Triangle

Course overview

Our course is unique. You’ll explore the molecular genetic basis of disease from both a human and infectious disease perspective.

Key topics that you’ll cover include:

  • the molecular basis to human genetic diseases
  • the molecular basis to infectious diseases
  • molecular diagnostic technologies in healthcare
  • bioinformatics and statistics
  • research skills

On this course, you will:

  • experience an advanced study in the theoretical and practical aspects of the genetic basis and diagnosis of disease from both human and pathogen perspectives
  • be involved with an active research laboratory where you will develop the skills essential for a career in research
  • train to carry out critical evaluation of published scientific papers and develop the ability to report and interpret results
  • study the latest diagnostic technologies in healthcare

You will work with an active research group throughout your project - getting involved in research at the forefront of the University's research strategy.

This course is suitable for graduates in life sciences, biomedical sciences, and allied subjects, as well as those already employed in science, laboratory, or medical fields.

Why choose this course?

World-Leading research

100% of UoA24 (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism) and 84% of the UoA5 (Biological Sciences) research submitted was judged to be "world-leading" (4*), or "Internationally Excellent" (3*).

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Gold-standard teaching

Our teaching is recognised as the highest standard

Course content

You will study 120 credits of taught modules and undertake a 60 credit research project. Further information on the modules this course covers is available under the modules tab.

For the research project, you’ll have a choice from topics provided by academics across diverse research areas. Working alongside active researchers in laboratories, you’ll carry out contemporary research by performing wet or dry-lab experiments, such as bioinformatic analysis, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.

The research project includes an oral examination and dissertation.

Modules

Core modules (15 each)

Statistics 10 credits

Statistics is concerned with methods for collecting, organising, summarising, presenting and analysing data. It enables us to draw valid conclusions and make reasonable decisions based on the analysis. It can be used to answer a diverse range of questions such as:

  • Do the results of a clinical trial indicate that a new drug works?
  • Is the HS2 rail project likely to be cost-effective?
  • Should a company lend money to a customer with a given credit history?

In this module you’ll study statistical inference and learn how to analyse, interpret and report data. You’ll learn about the widely used statistical computer language R.

Your study will include:

  • exploratory data analysis
  • point estimators, confidence intervals
  • hypothesis testing
  • correlation, statistical inference
  • linear regression, chi-squared tests

These first-year topics give you the foundations for later related modules in:

  • statistical models and methods
  • data analysis and modelling
  • statistical machine learning
Molecular Evolution: Constructing the Tree of Life 10 credits

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees.

Common Research Methods: Transferable Research Skills 10 credits

You will gain an understanding of how to plan, prepare and execute research in the field of molecular biology, microbiology immunology and genetics. As well as learning how to manage the various stages of research projects, you will gain experience presenting research data and preparing publications. This module will also enhance your ability to critically assess published literature and analyse data.

Common Research Methods: Molecular Techniques 10 credits

During these practical laboratory sessions, you will gain experience of standard techniques related to laboratory research in the fields of immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics. From this, you will appreciate the workflow of gene cloning, followed by sequence analysis of genes and their variability, as well as cloning and expression of recombinant proteins.

Biochemistry of Cancer 20 credits

Study modern ideas surrounding tumourigenesis and tumour progression. The first part of the course covers our current understanding of the molecular basis of tumour progression. Following lectures will focus both on research into the fundamentals of cancer biology and the biochemical basis for the treatment of patients with cancer.

This module covers some of the more modern ideas surrounding tumourigenesis and tumour progression. The first part of the course will cover our current understanding of the molecular basis of tumour progression. Following lectures will focus both on research into the fundamentals of cancer biology and the biochemical basis for the treatment of patients with cancer. The following features will be included:

  1. The role of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes in normal and tumour cells.
  2. Multistep tumourigenesis and the hallmarks of cancer.
  3. Cancer cell invasion and metastasis.
  4. Genome instability.
  5. Cancer stem cells.
  6. The tumour microenvironment.
  7. Cancer research.
  8. Cancer therapy.

The aim of this course is to expand the student’s knowledge of how cancer cells form, how they metastasise and explain and discuss how cancer research is undertaken and current approaches to cancer treatments.

Molecular Services in Health Care 20 credits

On this module, you will gain knowledge and understanding of the application of molecular diagnostic techniques in the health service including: genetic counselling, molecular clinical genetics, cytogenetics, population screening and cellular pathology.

You will also explore the factors to be considered for setting up a molecular diagnostic laboratory as well as appreciating the ethical considerations to genetic counselling and genetic screening.

