Qualification name:Stem Cell Technology
Duration:1 year full-time
Entry requirements:Candidates must normally be graduates of an approved university, or other institution of higher education. The minimum requirement for entry is a 2(i) degree or equivalent.
Including:A 2(ii) will be considered if the student has demonstrated practical skills through, for example, working in industry or academia for at least 6 months.
IELTS:6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
This course is internationally leading in the field. There are other courses in the UK in this area but based on its curriculum and quality of teaching this one leads.
- Professor Neil Hanley, External Examiner 2007-2011
This pioneering course aims to maximise the employability of students. Our track record shows 90% of graduates secure stem cell technology-related posts including PhDs, positions in industry and government-funded agencies (e.g. stem cell banks).
The course content has been designed in consultation with stem cell experts and potential employers in biotechnology, academia, industry and bodies regulating stem cells, to provide the necessary expertise to compete in an ever changing world.
- This is the original and longest-running MSc Stem Cell Technology course in the UK; since 2007 it has been providing a unique blend of interdisciplinary expertise to students.
- The course is 12 months full-time study from October to September, of which 40% is lab-based.
- Taught modules comprise cell and molecular biology, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, adult stem cells, clinically-relevant regenerative medicine, ethics of stem cell technology, and new for 2013, translational technologies for stem cells.
- Nottingham is in the top 1% of world universities
- The University is set in a beautiful campus, and its eco-friendly credentials mean it is ranked first in the world (UI Greenmetric World University 2011.) A safe and attractive setting with very low crime statistics when compared with large city centre campuses.
- Teaching is by leading research scientists who are working at the cutting edge of new developments, ensuring the most recent research is integrated into the course.
- Teaching also incorporates guest speakers recognised as international experts in the stem cell technology field, including clinicians who want to use stem cells in regenerative medicine.
- Student feedback indicates that a highlight is the individual full-time three-month lab-based project. This provides insight into current high quality research, and is undertaken in world-class facilities within the Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling (STEM).
- Students learn a broad range of transferrable skills including critical analysis, data handling, oral and written skills. A highlight is the business plan competition, which concludes in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch.
- A maximum of 16 students gives excellent staff/student ratios, small tutor groups and a supportive learning environment.
This intensive but highly interdisciplinary course is suitable for those with a science related background, for example from biology, physical science or bioengineering degrees. In addition, it is suitable for business, mathematics, and medicine graduates who wish to continue in their chosen disciplines with stem cell specialisations.
Candidates must normally be graduates of an approved university, or other institution of higher education with at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent preferred but a high 2:2 with additional experience (eg science-related work) may be considered acceptable. English Language minimum requirement: 6.5 in the IELTS exam (no less than 6.0 in any element) or 87 in the TOEFL IBT with no less than 21 in listening, 22 in reading, 23 in speaking and 21 in writing.
The MSc Stem Cell Technology is taught on a full-time basis over one year (usually from October through to September).
The taught sections of the course occur in the autumn and spring semesters, during which you will be required to undertake five compulsory modules worth 120 credits in total.
During the summer semester, you will undertake a three-month, 60-credit research project and produce a dissertation.
Assessment is based on coursework assignments, essays and laboratory reports, as well as a business plan e-portfolio and written examinations.
You can expect to spend approximately 40% of the taught course practically based in the laboratory.
Research, IT and presentation skills courses have been purpose-designed for the MSc Stem Cell technology by the University's Graduate School.
The course content covers the following key areas:
Stem Cell Laboratory Techniques
Stem cell culture and the specialist analytical skills to evaluate stem cells form a significant part of the MSc course.
You will be given state of the art practical training in the following areas of stem cell research:
- Mouse and human embryonic stem cell culture
- Culture of various adult stem cell types
- Stem Cell Tissue Engineering
- Differentiation of stem cells
- Evaluation by PCR, FACS, imaging and cytogenetics
- Transfection and genetic modification
The skills and techniques you will learn are used throughout the entire MSc programme and you will have access to the modern facilities used by researchers in the Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling.
Legal/ Regulatory Frameworks and Business Opportunities
The future of stem cell technology is dependent on the complex regulatory frameworks being developed within individual countries to govern the use, patenting and commercialisation of stem cells. As such, the course places considerable emphasis on the latest developments and on highlighting the current issues.
You will have the opportunities to examine the wide range of varying policies in the UK and other countries. Through both tutor-led tutorials and student-led sessions, the key issues will be debated with experts in stem cell ethics, law and patenting.
The challenges of delivering stem cells to the clinic are explored at several levels during the course. Relevant to clinical translation, you will acquire skills and knowledge in the following areas:
- Growing cells in bioreactors and on scaffolds to enhance patient delivery
- The regulations governing clinical transplantation
- The production of clinical quality stem cells
- The principles of clinical trials
- Stem cell banking
Throughout the entire MSc course, emphasis is placed on the applications of the stem cell culture expertise gained in the research laboratory. Examples of clinical use of stem cell types will be discussed by leading clinicians.
The attention to experimental design, conducting research and analysing/presenting data is aimed to provide an insight into the nature of high quality research and allow you the opportunity to develop a specific area of current relevance.
This course comprises five taught modules:
and a research project:
Summer projects offer real experience. During the summer semester, you will undertake a three-month, 60-credit research project and produce a dissertation. From May to August all our students work on real projects that are aligned with academics working at the cutting edge of research.
Each year, our students have a choice of around 21 different projects. We've listed a few of the titles below to give you an idea of what might be available.
- Generating a hepatoblast cell line to make liver cells from human pluripotent stem cells.
- Improving the epigenetic stability of human pluripotent stem cells.
- Genetic modification to direct differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells
- Recreating tissue micro-architectures for developmental biology models and tissue engineering.
- Characterization of epithelial cell differentiation on electrosplun scaffolds
- Engineering a biomimetic model of human artery.
- Tissue engineering in hostile environments: how inflammation effects bone repair.
- Understanding heart disease using human induced pluripotent stem cell lines.
- The influence of epigenetics in neural stem cells and brain tissue
- Dissecting the genetic and hormonal regulation of the root stem cell niche.
Home students are advised to contact their local Training and Enterprise Council about career development loans.
The Graduate School at The University of Nottingham also provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.
The University of Nottingham International Office provides information of a variety of scholarships available on a competitive basis to international students. In addition, students from eligible developing countries of the Commonwealth can apply for scholarships under the Developing Solutions International Scholarship Programme.
EU and International students are also advised to examine funding opportunities arising from their own countries.
See more information regarding Student Fees and Finance.
The MSc in Stem Cell Technology will provide you with a diverse range of practical skills and vocational knowledge. Students who have completed the course are in the position to use the expertise gained to follow a number of varied career paths.
Career possibilities include:
- Further academic studies (i.e. PhD)
- Biotechnology sector research/sales
- Stem cell business development
- Stem cell banking
- Stem cell patents
- Stem cell clinical translation
- Charity research development
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Stem cell regulatory bodies
Average starting salary and career progression
Approximately 90% of graduates gain related employment, with 60% of these progressing to academic posts or further study (Home/EU and International students).
In 2014, 98% of postgraduates in the School of Medicine who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £31,261 with the highest being £75,000.*
*Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2013/14.
Career prospects and employability
The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.