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Masters Degrees (Genetic Counselling)

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Genetic counsellors are health care professionals with specialized graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counselling. Read more

Masters in Genetic Counselling

What is a Genetic Counsellor?

Genetic counsellors are health care professionals with specialized graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counselling. Genetic counsellors usually work as members of a healthcare team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. Genetic counsellors work in a wide variety of settings, these include: general genetics, prenatal care and family planning, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, neurology, laboratories, research, education, public health settings, and corporate environments. (NSGC website, accessed Oct 7, 2012).

GENERAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Department of Medical Genetics, through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) at the University of British Columbia, offers a unique two year graduate program leading to an MSc degree in Genetic Counselling. The program has full accreditation status by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Students, upon graduating, will be eligible to apply for “Active Candidate” status for both the ABGC and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) certification exams.

Six students are accepted into the Program each year to begin their studies in September. Genetic counsellors, geneticists, other healthcare professionals and UBC faculty members instruct and supervise students during their course of study.

The program balances strong academic grounding, direct clinical experiences and independent research to prepare graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counselling.

Academic coursework provides a comprehensive overview of:
- Molecular genetics and genomics
- Clinical genetics
- Counselling techniques and psychology
- Bioethics

Clinical experiences cover a broad range of specialties, preparing graduates for the expanding professional role. These include both private and public settings in the areas of:
- Prenatal genetics
- Pediatric and adult genetics
- Reproductive medicine
- Cancer
- Psychiatric genetics
- Focused practical rotations in embryofetopathology, fetal ultrasound and prenatal procedures, prenatal biochemistry laboratory, molecular biochemical and cytogenetic laboratories.

Interprofessional health education prepares graduates for a patient centred, team-based approach to healthcare delivery. Collaborating with the College of Health Disciplines, unique experiences include:
- Health Mentorship Program
- The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Passport
- Rounds and educational seminars held by the Department of Medical Genetics, Hereditary Cancer Program, Child and Family
Research Institute, BC Clinical Genomics Network and other departments within the hospital and university network.

While this is not a thesis program, all graduates complete an independent research project. The program provides mentorship, research skills development and encouragement towards contributing to the published literature in genetic counselling outcomes.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Genetic Counselling
- Subject: Health and Medicine
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework only
- Faculty: Faculty of Medicine

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The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is designed to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Genetic Counselling which will qualify them to practice as Genetic and Genomic Counsellors. Read more
The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is designed to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Genetic Counselling which will qualify them to practice as Genetic and Genomic Counsellors. The programme will be delivered by University of Glasgow staff in collaboration with NHS staff from the West of Scotland Genetics Service, so that a current perspective on both laboratory diagnostics and clinical services will be obtained. This programme is accredited by the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board.

Why this programme

-◾Teaching is based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), which includes adult services, children’s services and maternity services, as well as one of the largest diagnostic laboratories in Europe, and a new, purpose-built teaching and learning facility. The close collaboration between University and NHS staff ensures that the MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling provides a completely up-to-date representation of genetic services.
◾Counselling and psychology theoretical and research-focused courses are delivered by University staff trained in psychology, providing a firm foundation for the subsequent acquisition of knowledge and skills in genetic counselling facilitated by GCRB-registered Genetic Counsellors.
◾The University of Glasgow Medical Genetics Teaching Staff won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering), to recognise and reward excellence and good practice; they were also finalists in the 2013 awards and are finalists in the category of "Outstanding support for students" in The Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland in association with UWS 2016.
◾You will develop your skills in problem solving, evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic data, communication of the results of genome testing to patients, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
◾The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.

Programme structure

Component courses are as follows:

Genetic Disease in Clinical Practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Clinical Genetics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease, and explore the links between genotype and phenotype.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Distress or disorder: reactions to a medical diagnosis

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course outlines the process of psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis or test result allowing participants to establish if and when a distress reaction develops into an adjustment disorder. The implications of diagnosis are explored and evidence considered allowing informed decisions about appropriate referrals to other agencies.

Patient empowerment: supporting decisions relating to new diagnoses

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course reflects on evidence and experience to explore the psychological and social impact of a diagnosis, or illness, and provides strategies to support resilience and coping in patients. Factors related to lived experience, personal beliefs and values, culture, adjustment processes, decision-making, misconceptions, secrecy and guilt are considered to equip participants in the promotion of patient-centred care.