Bioinformatics 10 credits

Through lectures and workshops in the spring semester, you will receive training in key skills in bioinformatics. You will work their way through a series of exercises designed to provide experience of the common bioinformatics techniques and challenges presented by large datasets, both of which characterise many fields of modern biological research. In the final workshops you are given individual research projects. Using the skills acquired during the module, students undertake an independent bioinformatic analysis and write a short report describing their results.

Human Molecular Genetics and Epigenetics 10 credits

The primary focus will be on Mendelian pattern of inheritance; genetic models of complex disease and population genetics; epigenetic processes and the relationship between (epi)genomics and expression of disease.

This module covers molecular human molecular genetics and epigenetics and relationships with disease. The primarily focus will be on Mendelian pattern of inheritance; genetic models of complex disease and population genetics; epigenetic processes and the relationship between (epi)genomics and expression of disease. The lectures will cover clinical features of selected diseases and their genetic and molecular basis. The workshops will provide experience in using genomic tools and opportunities to discuss the concepts underlying disease and modes of inheritance, and, the identification of predisposing genes in human disorders.

The content will be blended with online asynchronous, synchronous and face to face teaching. The following topics will be addressed:

  • Modes of inheritance
  • Pedigree analysis
  • Identifying disease genes
  • Mutations and functional genomics
  • Genotype-phenotype relationships
  • Population genetics
  • Epigenetic processes and diseases
  • Protein modifications
  • Assessment details- poster
  • Poster presentation
Current Molecular Technologies 10 credits

This module provides an extensive overview of the current technology and molecular techniques used in molecular biology research of human diseases, and explores the possible implications of such methods.

This module provides an extensive overview of the current technology and molecular techniques used in molecular biology research of human diseases, and explores the possible implications of such methods.

Molecular Basis to Microbial Infection 10 credits

This module will use several genetic regulatory systems to illustrate the control and activity of key virulence factors in representative bacterial and viral pathogens as well as considering the tools used for diagnosis and monitoring infectious diseases.

This module will use several genetic regulatory systems to illustrate the control and activity of key virulence factors in representative bacterial and viral pathogens as well as considering the tools used for diagnosis and monitoring infectious diseases.

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the molecular genetic systems which underpin virulence in bacterial and viral pathogens. You're encouraged to consider disease from both the human and pathogen perspective throughout. This will be achieved through lectures and problem based learning sessions.

Research project (60 credits)

Research Project 60 credits

On this 60 credit module you will design and execute a research programme – performing experiments, surveys, analysing data and undertaking other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem in the subject area you are studying. You will discuss the research project with your academic supervisor before the project begins.

As well as gaining the technical and project management skills required for contemporary research, you will develop the ability to write scientific texts through producing a dissertation based on your research findings. This report is discussed with academic staff during an oral examination.

The topic and form of project may vary from laboratory-based work, bioinformatics or extended literature reviews, depending on the expertise of our academic staff and which course you are enrolled on.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 20 July 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Tutorials
  • eLearning
  • Self-study

Alongside University academic staff, colleagues working in molecular diagnostics and clinical genetics in the NHS may contribute to the teaching on the course.

The online MSc database provides a central point for you to access your timetable, assessment results and easy access to additional module resources provided by staff.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Written exam
  • Oral exam
  • Essay
  • Poster presentation
  • Dissertation
  • Viva voce

Assessment methods vary depending on the topic being studied.  

Contact time and study hours

As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. For the taught-stage of the course, you will spend approximately a third of your time (around 400 hours) in lectures, tutorials, workshops, practical classes, including the directed study which is necessary in preparation for workshops/practical classes. The remaining time will be completed as independent study. Tutorial sessions are built into the timetable and there are several group and individual meetings timetabled throughout the year. Additional meetings can be requested as needed.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 honours degree in life sciences, biomedical sciences or allied subjects

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

Our libraries contain all relevant books and research journals you might require, however, if you wish to purchase these materials for yourself, you should take this into consideration.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Students from our full suite of MSc courses have gone on to a variety of positions, including:

  • UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency)
  • PhD London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Infection Control Nurses
  • NHS Clinical Scientists
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist – AMGEM Biotech
  • PhD School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • Clinical Trial Data Managers
  • Application Specialist Biological Sciences, Japan
  • Biomedical Scientists (BMS1)
  • Research Technician – University of Nottingham
  • Research Scientist – GlaxoSmithKline

Career progression

94.9% of postgraduates from the School of Life Sciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £21,400 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 20 July 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.