Taught course

Medical Ethics and Palliative Care

Keele University · School of Law

Entry requirements

The MA in Medical Ethics and Palliative Care is open to graduates with a first or second class honours degree (or foreign equivalent) in a relevant subject, or appropriate professional qualifications and/or experience.

Intercalating Medical Students

We welcome applications from undergraduate medical students who have the option to take an intercalated year. To take the MA in Medical Ethics and Law as an intercalated year, you must normally have completed the fourth year of a medical degree. To ensure the course is completed within one year, you must study the MA in Medical Ethics and Law as a full time student.

Months of entry


Course content

Please note, all course information including entry requirements relates to the 2022/23 academic year.

Advances in medical technology, increased expectations, and changing moral attitudes combine to generate complex ethical and legal problems for those involved in the delivery of end of life healthcare. Practitioners who treat and care for patients with life-limiting illnesses can face particularly pressing and difficult moral choices. This programme provides an opportunity to gain a deeper and more systematic understanding of these issues and to explore the moral problems faced people involved in all aspects of end of life care. It also provides a foundation for pursuing further study at doctoral level for those interested in doing so.

This programe consists of four 30-credit taught modules and a 60-credit dissertation.

Full-time study
The full-time MA is completed in one year. You will begin work on your dissertation alongside the taught modules and submit it at the start of September.

Part-time study
When taken part-time, the four taught modules are completed in the first year, with the dissertation being completed in the second year. The part-time mode of study is designed to meet the needs of healthcare practitioners and others who wish to combine study for the MA with full-time employment. The part time programme requires only 12 days attendance in year 1 and one day (a Research Methods study day in October) in year 2.

Modular study
You can also choose to study one or more taught modules per year for a period of up to four years, followed by the dissertation in the subsequent year. (Maximum five years in total.) Module 1 must normally be completed before modules 3 and 4. If you do not wish to do the entire MA Programme, you may exit after completing the taught modules. Successful completion of all four taught modules (120 credits) leads to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Ethics and Law.

Successful completion of any two taught modules (60 credits) leads to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Ethics and Palliative Care. Many second year students find it useful to come to Keele more frequently, to meet their supervisors, attend talks by visiting speakers, and use other university facilities. Others, especially those who live some distance away, prefer to keep in touch via email or phone, or use a combination of methods.

How the Course is Taught

Teaching for the four taught modules is delivered in short intense blocks, enabling those in full-time employment to do the course part-time and to fit it around the demands of their work wherever they are based. You will be assigned a personal tutor from the outset, who you can contact for help or advice at any time during the course.

We regard high levels of participation in discussion as particularly important for teaching and learning in this area, and employ teaching techniques which encourage this wherever possible. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds and report that meeting and exchanging ideas with others who work in different fields and in different parts of the country is one of the major benefits of the course.
From time to time, experts from outside Keele may be invited to speak on the course; this provides an insight into academic work in healthcare ethics and law taking place in other institutions and professional perspectives. In addition, Keele's Centre for Law, Ethics and Society hosts a wide range of seminars, workshops and lectures, which students are welcome to attend.

Information for international students


IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. The University also accepts a range of internationally recognised English tests.

Students who have graduated from a country where English is the first language and the degree was taught and assessed in English are not normally required to take an IELTS or other English language test.

If you do not meet the English language requirements, the University offers a range of English language preparation programmes.

During your degree programme you can study additional english language courses. This means you can continue to improve your English language skills and gain a higher level of English.

Fees and funding

For information related to fees and funding, please visit the individual course page on the Keele University website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    Up to 60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details