PgCert Genomic Medicine (online)

Duration Part time 1 year
  • Healthcare and Medicine
Start date January


Enhance learning. Redefine patient care

Study Genomics fully online with world leading researchers

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

Our innovative fully online programme can be studied either as individual modules or as a Postgraduate Certificate PgCert in Genomic Medicine.  This online programme has been developed from our successful and well-established MSc Genomic Medicine, as part of the ambitious 100,000 Genomes Project. There is also the flexibility to combine modules from the traditional MSc with this fully online version.

These options for online study are designed to equip you with the skills to succeed in a wide variety of contexts. The modules offer a rich curriculum examining theory, research, policy and practice in the field of genomic medicine, and provide a unique student experience, where you will gain an insight into applying genomic medicine for patient benefit.

How you’ll learn

You will learn from world-leading experts in genomics and from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. You’ll be learning through an exciting mixture of video, animations, quizzes, tasks and webinars you will be supported by the module lead, a personal tutor, peer discussion forums and you will have full support from allocated module-specific tutors.

When are the modules running?

Module running dates can be found here.

There will be five weeks of scheduled learning, during which you can work at your own pace. The online discussion and tutoring discussions will work within this timeframe. This will be followed by an additional three weeks where you can complete the module summative assessment.

Who can do the programme? A diverse learning community

You may be a clinical practitioner (clinicians, nurses, medical scientists), diagnostic service provider, scientist orresearchers ,looking to specialise within an academic career pathway. Standalone modules will appeal to you if you wish to enhance your knowledge but you do not need a formal academic award. Information on the modules offered is given on the ‘Structure’ tab.

The PgCert/masters modules in Genomic Medicine is also appropriate for students with limited prior experience but a keen interest in Genomic Medicine, who are seeking employment/promotion in a wide range ofsettings. This programme can significantly enhance your career and promotion prospects by helping you to get ahead in this innovative field.

Why Exeter’s PgCert Genomic Medicine?

University of Exeter prides itself on providing world-class faculty staff, student support and curriculum. Online study allows you to be completely flexible, fitting in around work or other commitments. Upon completion of our Genomic MedicinePgCert or individual modulesyou will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed and seek employment, progression or leadership roles within a variety of occupations with a healthcare remit.

  • Unique fully online programme
  • You will be taught by leaders in cutting edge genomics, including; Epigenomics, clinical genome sequencing and  complex trait genetics
  • Clinical and science faculty with the expertise and international acclaim that is the hallmark of Genomic Medicine in the UK
  • A Russell Group University
  • Top 10 in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research (Leiden)
  • 10th in the UK for Medicine (Time and Sunday Times 2019)
  • Choice of four out of five modules for a PgCert
  • Flexible online learning
  • Study individual modules.

Funding for NHS professionals

There are a limited number of HEE funded places for NHS professionals. Please contact Professor Anna Murray, the Programme Director (, 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.

To qualify for the PgCert you must complete 60 credits of modules. This comprises of four modules of 15 credits (60 credits in total). This can be made up of any modules of your choice though dependent on your level of knowledge you are likely to choose either Fundamentals and three other modules or all modules other than Fundamentals

Individual modules can also be studied.

View module delivery dates 


Module number Module name Credits
HPDM082Z Fundamentals in Human Genetics and Genomics* (Online) 15
HPDM036Z "Omics" Techniques and their Application to Genomic Medicine (Online) 15
HPDM041Z Bioinformatics, Interpretation, Statistics and Data Quality Assurance (Online) 15
HPDM044Z Ethical and Legal Issues in Applied Genomics (ELSI) (Online) 15
HPDM038Z Molecular Pathology of Cancer and Application in Cancer Diagnosis, Screening and Treatment (Online) 15

Applicants with experience of working in a health service genetics role, or with a first degree in genetics, may be exempt from Fundamentals in Human Genetics and Genomics. This would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Other related programmes -  MSc Genomic Medicine

You may also be interested in our blended-learning MSc Genomic Medicine programme which includes contact days as well as online support.

You will be able to combine modules from both this programme with modules from the Online PgCert. The MSc was developed by Health Education England and is aligned with their vision to prepare the NHS for the legacy of the 100,000 Genomes Project.

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.


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.


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 five week period which you can work at your own pace. You’ll be learning through an exciting mixture of video, animations, quizzes, tasks and webinars. You will be supported by the module lead, a personal tutor, peer discussion forums and you will have full support from allocated module-specific online tutors.

The online discussion and tutoring discussions will work within this timeframe. This will be followed by an additional three weeks where you can complete the module summative assessment.

Module running dates can be found here.

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.

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

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.


The course is especially designed for healthcare professionals across the world, to improve their capabilities, their ability to work across international healthcare systems and within healthcare related industry and to support career progression.

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

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.


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 2019/20 (including January 2020 start)

For 2019/20, 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: £2,500 (4 x 15 credit modules)
  • International: £5,275 (4 x 15 credit modules)

Credit bearing modules

  • UK/EU£630 per 15-credit module
  • International£1,350 per 15-credit module

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 for NHS professionals

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

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
WebEnquire online

Apply for 2020 entry Apply for standalone modules

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:


About the PgCert Genomic Medicine online

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