Bioethics & Society

The pandemic has reinstated the urgent need for a critical investigation of the ethical issues underlying public health policy. The MSc in Bioethics & Society, as the only programme in the UK housed in a Faculty of social sciences and public policy, is extremely well positioned to prepare new graduates who can work in policy making and beyond in other health-care sectors.

The Bioethics & Society MSc programme was launched at King’s College London in 2014/15, housed in the Department of Social Science Health & Medicine (later renamed Global Health & Social Medicine) founded by sociologist Professor Nikolas Rose in 2012. It was felt that there was the need for a critical, social sciences approach to bioethics, which could complement the existing expertise at King’s College London in medical ethics and law. I worked with Dr Ilina Singh and Dr Annette Rid on curriculum development and design and led on the recruitment and admission of the first cohort of the programme. I’ve been Director of the programme until September 1st, 2022. I’m immensely proud of all the amazing alumni have achieved with careers in a variety of sectors all over the world.

I disagree with the current orientation of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy at King’s that Master’s programmes with less than thirty students should be flagged at risk and closed down if they do not reach a target of 30 as recruitment. Bioethics is a niche field and we can’t possibly graduate 30 students a year. There are other important qualitative and pedagogical metrics in addition to quantitative which should be taken into account when evaluating the worth of a programme.

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With the fantastic 1st cohort of the Bioethics & Society programme, 2014/15. From left to right (top row): Elizabeth Carlson, Shayda Kashef, Rose Mortimer, Kim Fiske, Hanna Gouta, Aimee Bambury. Middle row from left to right: Amber Collingwood, Andrea Berkemeier, Andrew Barnhart, Darius …., Richard Wordsworth, Jake Friedenberg, Yobi Livingstone, Richard Gibson, Alex Meyer. Bottom row from left to right: Maru Mormina, James Aluri, Paolo Buscemi, Dr Silvia Camporesi.

I attach an alumni testimony on the publishing and engagement experiences she had in this programme during the initial months of the pandemic, who highlighted the value of tools and support gained during the programme at King’s and calls for a continued presence of the programm.