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Healthcare Ethics and Law Intercalated BSc: Birmingham

Health care ethics and law cover a range of inherently interesting themes. The range of ethical and legal issues and cases is ever expanding. The role of the media in raising public awareness about the provision of health care has both positive and negative effects on what people expect from doctors. In the MBChB sessions on ethics and law we cover the basic principles and issues that all professionals ought to be aware of. If you enjoyed that part of the curriculum but want to explore issues in greater depth, this is the course for you!

We will examine the role that moral and legal frameworks play in helping to understand and resolve ethical and legal dilemmas. We will also focus on specific areas of interest, such as research, beginning of life, end of life and psychiatry and forensic medicine. There will be opportunity to examine public policy, professional regulation, religious and cultural issues and the role of the media in more detail.

The course will equip you to critically analyse practical dilemmas and academic work, culminating in the dissertation. We are also offering the opportunity to develop qualitative research skills culminating in an empirical bioethics project. The course attracts students from other Universities in the UK as we are one of only four programmes nationally to offer Health Care Ethics and Law as an intercalating degree.


To provide you with a systematic understanding of contemporary issues in health care ethics and law;
To enable you to evaluate opposing arguments, to formulate and consider the best arguments for different views and to identify the weakest elements of the most persuasive argument (ie critical analysis skills);
To enable you to develop precision of thought and expression in the analysis of complex problems within health care;
To enable you to identify how your own personal moral values affect your approaches to decision making;
To enable you to identify new themes and emerging issues in contemporary health care;
To provide you with an integrated approach that combines the disciplines of medicine, law and philosophy;
To provide a learning environment that supports originality in more able students;
To enable and encourage sufficient independent learning in ethics and law for continuing professional and personal development;
To develop in you the confidence and ability to identify and challenge unprofessional behaviour in clinical practice, and be able to provide practical solutions;
To encourage you to identify and develop a range of transferable skills.

Learning outcomes: by the end of the programme, you should have knowledge and understanding of:

A broad range of contemporary issues in health care ethics and law;
Central ethical theories, principles and arguments relevant to contemporary health care ethics;
Core health care law including central legal principles, Statutes and case law;
The inter-relationships between ethics, law and health care practice;
Relevant texts and authors important in the field of health care ethics.

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