Effective listening and communication skills

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to facilitate adjustment and to allow an individual to come to terms with change in a safe way to minimise impact. The focus will be on the theory supporting counselling, developing key listening and communication skills and on establishing reflective practice.

Genetic counselling in clinical practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Clinical Service, and will be delivered by NHS staff, to provide students with in depth understanding of the practical skills required in genetic counselling. The course will facilitate development of appropriate critical understanding, reflective practice and skills in relation to genetic counselling for providing accurate complex genetic information for patients and their families.

Social science research methods

The research methods course will focus on developing students’ research skills primarily in questionnaire-based qualitative and quantitative observational research methods and students will be introduced to ethics procedures for the college of MVLS.

Community placements 1 & 2

These placements, for 16 days and 20 days respectively, will each take place in one or more care settings for individuals with complex needs (adults or children or both) to enable students to gain insight into effects of complex needs on affected individuals and on their family.

Genetic counselling placement 1 & 2

These placements, for eight weeks and six weeks respectively, in different genetics centres will allow students to observe clinical practice in a variety of contexts, and to undertake relevant tasks under supervision within a clinical team that is delivering a genetic service, to enable the student to develop their own skills as a future genetic counsellor. Following each placement students will discuss and share experiences, facilitated by one of the NHS lead team and a counselling supervisor, to further develop their ability to deal with practical and emotional challenges in genetic counselling.

Clinical genomics

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussing the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Career prospects

The programme aims to provide students with skills to work as Genetic Counsellors. This programme is accredited by the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) producing graduates who are eligible for entry as a ‘trainee genetic counsellor’.

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The primary aim of this course is to train graduates interested in the clinical application of advances in human genetics and genomics so that they can provide and critically evaluate genetic and genomic counselling services. Read more
The primary aim of this course is to train graduates interested in the clinical application of advances in human genetics and genomics so that they can provide and critically evaluate genetic and genomic counselling services.

You will be given a thorough grounding in human genomics, genetics, genetic analysis and bioinformatics, in communication and counselling skills, and in the skills required for you to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing genetic and genomic counselling for families. 

The course is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing a career as a genetic counsellor. It is designed to meet the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) Set ‘A’ educational requirement to submit a Notification of Intention to Register with the GCRB (see http://www.gcrb.org.uk/), as well as the European Board of Medical Genetics (EBMG Genetic Counsellors division) educational requirement to submit a Notification of Intention to Register with the EBMG.

Distinctive features:

The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is an innovative part-time, largely distance learning course.  Being a ‘blended learning’ course, this opens up our well established genetic counsellor training expertise to a European and international audience, as it removes the need for you to relocate to Cardiff for full time study to train as a genetic counsellor.  Instead, you will attend short intensive teaching blocks in Wales (UK) and engage in the online learning components throughout the remainder of each year.  Approved placement learning in your own location is also undertaken in year 2. 

We are committed to developing your practice in evidence-based genetic and genomic counselling, with a strong emphasis on preparing you to contribute to clinical and health services research in genetic and genomic counselling.  The programme team includes world-class researchers in genetic and genomic counselling and counselling skills are taught by an expert counsellor.

Structure

The MSc programme consists of two stages: The taught stage which lasts for a total of 24 months and the dissertation stage R which lasts for a further 12 months, following completion of the taught stages.  The total normal duration to complete the full MSc programme is three academic years, from the date of initial registration on the programme.

A placement module runs throughout Year 2 of the course.  This is supported by significant patient interaction.  Access to and concrete plans for your genetic counselling placement is a criterion for selection at interview. 

Core modules:

Introduction to Healthcare
Introduction to Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Counselling and Communication Skills
Research Methods
Introduction to Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Science and Bioinformatics
Applied Genetics and Bioinformatics in Clinical Care
Advanced Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Placement: Genetic and Genomic Counselling
Dissertation: Genetic and Genomic Counselling

Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of face-to-face and online lectures, tutorials, seminars, self-directed study and experiential learning on placement.

