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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Contemporary Bioethics

BSMS > Postgraduate > Contemporary Bioethics

Contemporary Bioethics

Key facts

MA, PGDip, PGCert

Full-time: 1 year.

Part-time: 2 years.

Eligible applicants: UK, international

Due to visa restrictions, international students requiring a student visa (including EU/EEA who require a student visa) are eligible to apply for BSMS full-time Masters courses only. Part-time Masters courses, all PGDip and all PGCert courses are open to UK and Irish students and international students (including EU/EEA) who have an alternative visa/immigration permission to stay in the UK (such as settled/pre-settled status, Tier 2/work visa, indefinite leave to remain etc).

Location: University of Sussex, Falmer

Course Leader: Dr Peter West-Oram

Read Dr Peter West Oram's profile here >

General enquiries:

This course is validated by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. This course is not accepting applications for the academic year 2022/23. 

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Key areas of study

  • Current issues and approaches in bioethics research 
  • Feminist and anti-colonial bioethics
  • Solidarity in bioethics and society
  • Global bioethics
  • Ethical issues at the beginning and end of life

Course overview

The programme brings together experts from many disciplines within BSMS to deliver a vibrant programme offering a contemporary and critical approach to bioethics.

The course will address core issues in bioethics while also considering the frameworks and structures which shape bioethical discourse, including gender, coloniality, and global health. As such, it will empower students to engage with the bioethical challenges that medical, scientific, technological, and social changes will present in the future.



Students sitting on university campus

"I am delighted that we are able to provide this ground-breaking opportunity for advanced education in Bioethics at BSMS. In an era of rapid social, medical and scientific change, both domestically and globally, understanding and expertise in bioethics is of increasing importance. This programme will build on BSMS’s longstanding experience of  placing bioethics at the core of medical and scientific education and practice, with students being given the opportunity to interact with a dynamic group of experts in the field and related disciplines. I am confident that this course will provide  a distinctive and genuinely valuable experience for those who undertake it and it will be a highly successful addition to our portfolio of postgraduate courses. I look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in September 2022."

Prof Malcolm Reed
Dean, BSMS

Course structure

All modules are 30 credits. Therefore, students must take FOUR modules in total for the MA programme, plus the dissertation which is 60 credits.

MA (180 credits)

  • Current Issues and Approaches in Bioethics Research (30 credits) 
  • Feminist and Anti-Colonial Bioethics (30 credits)

(These core modules run over both semesters)


  • Dissertation (60 credits)


Semester One:

  • Global Bioethics (30 credits)

Semester Two:

  • Solidarity in Bioethics and Society (30 credits) 


  • Ethical Issues at the Beginning and End of Life (30 credits)

PGDip (120 credits)

  • Current Issues and Approaches in Bioethics Research (30 credits) 
  • Feminist and Anti-Colonial Bioethics (30 credits)

(These core modules run over both semesters)


Semester One:

  • Global Bioethics (30 credits) 

Semester Two: 

  • Solidarity in Bioethics and Society (30 credits)


  • Ethical Issues at the Beginning and End of Life (30 credits)

PGCert (60 credits)

  • Current Issues in Bioethics Research (30 credits)  
  • Feminist and Anti-Colonial Bioethics (30 credits) 





Career opportunities

The course has been specifically designed for students seeking advanced training and education in both theoretical and applied bioethics.

It will be of significant value to those who wish to continue their bioethical and philosophical education, either in preparation for a PhD programme, or as a terminal degree. The course will also serve those working and training in the medical, scientific and allied professions.

As a course in Contemporary Bioethics, this programme pays particular attention to the systemic and structural issues which have shaped traditional bioethics discourse. Against this background students will be schooled in the tools of theoretical analysis needed to analyse emerging and novel bioethical issues. Graduates will be well placed to deliver ethically and theoretically robust research and professional practice. They will also be able to contribute effectively to increasingly complex public and professional debates regarding the future of scientific and medical advance and global health and well-being. 

Entry requirements

First or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent.

IELTS: a minimum score of 7, with no less than 6.5 in each section. 

Applicants may be interviewed as part of the selection process.

This course is open to applications from UK and international students. 

Fees and funding

The fees listed below are the overall costs for full-time courses taken in the academic year 2022/23. Where courses are taken part-time over more than one academic year, fees are usually charged pro-rata for the modules taken during each academic year. 

With effect from 2021/22 onwards, EU nationals starting new postgraduate courses will pay international fees and will not be eligible for student funding from the UK government. However, there are exceptions to this for Irish nationals and EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. For the latest information, please see


UK £9,500

International £18,975


UK £6,336

International £12,654


UK £3,168

International £6,327