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Master of Bioethics and Health Law (MBHL)



The Master of Bioethics and Health Law (MBHL) degree is an interdisciplinary postgraduate programme which consists in writing a research dissertation under supervision and completing papers worth an additional 105 points from a schedule of papers. The degree may be awarded with distinction or credit. The degree draws on the resources of both ethical and legal theory, and attends to bioethical problems arising from the increasing use of technology in medicine and changes in the resourcing and delivery of health care.

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Subject Areas


Schedule of Papers

Papers for the Degree of Master of Bioethics and Health Law


BITC 401  Theories of Biomedical Ethics

BITC 403  Issues in Law, Ethics and Medicine

LAWS 447  Law and Medicin




At least one of:
LAWS 311  Family Law
LAWS 448  Law and Psychiatry
LAWS 467  International Human Rights Law
LAWS 480  Research Paper


Any papers listed in this schedule including the following to make a total of least 105 points:
BITC 404  Ethics and Health Care
BITC 405  Bioethics in Clinical Practice
BITC 406  Health Research Ethics
BITC 407  Advanced Health Research Ethics
BITC 410, BITC 411, BITC 412  Special Topics

15 points each

BITC 890  MBHL Dissertation


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Regulations for the Degree of Master of Bioethics and Health Law (MBHL)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme will be subject to the approval of the Director of the Bioethics Centre (or nominee) following consultation with the Bioethics Board of Studies.
    2. Every applicant shall possess a postgraduate diploma, or be a graduate with honours or of a four-year undergraduate programme in a relevant discipline. A candidate shall usually have completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioethics and Health Law (PGDipBHL) or an equivalent qualification, and shall have achieved an average across all papers of at least B+.
    3. All applicants must present evidence of ability for advanced level academic study.

  2. Structure of the Programme

    1. The programme of study shall consist of
      1. papers from the schedule to a value of 120 points; and
      2. a dissertation.
      1. A candidate who has completed the requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioethics and Health Law shall be exempted from those papers in the programme for the degree which have been previously passed for the diploma, in which case the programme will normally consist of the dissertation only.
      2. The Bioethics Board of Studies may in special circumstances approve the inclusion in the programme of papers worth up to 30 points which are not listed in the schedule.
      3. A candidate who has previously completed two or more papers listed in the schedule for another completed postgraduate diploma or honours degree or equivalent qualification may be exempted from a paper or papers up to a value of 30 points.
      4. Law graduates who have passed LAWS 311, LAWS 428, LAWS 448, or LAWS 477 shall be required to take at least 30 points of LAWS papers from the schedule, or to take 30 points of other approved comparable papers.
      5. A candidate transferring credits for Law papers from another university shall be required to complete at least one of LAWS 547, or LAWS 548.
    2. The programme of study, the topic of the dissertation and the proposed supervisors shall be submitted to the Bioethics Board of Studies for its approval in accordance with established procedures for Division of Health Sciences postgraduate programmes.

  3. Duration of the Programme

    1. A candidate for the degree shall usually follow a programme of study for not less than one year of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study.
    2. Note: Although the minimum completion time is twelve months, full-time candidates will usually take eighteen months (part-time candidates thirty-six months). Full-time candidates aiming to finish within twelve-months must commence study in the first semester.

    3. A candidate who was admitted after completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioethics and Health Law shall usually follow a programme of six-months of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study.
    4. A candidate will normally be expected to satisfy the requirements for the degree within three years of admission to the programme(six years for a part-time candidate)

  4. Examination of the Dissertation

    1. The Director of the Bioethics Centre (or nominee) shall appoint a Convener of Examiners who shall oversee each dissertation examination.
    2. The dissertation shall be assessed by at least two examiners; it is normally expected that one examiner will be from the Faculty of Law and one examiner will be from the Bioethics Centre. This pattern may be varied at the discretion of the Convener of Examiners or the Director of the Bioethics Centre.
    3. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner but may make a report on the work of the candidate to the Convener of Examiners.
    4. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the dissertation and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the dissertation as submitted, and an overall result selected from the options specified in clause (e) below.
    5. The examiners may recommend that a dissertation:
      1. be accepted without amendments;
      2. be accepted subject to amendments being made at the discretion and to the satisfaction of the Convener of Examiners;
      3. does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, but may be revised and resubmitted for examination;
      4. does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, and should be rejected without right of resubmission.Amendments (regulation (e)(ii)) and revisions (regulation (e)(iii)) shall be completed by a specified date to be determined by the Convener of Examiners, in accordance with established procedures.
    6. A candidate shall be permitted to revise and resubmit a dissertation for examination once only.
    7. If a revised and resubmitted dissertation is finally accepted, the result shall be either Pass or Fail (i.e. ungraded) and without eligibility for the award of the degree with distinction or credit.
    8. Where examiners cannot agree on a result, the Convener of Examiners shall engage in established mediation procedures, and if unresolvable, so report to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting an independent referee who should normally be external to the Bioethics Centre.

  5. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  6. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may in exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the Board of Studies, approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

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