Genomic Medicine - MSc/Diploma/Certificate

The course is especially designed for healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds. It follows a syllabus specified by Health Education England (HEE) for training NHS staff in Genomic Medicine, and HEE has ring-fenced funding to allow NHS staff to study for the MSc (Genomic Medicine) at accredited provider institutions, including Birmingham.

Further information about HEE funding is now available. You can choose to study for the full Masters, the intermediate qualifications of Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate, or select individual modules as CPD.

The course is also suitable for other Home/EU or international students who wish to learn about the advances in genomics and bioinformatics particularly as relevant to medical applications, and the challenges of introducing the technology into a healthcare system.

The Programme aims to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills relating to genomics that will empower you to help lead the holistic integration of genomic technology into patient care within the National Health Service, including via the ambitious Genomics England Ltd (GeL) 100,000 Genomes Project which commenced in 2015.

The course begins with a brief revision of DNA, genes and genetics and updates these concepts to the scale of contemporary, whole-genome information. It will introduce to you the technologies for generating genome-wide data, and how the resulting vast quantities of data can be approached and interrogated to generate meaningful information that can be useful for families affected by inherited conditions, or for patients with acquired diseases including cancer and infections.

You will learn how to interrogate genomic data using bioinformatic tools to identify and investigate the pathogenicity of genetic variants, and relate these to real-life case-studies. The core modules also include consideration of the ethical, legal and social issues that surround genomic medicine, which can be further explored in an optional module. Other options include counselling skills and advanced bioinformatics.

Finally, you can choose either a 60-credit research project (which could be a computer-based bioinformatics project, a lab-based or clinically-based project, either in Birmingham or at your home institution), or a 30-credit dissertation (combined with additional taught modules), to hone your research skills while exploring a genomics-related project of your choice.

Why study this course

You will be taught by people who are leading experts in their field both from the University of Birmingham and the surrounding NHS Hospitals, including the adjacent Women’s Hospital and University Hospital Birmingham (UHB). As leader of the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC, a region-wide consortium of all NHS Trusts), UHB will be a major contributor to 100,000 Genomes Project, ensuring close integration between the Project and our MSc programme.

Many clinical staff teaching on the course are directly involved with the WMGMC, either as clinical leads or with key roles in the Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Service or the WM Regional Genetics Service, which are both at the leading edge of introducing technologies for stratified medicine (including genomics) into the NHS. You will have opportunities to visit these NHS facilities during the course. Sessions involving patient group representatives in several modules help to keep the patient at the focus of the course.

The University of Birmingham enjoys an attractive campus with excellent teaching and learning facilities, which is easy to reach either by rail (we are the only British University with its own railway station on campus, with frequent 8-minute connections to New Street Station in the city centre) or by road.


Students registered for the MSc in Genomic Medicine (180 credits) will take 4 mandatory core modules including either a  60-credit research project or a 30-credit dissertation, 3 elective core modules, and 1-3 additional core or optional modules.

For a full printable timetable please see this document (pdf - updated 13 April 2018).

Mandatory core modules (15 credits each):

Elective core modules (15 credits each):

Optional modules (15 credits each):

Note: Students choosing the 30-credit Library-Based Dissertation must also take Module 12,  Professsional and Research Skills, as one of their 3 optional modules.

Students registered for the PGDip (120 credits) will study 8 taught modules, including at least five of the core modules (1-3, 5 – 8).

Students registered for the PGCert (60 credits) will study 4 taught modules, including at least two of the core modules (1-3, 5 – 8).

*These modules are available on a stand-alone basis. For more details click on the module title.

Related staff

Fees and funding


MSc: £12,000 FT
PGDip: £8,000 FT
PGCert: £4,000 FT

Individual modules for CPD - £1000

MSc: £20,610 FT
PGDip: £13,740 FT
PGCert: £6,870 FT

Please note: fees of accepted, eligible NHS-based applicants will be paid by Health Education England.

Self-funding students can pay their tuition fees via the University online shop. Should you need further information in regards to making payment please email

Health Education England (HEE) funding

Health Education England is offering to pay the tuition fees for eligible staff working for the NHS in England, to study for the MSc, PGDip or PGCert in Genomic Medicine (full-time or part-time). Further information about HEE funding is now available.

