Genomic Medicine - MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Advances in genomic technologies are transforming personalised medicine for inherited diseases, cancer and infectious diseases. Birmingham’s Genomic Medicine Programme provides a multi-disciplinary perspective on genomics and its applications in clinical practice and scientific research.

Our Programme is suitable for graduates in medical and life sciences, as well as a range of healthcare professionals, who wish to learn about advances in genomics and bioinformatics and the challenges of introducing these technologies into a healthcare system. The course is also suitable for EU or international students who wish to learn more about the application of genomics, particularly as relevant to medical applications. The Programme’s modular design offers full-time and part-time studies with post-graduate MSc, Diploma and Certificate options.

UoB is accredited by Health Education England to provide training in Genomic Medicine for NHS staff as part of the Genomics Education Programme. Limited HEE funding is currently available for eligible NHS staff to study individual modules as CPD (see Fees and Funding in the Course Details section).  Further information about HEE-funding can be found on the HEE Genomics Education website.  Please note HEE are no longer accepting applications for MSc, Diploma or Certificate entries. 

 

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Building on the existing provision of NHS clinical genetic services and the NHS contribution to the 100,000 Genomes Project, NHS England has created a national Genomic Medicine Service (GMS) to harness the power of genomic technology to improve patient healthcare. This will consist of seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs providing access to cutting edge genomic testing (including whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics infrastructure), a national Genomic Test Directory and an integrated Clinical Genomics Medicine Service. Our Programme aims to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to contribute to this ambitious vision at a variety of different points, as an extension of their current role, or following acquisition of a new skill set.

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 you to the technologies for generating genome-wide data, and the bioinformatic tools that are required for its analysis. You will learn how to interrogate genomic data to identify and investigate the pathogenicity of genetic variants, and relate these to real-life case-studies, providing meaningful information that can be useful for families affected by inherited conditions, or for patients with acquired diseases including cancer and infections.

Core modules such as ‘Genomics in Cancer Pathology’ and ‘Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Healthcare’ emphasize the increasing importance of genomics in stratified medicine - 'the right treatment, for the right person, at the right time’. Additional optional modules include an ‘Introduction to Counselling Skills used in Genomic Medicine’ as well as ‘Economic Models and Human Genomics’.

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 and Children's Hospitals (BWC) and University Hospital Birmingham (UHB). This network of hospitals has been a major contributor to the 100,000 Genomes Project as part of the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre and BWC/UHB will lead the creation of a new Wessex and West Midlands Genomic Laboratory Hub to support enhanced Genomic Medicine Services within the region.

Many clinical staff teaching on the course are directly involved in the implementation of genomic medicine services, either as clinical leads or with key roles in the Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Service or the West Midlands Regional Genetics Service. You will have opportunities to visit these NHS facilities during the course and also to interact with patient group representatives to learn about genomic medicine from the patient's viewpoint.

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.

Modules

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, a minimum of 3 elective core modules, and 1-3 additional core or optional modules.

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).

All modules are also available as CPD on a stand-alone basis, either assessed or non-assessed.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees

2019/20:
Home/EU
MSc: £12,000 FT
PGDip: £8,000 FT
PGCert: £4,000 FT

Individual modules for CPD - £1000

Overseas
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 ADM-ubonlinesales@adf.bham.ac.uk


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the gov.uk website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

Health Education England (HEE) funding

Due to recent changes, HEE is now only offering to pay the tuition fees for eligible NHS staff to study individual modules on a CPD basis. There is limited funding available for 2019-20 and students must have completed their modules by March 2020. Updated 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 as outlined on the Genomic Education Programme website.

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.

Scholarships

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 6.5 with no less than 6.0 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 2019 entry: Monday 27th May 2019 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 2020 entry.

UK students eligible for HEE funding
September 2019 entry: Students who are applying for HEE funding should submit their University application by Monday 1st July 2019.

All other students

September 2019 entry: Monday 1st July 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.

Please note that HEE funding for students commencing in Sept 2019 may be limited - see the HEE website for further information.

Aplying for individual modules for CPD. 

The modules can be taken as a stand-alone assessed or non-assessed course.  To apply, students should have a good honours degree in a life sciences subject, although we will consider applicants with alternative qualifications and professional experience within the health service or other relevant background.

Please contact the Programme Coordinator for further information about how to apply at genomics@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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

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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 NHS Genomics Education Programme has produced a number of videos that provide an introduction to Genomics in Healthcare, as well as featuring the impact of genomics in Nursing and in General Practice and specialist roles such as clinical bioinformatics.

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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Accommodation

University accommodation for postgraduates is located across the University's three student villages, all of which are within walking distance of the main campus. We have a range of accommodation types, including flats with study bedrooms, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities; flats with ensuite study bedrooms; and studio apartments where you have exclusive use of both kitchen and bathroom facilities.

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