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Legal Aspects of Medical Practice (LLM)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time blended learning

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

In recent years, the law relating to medicine and healthcare has become increasingly complex. This has significant consequences for medical practices and questions of legal liability and compensation. This programme aims to provide a sound knowledge of the legal rules applicable to the practice and administration of healthcare.


Cover a wide range of topics

Receive an introduction to medical law and study topics that include ethics, consent and negligence.


Diverse learning community

Study with law, medicine, nursing, dentistry, psychiatry and pharmacology graduates plus healthcare and health management professionals.


Attend residential weekends

This course is taught via four in-person residential weekends which allow you to continue your professional development whilst working in the sector.


Earn points while you study

Continuing medical education (CME) points will be awarded to doctors where appropriate.

Our LLM Legal Aspects of Medical Practice, established in 1987, aims to provide a sound knowledge of the legal rules applicable to, and the issues surrounding, the practice and administration of healthcare, as well as the ethical principles underpinning these rules.

The law relating to medicine and healthcare has become increasingly complex and patients are becoming more aware of their legal rights and the ethical principles which underline these rights. This has significant consequences for healthcare practices, the regulation of healthcare, and the relationships between patients and members of healthcare teams. This includes complex areas like patient information and consent, legal and professional regulation of healthcare professionals, clinical negligence, and beginning and end-of-life issues. Changes in the structure of the NHS are also giving rise to a number of important legal problems. Furthermore, an increased understanding of ethics and how this relates to both the practice and regulation of healthcare provide a ready source of criticism for existing and proposed legal rules.

This programme is taught via a series of in-person teaching blocks, each of which is delivered across a weekend (apart from the first block which includes a Friday). This enables you to fit study into your current working arrangements while still allowing the creation of a learning community.

You will have the opportunity to study topics in-depth and conduct research in areas of medical law and ethics of particular interest to you. The programme:

• Covers a wide spectrum of healthcare law and ethics topics;
• Stimulates a critical approach to evaluation of current and proposed regulation and cultivates independent and original thought;
• Enables you to undertake in-depth research and demonstrate advanced knowledge in specific areas of law.


Where you'll study

School of Law and Politics

Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 6102
  • MarkerMuseum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary science, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.  
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of your professional experience of working in the National Health Service or related administration. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The programme is delivered in two stages:

• Stage One (the taught component) comprises four 30-credit compulsory modules (120 credits);
• Stage Two (the dissertation stage) comprises the 60-credit dissertation.

Stage One is taught over a period of two years, through lectures, seminars and workshops in a series of eight weekend blocks. Modules in Stage One will provide a firm grounding for understanding the interaction between law, ethics, and healthcare. They focus on an introduction to medical law and ethics, the role of consent and capacity in healthcare, the regulation of healthcare practices by the law and professional bodies, and the role ethics plays in legal decision-making in complex healthcare cases. You will take two modules each academic year; each module will be studied over two block weekends (you will therefore attend four weekend blocks each academic year).

You will progress to the dissertation upon successful completion of Stage One.

If you do not satisfy the requirements of both stages you may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), subject to successful completion of the requisite number of taught modules and to meeting the criteria set out in the Senate Regulations for Modular Postgraduate Programmes.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

Year one comprises two compulsory 30-credit modules.

Year two

Year two comprises two compulsory 30-credit modules.  Upon successful completion of the taught stage at the end of year two, you will progress to the 60-credit dissertation.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Your modules will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, and individual and joint written oral presentations, during weekend teaching blocks. Modules are typically led by experienced staff actively engaged in research relevant to their subject area.

Distance learning delivery, in the form of e-modules supported by Learning Central, will support and enhance your learning between block weekends:
• a distinct e-module is aligned to each taught module;
• an additional e-module is available at programme level, providing materials relevant to the programme as a whole, as well as learning materials which will be developed throughout the course of the programme.

Studying at postgraduate level is intensive and challenging and it is important that you take full advantage of the teaching that is provided in order to succeed.  Attendance at all classes is compulsory and we will expect you to be well prepared and able to contribute to discussions and presentations.

