Course overview

Actively participate in the exciting field of Stem Cell Technology and Regenerative Medicine with the longest-running course of its kind in the UK. 

Discover how we obtain and maintain adult, embryonic and pluripotent stem cells and their potential to repair tissue damage and cure diseases like diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, and dementia.

Deepen your knowledge of the practical skills and techniques required to study the science of stem cells. You'll also gain a strong understanding of the business, ethical, and legal aspects of dealing with them. The course culminates in an in-depth six-month independent research project. You'll study a topic you're interested in, work with experts in the field and use some of the latest technology in our new Biodiscovery Institute.

Whether you aim to go into industry or further research into stem cells, this course is the perfect opportunity for you to gain the knowledge and skills you'll need to succeed.

Why choose this course?

Longest running course

in Stem Cell Technology in the UK

Guest speakers

Benefit from international expert guest speakers in stem cell technology

Exceptional facilities

Learn in and experience using the latest technologies at our new Biodiscovery Institute

Extended lab project

Spend six-month in the laboratory working on your research project on your chosen area

Course content

You'll study across a number of compulsory modules designed to introduce you to stem cell types and functions including specific lab techniques like cell culture and the clinical application of stem cells. You'll also learn about the legal and regulatory frameworks and business opportunities which surround stem cells.

The course takes place over three semesters, autumn, spring, and summer. Typically taught modules are delivered in the autumn and spring semesters with the summer used for the research project.

You'll take all of the modules for a total of 180 credits.


Adult and Foetal Stem Cells 30 credits

Expand your understanding of a broad range of adult and foetal stem cell types, including haematopoeitic, mesenchymal, neural and cord blood cells, with emphasis on both basic biology and clinical applications.

Laboratory skills in culture and differentiation of adult stem cells is provided. Tutorial sessions cover ethical issues, the clinical facilities required for human stem cell transplantation and critical analysis of high profile stem cell papers. 

Cell, Developmental and Molecular Biology 20 credits

Gain an in-depth understanding of the molecular basis of cancer including normal cell regulatory mechanisms and how these are altered during the carcinogenic process.

Pluripotent Stem Cells 30 credits

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the biology, culture, derivation, differentiation ethics and commercialization of human and mouse embryonic pluripotent stem cells.

The practical sessions within the course will provide laboratory experience of the range of the range of techniques in current use for culture, differentiation, manipulation and assessment and transfection of these cells.

During practical sessions students acquire the laboratory skills necessary for work with pluripotent stem cells.  Thus, a major part of this module is learning and demonstrating proficiency. The tutorial sessions are designed to explore the legislation, clinical application and current obstacles to commercialization of these cells, in addition to covering critical evaluation of embryonic pluripotent stem cell experimental design.

Research Skills and Technology Exploitation 20 credits

In addition to providing the presentation and analytical skills required to assess and pursue further stem cell opportunities, in this module you will undertake a group-based Business Plan project. Through this you will gain experience in business development, intellectual property exploitation and the ethical and legal frameworks that govern stem cell developments. 

Translational Technologies for Stem Cells 20 credits

This module covers four core areas: 

  • Clinical and experimental applications for stem cells, including how stem cells can be used in drug development and understanding genetic disease, through to how stem cells are prepared for clinical use. It will also consider the challenges facing these tasks
  • Scalability and application of stem cells as well as the challenges of using automation and bioreactors to produce the quantities of cells required for clinical and biomedical use
  • Tissue engineering approaches for stem cells, the challenges of delivering stem cells for clinical transplantation, studies of the 3D culture of cells in bioreactor systems and the use of engineered scaffolds for optimal stem cell culture and tissue growth for biological applications
  • Interdisciplinary research which exposes the state-of-the-art advances of the interface between stem cell biology and physical science techniques
Research Project 60 credits

This module enables students to experience contemporary research methods by engaging them to design a research programme and perform experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.

Each student will be allocated an academic supervisor with whom they will discuss the research project prior to commencement. Students will first collect, analyse data, read and collate previous results relevant to their project, then embark on a period of research before preparing, writing and submitting a scientific paper. They will write a clear and concise report and will discuss their work with academic members during an oral presentation.

The form of project may vary and it will be based on laboratory work, audit, patient studies or an extended literature review. The principal activities will be completion of the practical work and submission of a final report in the form of a dissertation and presentation.

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 Thursday 21 March 2024.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • eLearning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Facility visits

How you will be assessed

  • Essays
  • Lab reports
  • Lab performance
  • Presentations
  • Poster presentation
  • Exams
  • Viva voce
  • Business plan
  • In-class test

Your work will be assessed during or at the end of each module through a variety of means.

To complete a module and gain its credits you'll need to make sure you attend at least 90% of your timetabled sessions and get over the 50% pass mark.

To achieve the MSc, you'll need a total of 180 credits.

Contact time and study hours

We encourage our students to think of the course like they would a full-time job and spend around 37 hours on it per week including teaching time.

You're expected to work roughly 10 hours for each credit on the course including teaching and independent study, so a 20 credit module should take around 200 hours to complete or around a total of 25 eight-hour days.

You'll learn over a period of two semesters and a summer period totalling around 12 months.

Teaching is usually delivered throughout the week during the semesters. You'll have an average of up to 16 hours of contact time each week, however, time and days of teaching will depend on the modules.

Non-teaching days are intended for private study and research.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1
Additional information

If your first degree is not biology-based, you must also have A level Biology at Grade B or above.

2:2 undergraduate degrees will be considered if you have demonstrated practical skills through working in industry or academia for at least six months. All students with 2:2 degrees will be required to have an interview.


If you have any questions about applying to the course or studying at the University of Nottingham, please use our enquiry form

You can also contact the course director, Dr Alexander Thompson if you have any questions about the course content.

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

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £14,700
International £35,750

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.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses such as travel and accommodation.

You should be able to access the books and resources you need for the course through our libraries, however you may wish to purchase your own copies or get specific books which may cost up to £80 each.


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


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

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Since 2008, over 45% of our students have gone on to do a PhD in universities around the world, others have also progressed into academia as assistant professors and research fellows.

Many are also working in biotechnology and positions in the stem cell industry and government-funded agencies (like stem cell banks) in roles such as:

  • Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Direct (Regrow, Mumbai)
  • Group Leader (Adaptimmune)
  • Product Manager (Janssen)
  • Analyst and Insight Manager (Novartis)
  • Research Executive (Axol Bioscience)
  • Associate Project Manager (Amgen)
  • Research and Design Manager (Future Health Biobank)
  • Scientist (Reneuron)

Others have found roles in regularity and associated areas including Gene Therapy Trial Co-ordinator (National Institute for Health research), Stem Cell Scientist (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and Trainee Patent Attorney (Forresters).

Career progression

78.4% of postgraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,505.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" Academically, the course helped me gain a general understanding of the stem cell field. It helped me gain confidence, communicate clearly and prepared me for the outside world. Before starting, I had no experience working in a lab, so during the year, I learned and developed a wide range of practical lab skills. Without them, it would have been impossible to aim for my PhD. "
Ana Valverde, 2018 MSc Graduate

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 21 March 2024. 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.