Genomic Medicine - MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Start date
Full time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2021/22
MSc: £12,000
PGDip: £8,000
PGCert: £4,000
Module CPD: £1,000

MSc: £20,610
More details for fees and funding.

MSc Genomic Medicine - Laura Margetts

A flexible programme developed by Health Education England that aims to harness the power of genomic medicine for patient benefit.


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

Our Programme is suitable for graduates in medical and life sciences who wish to learn about recent advances in genomics and aspire to pursue a career in genomics-related research or industry. It also provides an ideal career development pathway for clinicians and scientists working in the health service who wish to learn more about genomics, as well as the challenges of introducing genomic technologies into a healthcare system.

The Programme's modular design offers full-time and part-time studies with Postgraduate Masters, Diploma and Certificate options. All modules are also available as CPD on a stand-alone basis. 

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’ emphasise 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 the West Midlands, Oxford and Wessex Genomic Laboratory Hub led by Birmingham Women’s and Children NHS Foundation Trust 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.

Funding for NHS Staff 

University of Birmingham is accredited by Health Education England (HEE) to provide genomic medicine training as part of the Genomics Education Programme. HEE-funded places are available for a maximum of four 15 credit modules, the equivalent of a PG Certificate (see Fees below). 

Further information on how to apply for HEE funding can be found on the Genomics Education Programme Funding page.  

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The full-time one year Masters programme (180 credits) comprises eight taught 15-credit modules plus a three month 60-credit research project (or a 30-credit literature based dissertation combined with two additional taught modules). The Diploma (120 credits) and Certificate (60 credits) programmes consist of eight and four taught modules, respectively.  

Each taught module comprises approximately 30 hours of taught classroom-based learning, self-directed learning and in-course presentations. In addition you are expected to spend approximately 90 hours of self-directed study doing preparatory and follow-up reading and completing assessments for each module. 

Masters students must take all four mandatory core modules including either a 60-credit research project or a 30-credit dissertation and a minimum of 3 elective core modules. 

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

Students registered for the PGCert (60 credits) study any four taught modules. 

All modules are also available as CPD on a stand-alone basis. Note that a requirement of HEE sponsorship is that HEE-funded students must complete the module assessments. 

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, Professional and Research Skills, as one of their 3 optional modules.



MSc - £12,000
PGDip - £8,000
PGCert - £4,000
Module CPD - £1,000

MSc: £20,610

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

University of Birmingham is accredited by Health Education England (HEE) to provide genomic medicine training as part of the Genomics Education Programme. If you work for the NHS in England, you may be eligible to have your tuition fees paid by HEE up to a maximum of four 15-credit modules, the equivalent of a PG Certificate. 

The application process for the HEE-funded modules involves two steps: the individual's university application and their line manager's supporting information. Interested individuals should first apply directly to the University of Birmingham. We will then notify HEE who will contact the applicant to obtain the job title, organisation and line manager details. 

Further information on how to apply for HEE funding can be found on the Genomics Education Programme funding page

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.


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.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

September 2020 entry: Tuesday 26th May 2020 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 2021 entry.

Applying 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.

For all queries about the application process, please contact the Programme team ( or the Programme Lead, Dr Andrew Bell ( 

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

Our Standard 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

International Requirements

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.

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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