Syllabus Outline

The content of this module was designed by a mixed team of specialist module leads, ethicists and clinicians. Teaching for all course components is undertaken by mixed teams of academic and clinical specialists.

The ethos behind this curriculum is to:

  • Provide students with the highest quality learning experience;
  • Equip students with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required in professional life;
  • Ensure teaching is informed and refreshed by research and best evidence;
  • Ensure staff are encouraged and supported in the development of excellent teaching practice. 


1. Ethical theories applied to complex case clinical decision making; Complexities of clinical ethics in integrated health care teams 

2. Advanced ethics of reproductive medicine 

  • Reproductive choice: interest of (1.) parents; (2.) future child; (3.) the state; (4.) preserving life
  • Moral status of embryo; Morality of abortion; assisted reproduction.

3. Children and young adults - ethical dilemmas 

  • Children Act(s); Parental responsibility; Gillick competence; consent to treatment; child abuse

4. Ethics in oncology: incidental findings; personalised treatment 

5. Ethics for mental health Definitions of ‘mental disorder’; Mental health Act; Compulsory detention in hospital; treatment outside hospital; crime and mental illness

6. Advanced ethics of palliative care Active/passive euthanasia; competent/incompetent patient; withholding and withdrawing treatment

  • Moral principles in end-of-life decisions: sanctity of life, the doctrine of double effect; DNR and limitation to treatment; organ transplantation

7. Cost-Effective Analysis (CEA) and QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year); calculating quality of life, ageism and needs theory; health responsibility; Rawls’ theory, social factors.

8. Ethical challenges in research design; Ethical principles for medical research: harm, scientific validity, coercion, research participation; sharing benefit, incidental findings.

9. Cross-cultural practice of medicine: ethics issues; medical interpreters, language barriers, truth telling, cultural norms and taboos.

Learning Outcomes

Ref No. 

Learning Outcome / Skill: 



To critically apply ethical principles to clinical practice situations, and be prepared to justify your decisions and actions based on sound ethical arguments.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


To critically appraise ethical decision-making in your own practice area using key ethical theories and primary and secondary data from a wide range of sources.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


To critically analyse the process of ethical decision-making in everyday clinical practice across the lifespan.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


To critically analyse and evaluate new biomedical advances and identify the connected ethical issues.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


To be able to interpret the relationship between medical ethics and medical professionalism.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


To be able to anticipate and categorise ethical challenges inherent to medical research and research design.

Learning Outcomes: Master's 


Critical thinking 



Communication skills 



Ethical awareness 



Professional behaviour 







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