PhD in Healthcare Ethics and Law

The Centre for Ethics in Medicine can provide supervision for a PhD in Ethics in Medicine in areas related to the research themes of the Centre and the research interests of its staff.

BABEL PhD Studentships Available

For more information on how to apply, please see the 'funding' section below.

The deadline for applications is 9am (GMT), 4 April 2019.

Research training

PhD students will be expected to attend training offered by the Department of Population Health, in which the Centre for Ethics in Medicine is located. Depending on qualifications already obtained and the nature of the project to be undertaken, students may receive additional training on:  

  • Research methods in bioethics
  • Health care ethics theory
  • Health care law

Some of these sessions will involve participation in existing programmes, including the BSc Bioethics. Additional training is provided through research seminars and meetings.

All registered PhD students also have access to the Department Short Course programme.


We currently have 3 PhD studentships available, associated with our five year BABEL project, for commencement in autumn 2019. Depending on the project and supervisors, successful candidates will be registered in the Centre for Ethics in Medicine (Population Health Sciences, Medical School) or the Centre for Health, Law, and Society (Law School) at the University of Bristol. There is a two-stage application process. First, candidates apply for BABEL funding. Funding applications must be emailed to by 9am (GMT), 4 April 2019. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview, which are expected to be held on 21 May 2019.

Those who are awarded funding then, secondly, apply for a place on the PhD programme (more guidance on the second stage will be provided to those successfully awarded the in-principle funding). Detailed information about what we are looking for and what the process involves can be downloaded here: 

BABEL PhD advertisement (PDF, 217kB)

Bristol Medical School has some studentships available, which are normally advertised in January each year. Applicants are also welcome to contact the University Student Finance Office or the Centre to discuss possible sources of funding. Examples of potential funding sources for bioethical research include the Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council. Any prospective student, whether UK, EU, or overseas, who can provide evidence of funding, is welcome to apply for postgraduate study.

If you would like help or advice in working up an application for funding, please get in touch.

Entry requirements

Potential applicants for the PhD programme in the Centre for Ethics in Medicine need to have at least a good Honours degree in a relevant subject e.g. philosophy/ethics, law, social science, theology, health care.  Proficiency in English is essential.

Details of the required academic qualifications and English language requirements.


Details of current tuition fees for this programme. Further information on fees and living expenses.

If you are seeking funding, please see our postgraduate funding opportunities and advice.

Application procedure

Applicants are encouraged to email Initial inquiries ought to be supported with a brief outline of the area(s) of bioethics in which the applicant is interested. At this stage we would especially welcome:

  • A brief curriculum vitae
  • An outline research proposal of 500-1,500 words

If you are intending to apply, you will need to submit a formal application, but potential applicants are strongly encourged to make contect with us with us before doing so.

Applications are in principle welcome at any time, but we encourage applicants who intend to commence their research in autumn to ensure that their application reaches us in the spring/early summer.

I am wonderfully supported as a first year PhD student at CEM. The warm and welcoming multidisciplinary team provides an environment for innovation and the cross-pollination of ideas which is essential for any thriving research community.

Helen Smith, 1st Year Phd student, and Critical Care Nurse

The Centre for ethics in medicine is a very friendly, welcoming and inclusive environment to study in.

Dr Paul Teed, 2nd year PhD student, and Accident & Emergency Physician
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