Postgraduate study

Molecular Pathology, Bioinformatics and Diagnostics PGCert (Distance-learning)

This course is unique in its blend of scientific and clinical expertise and benefits from strong ties between the clinical and laboratory aspects of histopathology including molecular pathology.
3 months online
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Candidates with medical degrees (histopathology and other specialities, in-training) will be automatically eligible for enrolment on the course: students enrolling from other disciplines should normally hold a minimum of a 2:2 from an approved University; applicants with a qualification and additional experiential learning, may also be considered in exceptional circumstances
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£3,825 - Terms apply
International fees
£8,400 - Terms apply





This course is particularly suitable for graduates wishing to pursue a career in molecular pathology research or in industry (especially molecular diagnostics).

For those who are medically qualified, they will proceed to be consultants or clinical academics in histopathology, oncology etc. Being a distance learning programme, this allows the opportunity to time manage your learning flexibly.

For histopathology registrars in the UK, this will be an excellent opportunity to prepare as clinicians with a special interest in molecular pathology. For established consultants, this will be a perfect opportunity to develop expertise in molecular pathology.

Key facts

1. For both medically qualified graduates and non-medical science graduates

Science graduates mainly in life-sciences, genetics, biomedical sciences, pathology, biochemistry and microbiology are expected to find the course useful.

The course will:

  • provide training for a career in life sciences/allied disciplines (including the area of molecular diagnostics)
  • improve employability in the rapidly expanding market of molecular diagnostics
  • be a source of continuing professional development for persons already employed in the molecular diagnostics or biotechnology industry
  • be a firm foundation for NHS clinical scientists and biomedical staff in pathology to complete higher research training

For the medically qualified, the course would be most suitable for those undertaking/wishing to specialise in disciplines such as histopathology and allied disciplines, such as oncology and clinical genetics.

  • For histopathologists in training, this course will be an excellent opportunity to learn in-depth about molecular pathology, currently included in the Royal College of Pathologists, UK, curriculum and examined in the Year 1 OSPE and FRCPath exams
  • For qualified histopathologists, this training programme can be part of professional development to stay abreast of latest developments in molecular pathology
  • Medical staff from allied disciplines, such as oncology and clinical genetics who wish to add on in-depth experience of molecular diagnostics to incorporate into patient care, will also benefit from this course
  • Fresh medical graduates may also undertake this course as a career development initiative
2. A high-quality flexible programme delivered entirely by distance learning
  • The distance learning delivered taught component can be undertaken from any location, offering flexibility to students to learn from their home/job location and hence offering indirect advantages of cost savings on relocation/subsistence for about three months
  • Further, the taught component of the course is truly multi-disciplinary; the discipline of molecular pathology as we know today is multidisciplinary involving clinicians, histopathologists, geneticists, bio-informaticians, statisticians and industry
  • Both the research and taught modules on the course, promote inter-disciplinary interactions and utilises the expertise of specialist staff
  • Training will be delivered using a variety of different methods (lectures, tutorials, problem solving, discussion forum, workshops); the online training will be supplemented with regular “live sessions” with module convenors
  • Focussed delivery of the taught component within ~3 months, helping especially histopathologists, who would need a focussed delivery to supplement preparation for the Royal College Exams
  • Both clinical and molecular aspects including statistics and bioinformatics are balanced in coverage
3. The course aligns with prestigious UK initiatives

The course has been specifically tailored to address a critical skills gap (molecular diagnostics in pathology) identified by the MRC, EPSRC and Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath), UK.

The course is an established activity of the  Nottingham Molecular Pathology Node (NPMN), which is one of the six nodes in the UK, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop molecular pathology tests which will help deliver better targeted, more effective treatments – known as 'stratified medicine' – across a wide range of disease areas.




Full course details


The course integrates a range of teaching styles including: online podcasts, tutor led and self-guided computer-based exercises, course work and student-led presentations.

The course is studied full time over one semester (3 months). All 60 taught credits, at level 4, will be delivered by distance learning over three months. Formal assessments of the taught component will be at the end of the semester.


The course integrates a range of styles of assessment to ensure that knowledge has been gained including: computer-based exercises, timed coursework (short answers), word-limited written work and individual oral presentations which are sometimes time-limited.



  • Genetics and Gene Regulation (20 credits)
  • Statistics and Bioinformatics (20 credits)
  • Theoretical and Applied Molecular Diagnostics in the NHS (20 credits)

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



To find out about funding opportunities for international students, please see the our international scholarships information.



Careers and professional development

Students from our course are envisaged to go on to a wide variety of positions including: 

  • PhDs
  • clinical careers in histopathology
  • Molecular Diagnostics industries
  • pharmaceutical industries
  • postgraduate medicine programmes
  • patent lawyers
  • recruitment consultants
  • clinical trials

Average starting salary and career progression

As the course is in its first intake, course-specific data is not available at this iteration. However, indicators are available from other postgraduate courses within the school.

In 2016, 94.5% of postgraduates from the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £34,871 with the highest being £76,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.



Related courses and downloads


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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