Lectures take a range of forms but generally they aim to provide a broad structure for each subject, to introduce key concepts, and to convey relevant up-to-date information.  In tutorials and seminars, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss particular genetic counselling and genomic counselling topics, to consolidate and receive feedback on your individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation.  Tutorials will enable you to make individual contributions to group study, for example by summarising a particular genetic condition or your dissertation project for the group.

You will have the opportunity to practise and develop counselling, intellectual, team-working and presentational skills by participating in diverse learning activities, such as solving clinical problems, small-group discussions, debates, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments as well as your practical placement activities in year 2. 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of means including written work (blogs, essays), presentations, reflective pieces, video skills assessment and a dissertation.

Career Prospects

Career prospects for graduates with an appropriately accredited MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling are excellent.  In the UK and in the US, the demand for genetic counsellors has increased in recent years.  The US has seen, over the past 2—3 years, a rise in job postings from about 300/year (mirroring US graduate numbers) to over 600 in 2015.  Proportionately similar increases in job postings are being seen in the UK.  Graduates from existing UK MSc in Genetic (and Genomic) courses will be insufficient to meet the needs of the UK NHS over the next few years, as many UK genetic counsellors are approaching retirement.  The Transnational Alliance of Genetic Counsellors (a partnership of genetic counsellor educators from eighteen countries) have strongly emphasized the need for training more genetic counsellors to practice internationally, specifically across the EU, Asia and South America.

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The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires contributions from research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to investigate the causes of, and therefore permit optimal management for, diseases for which alterations in the genome, either at the DNA sequence level or epigenetic level, play a significant role. Read more
The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires contributions from research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to investigate the causes of, and therefore permit optimal management for, diseases for which alterations in the genome, either at the DNA sequence level or epigenetic level, play a significant role. Collaboration between staff from the University of Glasgow and the NHS West of Scotland Genetics Service enables the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics to provide a state-of-the-art view of the application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and diagnostics, and in delivery of a high quality genetics service to patients, as well as in design of targeted therapies.

Why this programme

◾This is a fully up-to-date Medical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
◾The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
◾The MSc Medical Genetics Course is based on the south side of the River Clyde in the brand new (2015) purpose built Teaching & Learning Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals (we are located 4 miles from the main University Campus). The Centre also houses state of the art educational resources, including a purpose built teaching laboratory, computing facilities and a well equipped library. The West of Scotland Genetic Services are also based here at the Queen Elizabeth Campus allowing students to learn directly from NHS staff about the latest developments to this service.
◾The Medical Genetics MSc Teaching Staff have won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering). These awards recognise and reward excellence and good practice in postgraduate education.
◾The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the Medical Genetics MSc provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
◾The Medical Genetics degree explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
◾New developments in medical genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
◾You will develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
◾This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science or by moving into related careers in diagnostic services.
◾The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
◾For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
◾The Medical Council of Hong Kong recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics from University of Glasgow in it's list of Quotable Qualifications.

Programme structure

Genetic Disease: from the Laboratory to the Clinic

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics and Genomics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Clinical Genomics

Students will take this course OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussion the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Omic technologies for the Biomedical Sciences: from Genomics to Metabolomics

Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.

Visit the website for further information

Career prospects

Research: About half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs; the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.

Diagnostics: Some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, particularly in molecular genetics and cytogenetics.

Clinical genetics: Those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.

Other: Although the focus of teaching is on using the available technologies for the purpose of genetic diagnostics, many of these technologies are used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many countries around the world, have entered careers in industry, scientific publishing, education and medicine.

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The science of human genetics has been transformed in the past decade. Following the sequencing of the entire human genome, a wealth of resources is now available to researchers aiming to identify the genetic variants that influence human health. Read more
The science of human genetics has been transformed in the past decade. Following the sequencing of the entire human genome, a wealth of resources is now available to researchers aiming to identify the genetic variants that influence human health. These findings will shed light on the underlying molecular pathology of many diseases that are poorly understood at present, eventually paving the way for novel treatment and prevention strategies. The speed at which these discoveries are being made is accelerating, and it is likely that molecular genetics will soon underpin much of modern medicine.

