St George’s, University London

Discover how ethics and law impact the practice of medicine while exploring past, present and future issues in healthcare.

Advanced technology. Resource distribution pressures. Demographic changes. There are always new challenges facing healthcare practice and biomedical research. Could you help science and medicine adapt and work for the common good?

We’ve designed this degree to give you an overview of the ethics, law and humanities behind science and medicine. You’ll cover a wide range of topics, from legislation on areas like assisted suicide to the future of medicine and the use of AI. You’ll also be able to pick from optional specialised modules exploring pressing clinical and global issues.

As well as learning from our leading academics, you’ll hear from professionals who worked or collaborated with national and international organisations. Recent guest lecturers have included the chair of a clinical ethics committee, a negligence lawyer and an organiser of public consultations for the Human Tissue Authority.

We’ll give you the foundations for lifetime training and education in medical ethics, law and the humanities. Whatever you decide to do next, your insight will help change the way healthcare is practised, regulated, and understood by the public.

Ethics, professionalism and law strongly impact medicine. Studying with us, you’ll apply analysis of these areas to challenges facing today’s world and healthcare systems.

We’ll introduce you to different methods of medical humanities and how they can be used to look at areas like the doctor-patient relationship and experiences of illness. At the same time, you’ll explore key ethical and legal issues and underlying concepts in professional practice.

What makes this degree unique? Our modules look at the current issues in healthcare, as well as the history of medicine and its influence on research today. We’ll also focus on the future and how technology like AI will transform the healthcare of tomorrow.

Your research project will be the chance to explore an area that interests you. The ethics of vaccine nationalism, debates around genomics or the depiction of disease in art are just a few examples.

Because of our diverse expertise, our academics support a range of projects. Maybe your project will be supervised by a historian who specialises in medicine. Or perhaps a medical lawyer will be able to share their extensive expertise to bring your research to life.


By the end of this course, you’ll be able to analyse, appraise and address ethical, legal and social challenges in medicine and biomedical research.

Clinicians might use this degree to secure roles leading ethics education at medical schools, as a stepping stone to further training or to prepare to carry out projects involving public engagement.

If you’re not from a clinical background, you’ll be a great match for roles in policy forums, science journalism and public engagement. Other students decide to use this degree to support their PhD applications and carry out vital research in this area.

Entry Requirements

Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree but are current medical students who have successfully completed 360 credits (or equivalent) including at least 120 credits at Level 6 (or equivalent) of their medical degree are eligible to apply.

Closing date

Applications typically open in November and close in July. Early applications are recommended.