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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. The Contemporary Bioethics course is now not launching this year but will start in September 2021.

Part-time: 2 years. The Contemporary Bioethics course is now not launching this year but will start in September 2021.

Eligible applicants: UK, EU, international

Location: University of Sussex, Falmer

Course Leader: Dr Peter West-Oram >

General enquiries:

This course will be jointly validated by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.

Apply Here >


COVID-19 update

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Contemporary Bioethics course is now not launching this year but will start in September 2021.


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
  • Philosophy and health
  • Ethics and normativity, or
  • Global politics of disease and biosecurity

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


"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 2020."

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 in Bioethics Research (30 credits) 
Feminist and Anti-Colonial Bioethics (30 credits)
(These core modules run over both semesters)

Dissertation (60 credits)


Semester One:
Philosophy and Health (30 credits) 
Global Bioethics (30 credits)

Semester Two:
Solidarity in Bioethics and Society (30 credits)
Bioethics of Life and Death (30 credits) 

PGDip (120 credits)

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

Two of the following (one in each semester)

Philosophy and Health (30 credits) OR 
Global Bioethics (30 credits) OR
Solidarity in Bioethics and Society (30 credits) OR
Bioethics of Life and Death (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 also be schooled in the tools of theoretical analysis needed to analyse emerging and novel bioethical issues. Graduates of the course 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/ EU/ Island residents and international students. 

Fees and funding

The fees listed below are the overall costs for full-time courses taken in the academic year 2020-21. 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. 

The Contemporary Bioethics course is now not launching this year but will start in September 2021.


UK / EU / Island students £8,262

International £15,156


UK / EU / Island students £5,508

International £10,008


UK / EU / Island students £2,754

International £5,004

Apply here

Please note that this course is subject to validation. Applications are made through the University of Brighton online portal. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Contemporary Bioethics course is now not launching in 2020 but will start in September 2021.

Apply now >