Career Pathways:
The MSc in Human Molecular Genetics programme is designed to prepare you for a genetics research career, either in human gene function and genetic disease, or molecular approaches to diagnosis and health care biotechnology. It provides a broad grounding in Human Genetics, with emphasis on molecular aspects, to give a solid basis for subsequent academic or industrial research, or for entry to NHS Genetics training. Approximately 40% of our students go on to do a PhD, 40% become research assistants/associates, while others go on to jobs in industry or further studies (bioinformatics/computing medicine). One or two students every year enter the NHS in clinical genetics training posts.

Programme Structure:
You will study the fundamentals of human and molecular genetics, models of inheritance for rare and common/ complex polygenic diseases, cytogenetics, analytical methods in human genetics and genomics, animal models and transgenesis, gene therapy, epigenetics, cancer genetics and an introduction to clinical genetics and genetic counselling services.

There are four weeks of intensive laboratory practical sessions, as well as computer science practicals applied to problems in genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, regular research seminars on site, student seminar and journal presentations, study group activities and a six-month full-time research project in the summer.

The programme is based on an average 20 hours contact time per week. This will vary between 15 hours in most weeks and approximately 40 hours during intensive practicals and projects. Private study time is included within the schedule: you are expected to contribute an additional 10-15 hours private study per week to the course. We do not recommend you try to support yourself by taking a part-time employment whilst studying as your work may suffer.

Assessment:
There are 3 x 3-hour written papers in late February, coursework assessments (poster presentation, analytical methods in genetics, oral presentation), a project report and a viva examination in September.

Programme Location:
The programme is primarily based at Hammersmith Campus in West London although some teaching modules are held at St Mary's Campus and the Northwick Park Campus.

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RESEARCH STRENGTHS AND FACILITIES. The Department of Medical Genetics Graduate Program is a leading program that attracts students from all over Canada and the world. Read more

Graduate Program

RESEARCH STRENGTHS AND FACILITIES
The Department of Medical Genetics Graduate Program is a leading program that attracts students from all over Canada and the world. The Program offers Master’s and Doctoral programs that take place in Vancouver, one of the world’s most livable cities, at locations affiliated with the University of British Columbia, an institution which is consistently ranked among the world’s best universities.

The Department is composed of dozens of faculty members at the forefront of their fields who use cutting edge genetic, epigenetic, genomic, and bioinformatic methodologies to gain insight into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and other genetic diseases. Research is highly interactive and often involves local, national, and international collaborations which further enrich the research experience.

Individual labs conduct clinical and/or translational research and basic experimental research engaging a wide variety of approaches including the use of model organisms such as mice, flies (D. melanogaster), worms (C. elegans), and yeast (S. cerevisiae). Prospective students with interests in the investigative areas below have an opportunity to pursue world class research in labs affiliated with the Medical Genetics Graduate Program.

Areas of Research

- Developmental genetics and birth defects
- Epigenetics and chromosome transmission
- Genomics and bioinformatics
- Genetic epidemiology and human gene mapping
- Neurogenetics and immunogenetics
- Stem cells and gene therapy
- Pharmacogenomics
- Clinical genetics, genetic counselling, ethics and policy

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Medical Genetics
- Subject: Life Sciences
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Medicine

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Genetics and genomics have become an integral part of the healthcare service. Our modern programme, which we’re constantly adapting to reflect professional and technological changes, will advance your skills, knowledge and insight in the challenging sector of genetic healthcare. Read more
Genetics and genomics have become an integral part of the healthcare service. Our modern programme, which we’re constantly adapting to reflect professional and technological changes, will advance your skills, knowledge and insight in the challenging sector of genetic healthcare. Study part-time over three years and choose the modules you want to study. You’ll leave fully equipped to provide more effective, efficient and better quality practice for the patients who rely on you.

