MSc/PgDip/PgCert Genomic Medicine

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
Discipline
  • Healthcare and Medicine
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date September

Overview

Practice in the clinical professions will be transformed by genomic technologies and information within the next decade.

This MSc programme has been developed by Health Education England and is aligned with their vision to prepare the NHS for the legacy of the 100,000 Genomes Project.

This will be achieved through education and training that is focused on developing skilled graduates who can apply genomic medicine for patient benefit.

The programme is offered by a network of seven universities across England and includes study of the genomics and informatics of rare and common diseases, cancer and infectious diseases, which can be applied to clinical practice and medical research. The programme enhances knowledge and skills in this rapidly evolving field. 

You will learn from, with and about your peers, developing a mutual understanding and respect for the positive contributions that each will bring to Genomic Medicine. Students are likely to be clinical practitioners, diagnostic service providers, scientists, researchers and those aspiring to specialise within an academic career pathway.

In addition to the full masters, students can opt to study for a 60 credit PG Certificate or 120 credit PG Diploma, by selecting a combination of any of the modules on offer. Individual modules will be of appeal to those who wish to enhance their CPD portfolio but do not need a formal academic award. Information on the modules offered is given on the ‘Structure’ tab. 

How to apply

Please go to the Apply button and register. Select 'Taught' in the first box and enter Genomics in the Keyword free text box. You will then be offered a list of study options, please select your programme.

Funding for NHS professionals

There are a limited number of HEE funded places for NHS professionals. Please contact Professor Anna Murray, the Programme Director (a.murray@exeter.ac.uk), if you want to apply for HEE funding.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Awards

The programme structure allows you to study for one of three awards in Genomic Medicine depending on the number of credits you successfully complete:

  • MSc – 180 credits to include the core modules described below
  • Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
  • Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits

Structure

The full MSc course comprises 180 credits made up from seven core modules: six taught modules of 15 credits each and one research module of either 60 or 30 credits. A range of optional modules is available for you to design your own learning experience to complement your career needs, and to complete the full 180 credits required.

The PG Diploma comprises 120 credits made up of any modules of your choice.

The PG Certificate comprises 60 credits made up of any modules of your choice.

Individual modules can be studied and either be assessed or taken for continued professional and personal development (CPPD). The CPPD route carries no credits but requires full attendance.

The Credit in Genomic Medicine route programme offers can consist of a maximum of 45 credits in any three modules of your choice.

View diagram of award structure

View the timetable for an indication of when modules will run for 2019-2020

Tailored content

This programme can be tailored to meet your career aspirations and enables you to choose your module options, plan your programme route, and choose from September or January to begin your studies. Please note, the January start date will be based on a minimum number of entrants joining.

You can study part-time by taking modules over two rather than one year, but each module runs for the same time period and requires the same work commitment for both full time and part time students. Part time study allows students to spread the modules over a longer period to fit your study around your other commitments.

Each module runs over a 7-8 week period with a mixture of face-to-face and online material. You will be required to attend teaching sessions in Exeter for 3-4 days per module and for some modules teaching will also occur simultaneously in Bristol.

Core Modules for MSc

Mandatory Core Modules:

Module number Module name
HPDM082A Fundamentals in Human Genetics & Genomics
HPDM082B Fundamentals in Human Genetics and Genomics*
HPDM036 "Omics" Techniques and their Application to Genomic Medicine 
HPDM041 Bioinformatics, Interpretation, Statistics and Data Quality Assurance
HPDM042
OR
HPDM043
Research projects (60 or 30 credits)


Elective Core Modules (you must pick at least three):

Module number Module name
HPDM037 Genomics of Common and Rare Inherited Diseases 
HPDM038 Molecular Pathology of Cancer and Application in Cancer Diagnosis, Screening, and Treatment 
HPDM039 Pharmacogenomics
BIOM567 Application of Genomics in Infectious Disease 


Optional Modules:

Module number Module name
HPDM048 Professional Research Skills  
HPDM044 Ethical, Legal and Social Issues 
HPDM045 Counselling skills for Genomics
HPDM046 Advanced Bioinformatics, Interpretation, Statistics and Data Quality Assurance
HPDM049 Epigenetics 
HPDM047 Work-based Learning in Genomics  
HPDM088 Health Economic Evaluation in Genomics

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Pre-learning

Before the start of your course please use this material as an introduction to some of the basic concepts in genomics. If there are gaps in your knowledge please use the learning resources provided below.