How will I be assessed?

We make use of both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessments do not contribute towards your degree but are designed to give you the opportunity to develop your skills, practice for your summative assessments and enable you and your tutors to assess your progress in your modules.  Formative assessments will normally involve written coursework or a class test or may comprise individual student presentations. In addition to these formative assessments, multiple choice question quizzes (which allow you to self-test your substantive knowledge) may be available on the e-learning platform.

Summative assessments contribute towards your final award. Your results in these assessments:
• determine your formal progression through the programme; and
• determine your final award.

Each of the LLM Legal Aspects of Medical Practice modules delivered during stage one are summatively assessed. The Dissertation (up to 15,000 words) comprises the stage two summative assessment.

How will I be supported?

Your learning will be supported during weekend teaching blocks and, beyond this, through e-learning.  All taught modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus and through which you will be able to access a wide range of module materials and communicate with other members of your cohort via a discussion group facility.  In addition, a programme level Learning Central module will provide a range of materials for use throughout the lifespan of the programme.

You will receive dedicated pastoral support through our personal tutor scheme. You will be assigned a personal tutor who will be able to provide support, as required, between phases of face to face learning via email, phone, and skype.  Your personal tutor will operate designated office hours and will also make appointments with you outside of these general office hours, on request. Your personal tutor will also be able to signpost you to other areas of student support, should you need it.

A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities. The University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries with specialist law librarians and resource centres.

In addition, we offer an extensive programme of careers lectures and workshops with an in-house Law Careers Consultant.
Oral feedback will be provided during seminars, and you will also receive written feedback on both your formative and summative assessments.  Individual feedback on formative work will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your learning, as well as how you might improve your performance in summative assessments.  Written feedback will be made available no later than four weeks from the submission of your assessment.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding: 

On successful completion of the Programme you will be demonstrate the ability to:
• explain in detail, and with clarity and precision, the principal features of topics from medical law and ethics you have studied and any relevant proposals for regulatory/legal reform;
• display an understanding of the current principles and developments in medical law and ethics;
• critically evaluate and interpret the interaction between law and ethics;
• critically engage with sources of law so as to be able to discuss critically the wider context of legal rules relevant to medical law, healthcare and ethics;
• evaluate different methodologies and perspectives within legal scholarship and their application to topics studied on the programme.

Intellectual Skills: 

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
• appraise, analyse, interpret and apply the main principles and legal rules relevant to medical law, healthcare, and ethics, with appropriate references to independently identified primary and secondary materials.
• critically evaluate the doctrinal coherence and significance of the corpus of medical law and ethics;
• critically evaluate legal and healthcare issues and the implications of proposals for reform in a social, cultural and political context;
• critically evaluate problems and issues involving multiple interacting or complex legal, ethical, or healthcare factors.

Professional Practical Skills: 

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
• design and undertake independent research using primary and secondary materials relating to specific issues in medical law, ethics and healthcare practice;
• independently develop and analyse legal issues which involve complex interacting factors of law, healthcare and ethics;
• independently identify relevant primary and secondary sources on a new legal topic and demonstrate this ability by writing an essay, report or presenting an informed oral opinion;
• summarise sustained critical expositions of particular topics of study and explain and evaluate the findings clearly, logically and coherently in a way which is appropriate for a professional situation.

Transferable/Key Skills: 

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
• reflect on your own learning and the ability to conceive of ways to fill gaps in your knowledge or understanding;
• arrange, and take responsibility for, structuring, managing and reporting, orally or in writing, the outcome of independent research.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £8,100 None
Year two £8,100 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £11,475 £2,500
Year two £11,475 None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Career prospects

LLM Legal Aspects of Medical Practice graduates have gone on to become barristers, solicitors, coroners, police surgeons, general practitioners, consultants, dentists, NHS managers, pharmacists, nurse-tutors, doctors and dentists employed by the Department of Health and the Defence Organisations.

Next steps


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.