Key features

-Steer your career in the direction you want. We offer a wide range of modules, so you can choose to group modules together to create the combination that suits your previous education and experience and your career aspirations. Focused themes include practical genetics, genetic science and counselling skills.
-Engage with a course specifically designed to address the needs of professionals wishing to develop their careers in genetic counselling or genetic nursing.
-Learn from research-active staff at the forefront of knowledge, conducting research into Applied Health Genetics.
-Study four core modules shared by all our pathway awards: Health and Social Care Futures, Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 1 and 2, and the dissertation.
-Benefit from the flexibility our programme offers. You can take much of the course by distance learning. Modules taught face-to-face (such as counselling skills) are delivered in short, intensive blocks to enable you to complete them with minimum travel and time away from your work.
-Balance work and further education with our programme by studying part-time over three years.
-Our Genetic Science modules and the Counselling Skills modules are designed to satisfy the requirements of the Genetic Counsellor Registration Board for UK genetic counsellor registration.
-Achieve the European Core Competences for genetic nurses and genetic counsellors.
-Choose to study the Counselling Skills module and update and enhance your counselling skills.
-Develop practical skills and increase knowledge on all genetics modules by combining theory with an applied approach.
-Use your registration portfolio as a registered genetic counsellor to obtain credits towards the award via the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning system.

Course details

Postgraduate certificate - to achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to earn 60 credits. You’ll be able to study either two genetics modules at 30 credits each, or all three at 20 credits each – counselling skills for genetic healthcare, genetic science for health professionals and practical genetics for health professionals.

Postgraduate diploma - to gain a postgraduate diploma, you’ll need to earn 120 credits. 60 of these will be made up from the two or three core modules undertaken in Year 1, with 40 credits coming from the core modules in Year 2, advancing research knowledge in practice 1 and advancing research knowledge in practice 2. Depending on the modules taken during Year 1, you will either undertake the remaining genetics module worth 20 credits or another optional 20 credit module.

Master of Science - for a full masters degree, you will need to earn a total of 180 credits. You will study the same core modules as the postgraduate diploma, with the extra 60 credits coming from a research project in an area of study related to genetic healthcare.

Please note: availability of modules may vary according to demand; module dates are therefore subject to change.

Year 1
The Health Genetics pathway has three core specialist modules, which are all worth either 20 or 30 credits. Optional modules – you must complete two 30 credit options or all three 20 credit options.
Optional modules
-IMS550 Practical Genetics for Health Professionals (Advanced)
-IMS552 Counselling Skills for Genetic Healthcare (Advanced)
-IMS551 Counselling Skills for Genetic Healthcare
-IMS553 Genetic Science for Health Professionals (advanced)
-IMS536 Genetic Science for Health Professionals
-IMS549 Practical Genetics for Health Professionals

Year 2
Please note: you must choose the remaining 20 credit genetics module if two 30 credit modules were taken in Year 1.
Optional modules
-MCH501 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 1
-MCH502 Advancing Research Knowledge in Practice 2

Final year
-MCH504 Dissertation

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

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The Genomic Medicine and Healthcare course has been developed for healthcare professionals including Specialist Medical Practitioners, General Medical Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals, Nurses and Midwives, Genetic Counsellors and those with related undergraduate degrees or equivalent professional qualifications and background experience. Read more

Genomics Medicine and Healthcare Courses

The Genomic Medicine and Healthcare course has been developed for healthcare professionals including Specialist Medical Practitioners, General Medical Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals, Nurses and Midwives, Genetic Counsellors and those with related undergraduate degrees or equivalent professional qualifications and background experience. It will be of interest to health professionals in the UK and internationally and will provide a solid foundation in the core concepts of genetics and genomics applied to modern medicine and healthcare. Although there are other courses covering the subject area, none are completely online so they are difficult and costly for global healthcare professionals to get involved. This course will reach an international audience in a cost effective, flexible and inclusive way, helping to develop a worldwide network of genomic medical and healthcare leaders.

Our course is well timed given increasing public and professional interests in genetic and genome-level diagnostic and predictive testing for clinical management, disease risk evaluation, prevention of major complications and offering the prospect of improved prognosis. Personalised benefits include the option for reproductive choices and reducing lifetime medical or health risks by judicious use of new emerging preventive medicines and devices combined with lifestyle/behaviour modifications.

Diploma in Genomics Medicine and Healthcare Courses

Our online 1 year Postgraduate Diploma in Genomic Medicine & Healthcare is designed to be practical and clinically focused. The course will provide an integrated approach to Genomic Medicine and Healthcare and focus on applying scientific principles to direct patient care. The Genomics Diploma course is worth 120 credits and comprises 6 modules of 20 credits each.

The Diploma course aims to equip graduates with critical knowledge and understanding of genomics medicine. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge for direct clinical benefit and future study. Our Genomics Medicine Diploma course caters to the educational needs of a primary and secondary care audience and is the only one of its kind that is completely accessible online.

