MSc in Genomic Medicine

General

Program Description

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.

Much 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.

Modules

Students registered for the MSc in Genomic Medicine will take seven core taught 15-credit modules, combined with:

EITHER, a 60-credit Research Project PLUS one of six optional taught 15-credit modules; OR, a 30-credit Library-Based Dissertation PLUS three optional modules*

Core modules (15 credits each):

  • Module 1: An Introduction to Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Module 2: Omics Techniques and their Application to Genomic Medicine
  • Module 3: Genomics of Common and Rare Inherited Diseases
  • Module 4: Genomics in Cancer Pathology
  • Module 5: Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Healthcare
  • Module 6: Application of Genomics in Infectious Disease
  • Module 7: Bioinformatics, Interpretation, Statistics and Data Quality Assurance in Genome Analysis

Projects:

Module 8a: 60-Credit Research Project; OR Module 8b*: 30-Credit Library-Based Dissertation

Optional modules (15 credits each):

  • Module 9: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Applied Genomics
  • Module 10: Counselling Skills for Genomics
  • Module 11: Economic Models and Human Genomics
  • Module 12: Workplace-Based Learning in Genomic Medicine
  • Module 13*: Genomic Medicine Professional and Research Skills
  • Module 14: Advanced Bioinformatics
  • Note: Students choosing the 30-credit Library-Based Dissertation must also take Module 13, Genomic Medicine Professional and Research Skills, as one of their 3 optional modules.

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 the 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.

Last updated April 2019

About the School

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