By the end of this pre-learning you should be able to:

  1. Describe how the genome is structured and organised; using terms such as DNA, nucleotide, gene and chromosome.
  2. Explain how the information encoded in DNA is decoded resulting in the production of proteins; using terms such as codon, exon, intron, mRNA, splicing, transcription, translation and tRNA.
  3. Explain how a genetic variant can result in an observable trait; using terms such as gene expression, genotype, mutation, phenotype and protein function.
  4. Use pedigree charts to deduce common modes of Mendelian inheritance; using terms such as allele, autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, carrier, homozygote and X-linked.
  5. Appreciate that environmental factors affect gene expression. Terms to be understood here include epigenetics, histone and methylation.
  6. Understand that common diseases result from a complex interplay involving multiple genes and environmental factors. Terms to be understood here include polygenic and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Links and resources

All of these topics will be covered in more depth in the various modules, but you should have broad knowledge of the terms involved. To assist you in reaching these targets the following links and resources should be useful. Numbers in brackets refers to the intended learning outcome (numbered 1-6 above) that the resource will help you to understand.

The Genomics Education Programme, set up by the NHS to educate its staff, provides brief courses (duration ~1.5 hours each) that will give you an overview of genomics from a clinical perspective.

  • 100,000 Genomes Project: Preparing for the consent conversation
    This course guides health professionals through the key steps of the Project's consent process, what to consider when preparing for the discussion with potential participants, and how to address their questions and concerns.
  • Introduction to Genomics
    With new technologies we can now examine the whole of a person's DNA - their genome - quicker and cheaper than ever before. Learn about the fundamentals of genomics and discover its growing importance for healthcare (1, 3).
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
    Discover how bioinformatics is becoming increasingly important to contemporary healthcare research and delivery. Learn about the principles and practices of bioinformatics, the challenges it faces and the problems it can help to solve.
  • Not a short course but this resource, provided by the Genomics Education Programme, will help you to interpret pedigree charts. And the video entitled ‘An introduction to genetics pedigrees’ will orientate you regarding use of Roman numerals and numbers to identify individuals within and between generations (4).

23andme provide direct-to-consumer genome testing and provides a variety of educatory genetic resources. This series of short animations (<5 min/clip) answers the following questions:

  • What are genes? (1)
  • What are SNPs? (6)
  • Where do your genes come from? (1)
  • What are phenotypes? (3)

yourgenome is produced by the Public Engagement team at the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge. This website covers everything from basic biology to the complex ethical issues that arise from genome sequencing. Particular recommendations include:

The Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah is an internationally-recognised education program that translates science and health for non-experts. Particular recommendations include:

  • The animation defining the epigenome (5).
  • The animation explaining sources of genetic variation and how these can affect protein levels/function (3).

The DNA Learning Center is part of the world-renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory which has been set up to educate students and non-experts as we enter an era where genetic information is available and plentiful. Particular recommendations include:

  • The animation illustrating how much of the human genome codes for protein (1).
  • The animation explaining how a single change in the DNA code can cause human disease (3).

FutureLearn offers many Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) generated in partnership with UK universities. Free to sign up to and of particular relevance to this course are the following MOOCS:

  • The Genomics Era: The Future of Genetics in Medicine (St George's, University of London)
    Particular recommendations include the animations describing patterns of autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and X-linked inheritance in Week 2 (4).
  • Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes (University of Exeter)
    Particular recommendation is Prof Tim Frayling's discussion on ‘What genomics can teach us about polygenic diabetes’ in Week 2 (6).
  • Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development (University of Bath)
    Particular recommendations include the section on ‘What is epigenetics and why is it important in cancer’ in Week 2 (5).
  • Whole Genome Sequencing: Decoding the Language of Life and Health
    Produced by Health Education England and draws on experience with the 100,000 Genomes Project.

To access the MOOCs you need to sign up with FutureLearn and join the courses when they open. Once the course is open, you can access all the material at any time, from that date. Once you register for the Genomic Medicine Programme at Exeter, we can register you on to the Exeter MOOC too, even if it is not currently running.

New Clinical Genetics 3rd edition (Read & Donnai) is a recommended textbook. Using a case-based approach it makes understanding genetics an attractive and stimulating experience.

Chapters 1,2,3,6, 7 & 13 will help you in reaching the intended objectives (1-6) for this part of the course. There is also a good glossary at the back of the book. Of course there is a lot of detail in these chapters that will be covered during the course, so don't feel you have to read and understand everything!