If you think you may qualify for HEE funding, you will need to follow a twin-track application process. You must apply directly via an application form to HEE to request funding. In parallel, you need to apply directly to the University for acceptance onto the course; see the How to apply section below to get to a choice of application forms for the different qualifications (MSc, PGDip, PGCert), alternative start dates, and modes of study (FT/PT/Flexible).

HEE will also fund eligible NHS staff to study individual modules as CPD. You can apply for HEE funding to take modules as CPD here.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

As a UK resident you can apply for a government loan for postgraduate Masters study. This is a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student. Find out more about the  Postgraduate Loan.


Global Scholarships for Excellence

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is offering a number of   Global Scholarships for Excellence for outstanding students on our postgraduate taught programmes. The value of each award is £2,000 to be off-set against tuition fees, is tenable for one year only and cannot be deferred to a later year. 

Overseas Research Scholarships

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Visit our website for information about  scholarships for international students.

For information about all Home/EU and International funding opportunities please visit the  Postgraduate Funding Database.

Entry requirements

The University of Birmingham has general entry requirements including a minimum of GCSE grade C in Maths and English and evidence of English proficiency from all applicants whose first language is not English (e.g. IELTS Level 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band).

Applicants for the MSc (Genomic Medicine) without prior relevant experience working in healthcare should have a good honours degree (or equivalent), in a relevant subject (e.g. biomedical science or medicine). However we will consider applicant with alternative academic qualifications, on the basis of professional qualifications and experience within the NHS (or other relevant organisations).

The University will consider a candidate’s skills, attributes, motivation and potential for success when making an offer. Students may be contacted to discuss their application or invited for an interview. All applications must have at least one satisfactory reference.

Pre-study information

Potential students from nursing or other health professions who have little training in genetics are strongly advised to attend our 'Intermediate Genomics Access Course' prior to enrolling on a Genomics Medicine CPD module or the Genomic Medicine MSc. There are also a number of recommendations for online resources which provide useful information about genomics in an easy to understand format in this document (PDF).

Find out more about entry requirements

How to apply

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas
September 2018 entry: Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications made after this date will be considered for 2019 entry.

UK students eligible for HEE funding
September 2018/March 2019 entry: Students who are applying for HEE funding should submit their University application by 2nd July 2018.

All other students
September 2018 entry: 2nd July 2018 
March 2019 entry:  2nd January 2019

If you work for the NHS in England, you may be eligible to have your tuition fees paid by Health Education England. You will need to apply here for HEE funding. NB you must also complete the application to the University by clicking on the apply now link below.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

As a Birmingham student, you will be joining the academic elite and will have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts, as well as from your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

The course combines face-to-face teaching in lectures, tutorials, workshops, student presentations etc. with independent or group learning, which can be done remotely, using published papers or online resources. Following a 2-day Induction, the face-to-face teaching of most modules is delivered over 5 days, either consecutive (for the two introductory modules), or spread over 5 weeks for most others.

You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues.

Assessment methods

Modules are assessed using a variety of methods, including timed, unseen exams typically involving a number of short answer questions and a choice of essay; short answer e.g. case-based problems completed in your own time; essay assignments of typically 3000 words, and by short presentations on a given topic.

Related research

The course is especially designed for healthcare professionals working within the National Health Service, to improve their capabilities and support career progression. It could be similarly beneficial for those working or aspiring to work in other healthcare systems.

The Genomics Education Programme have produced a video aimed at nurses explaining how genomics is relevant to nurses and how they contribute to advances in treatment and care.

Students who are not healthcare professionals will acquire knowledge, understanding and skills to help them gain employment or PhD positions especially in the expanding fields of genomics, bioinformatics, or other medically-related research and development in either academia or the pharmaceutical industry.

We have gathered some profiles to give you an idea of the breadth of students we have on our programme.

Joshua Cooper is a MSc Biomedical Science graduate from University of Warwick and says:

This course will definitely give me options around doing a PhD or working in labs and will be invaluable for making useful connections and networking.

Katherine Peers is a nurse who has been working in Inherited Diseases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for 5 years and says:

I hope this will lead to a wider range of job opportunities and give me that extra step when opportunities come up.

Elizabeth Quinlan-Jones is a midwife at the Birmingham Women's Hospital with a background in foetal medicine and says:

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a genetics or molecular biology background as the staff were very supportive and put on extra tutorials when needed.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career. We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market. The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. For more information visit the Careers Network website.

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