activities, many of which rely on or prompt new modes of action, new technologies, new relationships, and, importantly, new risks. Focusing on biomedical case studies in the second half of the course, it explores different regulatory theories, instruments and institutions – legal and non-legal, domestic, regional and international – that govern and shape individual and organisational conduct.
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (10 credits)
This course considers the ethics of biotechnology and the life sciences. It begins by giving the student an ethics toolbox with which to approach, analyse and assess current bioethical controversies and discourses. It then addresses specific topics to further explore ethical issues arising from biotechnology and its uses, as well as an exercise to explore crucial ethical concepts and arguments. Finally, in an age of moral pluralism, it can be difficult for stakeholders to secure social consensus on how new biotechnologies should be controlled and exploited. As a result, the regulation of biotechnology has often been a site of sharp disagreement. This module will also examine how the bioethical discussion feeds into the regulatory and governance considerations of biotechnology.
- Medical Negligence (10 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of the law of medical negligence. It is designed to equip students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of relevant case law. It also aims to develop skills in using the case law effectively by formulating reasoned and persuasive arguments for or against particular legal propositions. Whilst focussing on the law in the UK, the course will have a strong comparative dimension. The medical negligence action will be viewed in its social, economic and political context and students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the various factors driving law and policy in this area.
Optional course (Everyone 20 credits)
Fundamental Issues in International Law
International Environmental Law
Criminal Justice and Penal Process
Contract Law in Europe
Mental Health and Crime
Law and the Enlightenment
Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights
Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property
International Investment Law
International Law of the Sea
Law of E-Commerce
The legal challenges of information technologies
International Intellectual Property System
Data Protection and Information Privacy
International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
International Commercial Arbitration (one semester)
The Anatomy of Public Law
EU Competition Law
International Criminal Law (one semester)
Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law
The Law of International Trade
International Law of the Marine Environment
Delict and Tort
Comparative and International Trust law
International Climate Change Law
Sexual Offending and the Law
Comparative Corporate Governance
Corporation Law and Economics
Regulation of international Finance: the Law, the Economics, the Politics
Global Crime and Insecurity
Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity
European Labour Law
Communications, networks, and the law
Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Practice of Corporate Finance and the Law
Practice of International Banking and the Law
|International Human Rights Law
Human Rights Law in Europe
Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Reasoning with Precedent
International and European Media Law
Principles of Corporate Finance Law
Family Law in Comparative Perspectives
The Law of Secured Finance
Criminological Research Methods
Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
General Principles of Criminal Law
Current Issues in Criminal Law
Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity
Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society
Natural Law: An Historical Introduction
Robotics, AI and the Law
European Law Moot Court
Brexit: Withdrawal from the European Union
Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law
Governance of Innovative Medicine
Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property
Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law
Advanced Issues in Human Rights
Fundamentals in Bioethics
Public Health Ethics and Law
Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices
International Investment Arbitration: Theory and Practice
WTO Law 1
WTO Law 2
Trusts across the Common Law World
Human Rights Clinic
Theories of the International Legal Order
Prisons and Places of Confinement
Genocide and the Law
The Integrity of the EU’s Internal Market
Child Law in Comparative Perspectives
The EU’s Changing Constitution
We require a minimum USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law, politics, medicine, medical humanities or life sciences. We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study.
The majority of our applicants have studied law; applications from non-law students with relevant studies and experience – particularly in the medical field – will be considered, however, and further guidance on this as it applies to each of our programmes may be sought from the School.
Applicants with a degree from a USA country other than the USA
If you have a non-USA degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
English language requirements
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
- TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
- Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).
Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by USA Visas and Immigration . The USA Government’s website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
View the USAVI list of majority English speaking countries
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about the University’s English language requirements
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
How to apply
We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the Northampton University) and/or to apply for University accommodation.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree.
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
- A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
After you apply
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
Northampton University admissions terms and conditions