For a 35% discount on the purchase price of this book go to Scion Publishing and search for New Clinical Genetics and add book to shopping basket. Enter code NCG35 when prompted. On the shipping options page select the first option (free UK shipping).

Learning and teaching

Genomics teaching at Exeter

Using a mix of learning formats, our modules each run over a 6-8 week period and include three days' intensive face-to-face teaching, interspersed with distance learning and independent study.

The Fundamentals module will include an additional day of student contact. Online learning will be supported by academic tutors and discussion fora.

All learning will be patient focused, using clinical scenarios and a variety of learning and teaching methods to promote a wide range of skills and meet differing learning styles, including seminars, group work, practical demonstrations and exercises surrounding interpretation of data.

Teaching will be delivered by experts from a range of academic and health care professional backgrounds are chosen to ensure a breadth and depth of perspective, giving a good balance between theories and principles, and practical management advice.

Distance learning is delivered through a virtual learning environment, delivering a library of study materials including recordings of all live lectures, virtual patients and independent learning tasks, reference materials and links to online tutorials.

There is an opportunity to undertake a research module either using genomic data from either the 100,000 Genomes project or our in-house data, or a literature-based dissertation.

What you will gain

Students who complete the programme will gain an in-depth understanding of the current state of genomics knowledge and how it will bring benefit to patients through improved diagnosis and personalised treatment, and how to disseminate knowledge to peers, patients and the public.

Careers

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.

Students who are not healthcare professionals would acquire knowledge, understanding and skills that should 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, pharmaceutical or biotech industries.

All University of Exeter students have access to Career Zone, which gives access to a wealth of business contacts, support and training as well as the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs

Entry requirements

Standard entry

Normally a min 2.2 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Relevant clinical or professional experience may be taken into consideration as evidence of equivalency.  The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

College entry

Individuals who don't meet the normal entry criteria but have relevant professional experience will also be welcomed on to this MSc programme. Qualifications and experience will be assessed on application and there will be opportunities for APL (Assessment of Prior Learning).

International students

International students are normally subject to visa regulations which prevent part-time study. It is recommended that international students apply for the level of the final award you intend to complete i.e. PGCert, PGDip or Masters, due to the associated cost and requirements for a Tier 4 Student Visa.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.

TOEFL IBT*

Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency

Overall score 176. No less than 169 in any section.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

For 2020/21, fees will be charged pro rata per 15-credit module for UK/EU students. Fees are subject to an annual increment each academic year.

UK/EU

  • MSc: £10,000 full-time; £5,000 per year part-time (2 years)
  • PGDip: £7,000 full-time; £3,500 per year part-time
  • PGCert: £3,500 (1 year)

International

  • MSc: £21,100 full-time
  • PGDip: £14,000 full-time
  • PGCert: £7,000 full-time

CPD per module

  • UK/EU: £850 per 15-credit module
  • International: £1,900 per 15-credit module

Credit bearing modules: If you opt to take a non-accredited module and wish to then fully accredit this with the University of Exeter, you will need to pass the assessed elements of the course within 6 months of completion and there is an additional £200 accreditation fee.

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding


Funding for NHS professionals

There are a limited number of HEE funded places for NHS professionals and applications will be made via the HEE website.

HEE funding, however, does not guarantee a place on this academic programme at the University of Exeter. This will be decided through the standard university application, plus an informal discussion for those students choosing a PG Certificate, PG Diploma or full MSc.

Pro Vice Chancellor's NHS Postgraduate Scholarship

The University of Exeter Medical School is delighted to offer the Pro Vice Chancellor's NHS Postgraduate Scholarship of £5000 to two NHS staff who accept a place to study on one of our Masters programmes enrolling in 2020.

 

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

Phone: +44 (0)1392 725500
Email: medicine@exeter.ac.uk
WebEnquire online

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About the MSc Genomic Medicine

Flexible learning in Genomics

Free online course: 'Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes'

This free online course will introduce the topic of genomics, using the University of Exeter’s research expertise in diabetes, to illustrate the clinical application of current genomics knowledge.

Related programme: Community-Focussed Genomic Medicine - online course

Translational research has shown the benefits of using a community-focussed approach to healthcare. This course shares these benefits and raises awareness of community genetics as a field of medicine.
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Research degrees

If you would prefer a dissertation-based Masters rather than a taught and thesis Masters then this is available as the MSc by research:

 

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