Our Genomic Medicine Diploma has been designed for General Medical Practitioners, Specialist Medical Practitioners (for example Paediatrics, General Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Medical Oncology), Allied Health Professionals (Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists), Nurses (Cancer, Cardiac, Paediatric, Neurology etc.) and Midwives. In addition, the course would be of interest to those with related undergraduate degrees (e.g. Dietetics, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy) or equivalent professional qualifications and background experience

On completion you will demonstrate:

- a systematic understanding of genetics and genomic factors in human diseases
- a critical awareness of current issues affecting the management of inherited human diseases
- an advanced knowledge of clinical genomics that will facilitate decision-making in unpredictable and/or complex situations
- an ability to critically evaluate current research in applied and translational genetics and genomics
- an ability to deliver management strategies for the investigation and treatment of patients with inherited human diseases
- a basic understanding of the scope and effect of genomics on treatments including horizon scanning of potential new targeted treatments for wider population

Course Structure

The online course lasts one calendar year and is a part time distance learning course. It consists of 6 modules per year, each of 6 weeks duration.

Module 1 - Principles of Medical Genetics and Genomics
Module 2 - Genetic Counselling
Module 3 - Genomics and Society
Module 4 - Practice of Clinical Genomics
Module 5 - Reproductive Genomics
Module 6 - Genomic Healthcare

Assessment

Online Diploma in Genomic Medicine and Healthcare

The course puts assessment at the heart of learning by using clinical scenarios to facilitate problem-solving, critical analysis and evidence-based care. The scenarios act as both the focus for learning and assessment thus embedding assessment within the learning process.

Each of the 6 modules have the same assessment format. Due to the online nature of the course, students are expected to login and participate in the course regularly throughout the module (ideally on a daily basis).

Students are split into groups of 10-15 students and are assigned a dedicated expert tutor who:

Facilitates clinical case discussions with the group.
Monitors, assesses and marks each student throughout the module.
Students use the skills gained during the lectures to engage with the different activities (see below).
Clinical case scenarios with case based discussion - 40%
Individual learning portfolio - 10%
Group/individual activity - 20%
Case based examination - 30%

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This course aims to inform and equip the practitioner with the necessary skills to function in a modern biomedical/clinical environment specialising in caring for the patient with a genetic disorder. Read more
This course aims to inform and equip the practitioner with the necessary skills to function in a modern biomedical/clinical environment specialising in caring for the patient with a genetic disorder.

Why Study Medical Genetics with us?

You will receive training in the skills required in the reading and interpretation of the literature and translating that into evidence-based practice. We aim to develop your research and writing skills so that you will be in a position to contribute to the scientific literature in an effective manner.

The course culminates in the Research Dissertation, which will be assessed through your production of two publishable scientific articles.

The content of the course is mapped to The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board Speciality Training Curriculum for Clinical Genetics.

If biomedical or clinical research is your interest, successful completion of the MSc will allow you to directly register onto PhD study and join our team of researchers at the Institute of Medicine.

What will I learn?

You will study how to apply molecular approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions that have a genetic component. We will discuss novel approaches to prevention and treatment, plus the increasing potential of genomics. We will also consider ethical implications of interventions, and the role/nature of genetic counselling. You will carry out a research project in one of these areas.

Seminars and tutorials will be held with various healthcare professionals and clinical researchers.

How will I be taught?

Our course consists of taught modules and a Research Dissertation.

We deliver taught modules as three-day intensive courses to facilitate attendance from students in employment. Weekly support sessions and journal club supplement learning – all held in our modern facilities in Bache Hall.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed via clinical reviews, laboratory reports, posters, oral presentations, or data manipulation exercises.

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The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. Read more
The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. The Clinical Genetics MSc has a specific focus on delivery of the clinical service to patients including risk analysis and application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and in diagnostics and population screening.

● This is a fully up-to-date Clinical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
● The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
● The Clinical Genetics MSc Teaching Staff won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering). These awards recognise and reward excellence and good practice in postgraduate education.
● The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the Clinical Genetics MSc provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital laboratory medicine building.
● The Clinical Genetics degree explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the theoretically basis of current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
● New developments in genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
● You will develop your skills in problem solving, evaluation and interpretation of genetic data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
● This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students with prior MBChB or MBBS may build in pursuing careers in Clinical Genetics.
● The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
● For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Clinical Genetics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.

