New Course in Biotechnological Law & Ethics

Julian Kinderlerer J.Kinderlerer at
Mon Mar 7 13:27:51 EST 1994

MA/Diploma in Biotechnological Law and Ethics (MABLE) at the
University of Sheffield

A new Masters degree in Biotechnological Law and Ethics is to be
introduced at the University of Sheffield in September 1994.  This
course is aimed at scientists and at those studying ethics and Law.

Further information may be obtained from

J.Kinderlerer at (Dr. J. Kinderlerer, Department of
Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, PO Box 594, Sheffield, S10 2UH).

or by writing to the Faculty of Law at the University of Sheffield,
Sheffield, UK (address given at the end of this post).

For the purposes of this degree Biotechnology is very widely defined.

An Introduction to the Programme

This one year taught course (2 years part-time), which is being
offered for the first time in September 1994 aims
*   to provide students with expert information about current and
    likely future developments in biotechnology, and about current
    regulation of biotechnology;
*   to provide students with a grounding in law and ethics to enable
    them to critically evaluate existing regulation of biotechnology,
    and to give legally and ethically informed advice on the
    regulation of biotechnology.

The MA aims, additionally, to equip students to undertake
research degrees in the field of legal and ethical issues of

The course will be taught by members of staff based in the Faculty of
Pure Science and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry as well as by
staff in the Faculty of Law. Apart from the Department of Law,
Departments or Schools contributing to the course include the
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, the School of Mathematics
and Statistics, the Department of Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology, the Department of Biomedical Science, the Department
of Forensic Pathology, the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical
Engineering; the Department of Medicine and Pharmacology (especially
the sections of Molecular Genetics, Molecular Medicine, and
Pharmacology and Therapeutics), the Department of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, the Department of Psychiatry; and the Department of
Surgical Sciences.

It will be of interest to graduates from a variety of backgrounds. It
will appeal to

*   law graduates who wish to practice in the field of law and
    biotechnology (including patent law);
*   health service professionals, medical scientists, and biologists
    who are interested in law and ethics in the field of
*   any students interested in the field of law and ethics of

    British and EC students may apply to the British Academy for
    studentships. Northern Ireland students may also apply to the
    Department of Education, Northern Ireland, and Scottish
    students may also apply to the Scottish Education Department.
    ODASSS awards are available to some Commonwealth students. In
    certain circumstances  some charitable money may be available
    to assist self-funding students.

    An Introduction to the Faculty of Law
    The Faculty of Law at Sheffield has an extensive and long-standing
    commitment to postgraduate teaching and research. The Centre for
    Socio-Legal Studies, the Centre for
    Criminological and Legal Research, the Unit for Commercial Law
    Studies, and the Institute for the Study of the Legal Profession,
    constitute forums for communal discussion of research and
    co-operative endeavours. The Faculty also hopes to contribute to
    setting up an Institute for the Study of Law and Ethics in
    Biotechnology in 1994, and has a close association with the
    Common Law Institute of Intellectual Property. In addition, as
    well as being able to employ the services of staff in highly
    rated biological and medical departments, MABLE is able to draw on
    the expertise of the Krebs Institute, the Medico-Legal Centre, the
    Centre for Human Genetics, the Sheffield Centre for Health and
    Related Research, and both the South and North Sheffield
    Research Ethics Committees.

The Faculty's commitment to research, and the quality of work done,
is reflected in the award of a 4A rating (or its equivalent) in the
Research Selectivity exercises carried out by the HEFC(E) and its
predecessors. The Faculty is one of the top eleven rated research law
schools in the United Kingdom. The departments of Molecular Biology &
Biotechnology and Animal & Plant Sciences have also been awarded 4A
ratings in the Research Selectivity exercises.

In the current HEFC(E) Teaching Assessment exercise, teaching in the
Law Faculty has been rated "excellent."

Programme Content
All students are required to take the following modules:
    Moral Theory
    Understanding Law
    Developments in Biotechnology
    Intellectual Property & Biotechnology
    Current Regulation of Biotechnology
    Research Ethics
and to attend a programme of research seminars given by members of
staff or research students or by externally invited speakers.

Students must take at least four optional modules, of which at least
three modules must be from a list that will usually include the
Artificial Organs, Prosthetic Devices, and Life-Support Systems
Issues in Organ Transplantation Issues in Laboratory and
Industrial Biotechnology
Issues in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issues in Human Genetics I: Clinical Developments
Issues in Plant and Food Technologies
Issues in Human Genetics II: Population Genetics
Issues in Biological Forensic Techniques

Students may take one module from a list that will usually include
        Law and the Policy Process          The Concept of Law
        Labour Law                          Environmental Law
            Aspects of International Human Rights Law

Students taking the MA must, additionally, present a dissertation,
and attend a programme of research skills seminars.

Programme Structure
Students may study for MABLE on a full-time basis over a period of
one year, or on a part-time basis over a period of two years. For
full-time students, MABLE runs from 26 September
1994 until 18 September 1995 (MA students) or 7 July 1995 (Diploma

Modules are taught by weekly sessions of two hours duration and run
for 6 weeks (with the exception of Moral Theory, Understanding Law,
Developments in Biotechnology, and Research Ethics, which each run
for 12 weeks).

All students are assessed in Current Regulation of Biotechnology, and
Research Ethics, for each of which they must submit an essay of 4,500-
5,000 words (or an equivalent piece of assessed work). MA candidates
must submit a dissertation of 15,000- 20,000 words on a topic
agreed between the student and a member of staff who will act as
supervisor for the dissertation. Diploma students do not do a
dissertation, but must, instead, submit one essay of
4,500-5,000 words (or an equivalent piece of assessed work) for each
of three modules chosen from Intellectual Property & Biotechnology,
and their four chosen options.

In order to obtain either the degree or the diploma all units of
assessment must be passed.

Entry Requirements
Students will normally need a 2.1 or better undergraduate degree,
which need be neither in law nor in an area of biology or medicine.
Candidates with lesser or different qualifications will,
however, be considered on an individual basis. Overseas students are
welcome, but applicants whose first language is not English will
normally be expected to have a recognised qualification
in English Language, such as TOEFL or the British Council Test

Fees and Finance
    UK/EC students        GBP  stlg2,350
    Overseas students     GBP  stlg5,718
    The fee for part-time students is pro rata. Please note that fees
quoted are for the full-time 1994-95 session, and are subject to
change each year thereafter.
    Self-financing students will be advised of a minimum level of
maintenance that will need to be guaranteed prior to registration.
A comprehensive accommodation and advisory service is available to
all students throughout their stay at the University. The range of
accommodation in Sheffield includes University Halls of Residence,
University self-catering flats, private flats and lodgings, Housing
Association and hostel accommodation.
    Whilst the Accommodation Officer provides every assistance to
students, please note that the offer of a place at the University
does not carry with it a guarantee that accommodation will be

Further Information and Applications

For further details and application forms, please contact:
                The Postgraduate Admissions Secretary
                Faculty of Law
                University of Sheffield
                P.O. Box 598
                Crookesmoor Building
                Sheffield S10 1FL
                United Kingdom  Tel: (0742) 826770
                Fax: (0742) 721319
Closing date for receipt of applications:
British Academy applicants   21 March
Self-funding applicants      31 July (although late applicants may be

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