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Degree type


Course length

1 year full time, 2/3 years part time


Durham City

Program code


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Course details

The LLM in Medical Law and Medical Ethics is a multi- and inter-disciplinary programme that enables students to develop a critical appreciation of the legal and ethical issues raised by medical practice and science.

This course offers students from a wide variety of backgrounds the opportunity to develop their legal knowledge and skills in some of the most intellectually challenging and practically relevant areas of medical law and ethics. Whilst led by the Law School, the course is enables students to take a number of related modules from other schools, ensuring a broad appreciation of the law and ethics relating to medical practice and science. . The programme benefits from the research strength of CELLS, Durham’s Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences, which counts many of the leading medical lawyers and ethicists within its members.

During the first two terms of the course, you will study taught modules drawn from a wide variety of topics on medical law and ethics. You then complete your studies by writing a dissertation on a medical law related topic chosen by you and supervised by a member of staff with expertise in your selected subject area. Teaching is a mixture of lectures and smaller, student-led, seminar or tutorial groups. The dissertation is pursued by independent research with individual supervision.

We anticipate that students attending the course will be drawn from a broad range of countries and disciplines and that their previous academic or professional experiences will enrich the course. Membership of the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences is open to all students on the LLM and they are encouraged to participate in its activities.

Course Structure

Core Modules

  • Contemporary Issues in Medical Law & Ethics – 30 credits.
  • Applied Research Methods in Law - 15 credits
  • Dissertation – 10,000/15,000/20,000 (60/75/90 credits respectively) on a Medical Law related topic.

Optional Modules (to provide a total of 180 credits) from Law, English, Philosophy, Anthropology, Economics, Sociology and Geography.

Indicative optional modules include the following, please note not all modules are available each year as the content is research-led and depends upon staff availability. In any year, the majority of these modules will be available, ensuring a wide choice of available options.:

  • Advanced Issues in Human Rights (LAW)
  • Advanced Issues of International Intellectual Property Law (LAW)
  • Anthropology of Global Health (ANTH)
  • Concepts and Frameworks in the Critical Medical Humanities (ARTS)
  • Contemporary Issues in Biolaw and Bioethics (LAW)
  • Divergence, Deviance, and Disability in 19th Century Literature (ENG)
  • Ethics, Medicine and History (PHIL)
  • Frontiers in Biolaw (LAW)
  • Gender Theory & Feminist Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Illness as Narrative Practice (ENG)
  • International Perspectives on Law and Gender (LAW)
  • International Protection of Human Rights (LAW)
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law (LAW)
  • Medical Law & Ethics (LAW)
  • Neurodiversity and the Humanities (ENG)
  • Phenomenology & The Sciences of Mind (PHIL)
  • Philosophical Issues in Science & Medicine (PHIL)
  • Protection of Human Rights in Europe (LAW)
  • Risk, Science & Communication (GEOG)
  • Science & The Enlightenment (PHIL)
  • Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience (GEOG)
  • Social Policy and Society (SOC)
  • Society, Health and Wellbeing (ANTH)


This course involves both taught modules and a substantial dissertation component. Depending on the credit weighting of your dissertation, you will undertake 90 - 120 credits of taught modules.

Taught modules are delivered by a mixture of lectures and seminars. Lectures are used primarily to introduce chosen topics, identify relevant concepts, and introduce you to the main debates and ideas relevant to the chosen topic. They give you a framework of knowledge that you can then develop, and reflect on, through your own reading and study.

Seminars are smaller-sized, student-led classes. You are expected to carry out reading prior to classes and are usually set questions or problems to which to apply the knowledge you have developed. Through class discussion, or the presentation of student papers, students are given the opportunity to test and refine their knowledge and understanding, in a relaxed and supportive environment.

In addition to taught modules, you must produce a dissertation of between 10,000 and 20,000 words. This is intended to be the product of your own independent research. Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor, and you will have a series of one-to-one meetings with you supervisor over the course of the academic year.

Alongside the credit-bearing components of your programme, you are encouraged to attend various events, such as guest lectures and seminars, organised through CELLS and other research centres in Durham Law School.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2:1 degree (or its equivalent) in a relevant subject (for example law (or in a degree in which law is a major component), anthropology, medicine and allied professions (nursing, pharmacy…), sociology and philosophy
  • Students whose native language is not English must show evidence of general proficiency in the English language by normally achieving 7.0 or higher in IELTS with a minimum of 7.0 in the writing component and a minimum of 6.5 in all other components.
  • Students from EU member states whose native language is not English may show evidence of general proficiency in the English language by normally achieving 102 or higher in TOEFL with a minimum of 27 in the writing component and a minimum of 25 in all other components.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,100 per year
EU students £24,900 per year
Island students £12,100 per year
International students £24,900 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £6,700 per year
EU students £13,700 per year
Island students £6,700 per year
International students £13,700 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Law School

Our graduates enjoy highly successful careers across a diverse range of sectors as solicitors, barristers, consultants and more. Current graduates are on the Supreme Court, and in government, the Court of Appeal and Parliament.

Department information

Law School

We are a leading centre of legal research in the UK with an equally strong commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. We have modern, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities. Featuring a moot court, the Harvard-style Hogan Lovells lecture theatre, spacious dedicated work suites with superb views of Durham Cathedral, attractive social areas, and modern wireless and audiovideo-enabled research spaces, this is one of the most striking and best-equipped law buildings in the UK.

For more information visit our department pages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2023
  • 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2023
  • 7th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023


For a current list of staff, please see the Law School pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 5th in the UK for research environment
  • 100% of our research impact and environment was rated world-leading or internationally excellent


By choosing to read Law at Durham you will be studying in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Certainly, there are few places that can match its dramatic setting on a rocky horseshoe bend in the River Wear. The Law School is located in Durham University’s flagship Palatine Centre, part of a £48.4m sustainable building development and winner of the 2013 Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Northern Award for best education building. Facilities include a Moot Court, dedicated workroom, academic offices, and a Pro Bono Room, as well as a Harvard Style lecture theatre and many seminar and tutorial rooms.

Visit Us

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Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 08/02/2023
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
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Postgraduate Open Days - Online
  • Date: 13/02/2023
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
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