Programme Structure

Genetic Disease and Clinical Practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Clinical Genetics and Genomics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.

Distress or Disorder: Reactions to a medical diagnosis

This course outlines the process of psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis or test result allowing participants to establish if and when a distress reaction develops into an adjustment disorder. The implications of diagnosis are explored and evidence considered allowing informed decisions about appropriate referrals to other agencies.

Patient Empowerment: Supporting decisions relating to new diagnoses

This course reflects on evidence and experience to explore the psychological and social impact of a diagnosis, or illness, and provides strategies to support resilience and coping in patients. Factors related to lived experience, personal beliefs and values, culture, adjustment processes, decision-making, misconceptions, secrecy and guilt are considered to equip participants in the promotion of patient-centred care.

Effective listening and communication skills

With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to facilitate adjustment and to allow an individual to come to terms with change in a safe way to minimise impact. The focus will be on the theory supporting counselling, developing key listening and communication skills and on establishing reflective practice.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics and Genomics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Clinical Genomics

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussion the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Disease Screening in Populations

This course will cover the rationale for, and requirements of, population screening programmes to detect individuals at high risk of particular conditions, who can then be offered diagnostic investigations. Students will work in groups to investigate and report on, a screening programme of their choice from any country.

Dissertation

The course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out an independent investigative project in the field of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Teaching and Learning Methods

A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures and tutorials. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in clinical genetics. These skills include team-working and data interpretation. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenicity of DNA sequence variants.

Visit the website for more information http://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/clinicalgenetics/#/programmestructure

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Gain an in-depth understanding of the latest issues and debates in sociology. Hone your research skills, and develop expertise that will prepare you for a career in social policy, social work, local government, public service and more. Read more
Gain an in-depth understanding of the latest issues and debates in sociology. Hone your research skills, and develop expertise that will prepare you for a career in social policy, social work, local government, public service and more.

Overview

Our Master's course will help deepen your knowledge of the theoretical and substantive aspects of contemporary sociology. You’ll develop expertise in the principles and application of social research methodology, and examine key debates and issues like progress and reason, genetic structuralism and the role of modernity.

Our optional modules will also let you explore more specialist areas such as modern crime control, nationalism or nature and society.

All your studies will be supported by our research-active staff, whose interests reflect the latest developments in sociology. Our staff and their areas of expertise are:
•Dr Shaun le Boutillier (Course Leader): social theory; applied ethics; explanations of the relations between individual and society
•Dr Liz Bradbury: social theory; gender studies; psychoanalysis; the Frankfurt School
•Dr David Skinner: race and racism, the social and political aspects of scientific and technological innovation; the relationship between the natural and social sciences; forensics, databases and surveillance; the changing management of public services
•Dr Sam Lundrigan: criminological geographic profiling systems; spatial behaviour of serial rapists; behaviour consistency of serial offenders
•Dr Anna Markovska: transitional countries; serious crime; corruption; drug abuse
•Colleen Moore: violent behaviour; justice and injustice through the courts; human trafficking; comparative criminology
•Emma Brett: public service; learning and education; equality and cultural diversity; barriers to learning
•Julian Constable: learning and teaching in the post-compulsory education sector; police training methods

To support your learning, we run a research seminar series and frequent symposia and conferences. All our students are welcome to attend and contribute.

Teaching times: Mondays and Thursdays from 3-5pm (full-time); Mondays or Thursdays from 3-5pm (part-time).

See the website http://www.anglia.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/sociology

Careers

This course will prepare you for work in many fields, including human resources, social policy, social work, educational development, community development, counselling, local government, the civil service, public services and charities.

Or you might decide to continue on to a research degree, like our PhD Sociology.

Modules

Core modules:
Contemporary Social Theory
Postgraduate Research Methods
Major Project

Optional modules:
Nationalism, Diasporas and Identities
Nature, Technology and Society
Independent Learning Module

Assessment

Depending on the module, you’ll show your progress through a combination of essays, presentations, case studies and portfolio work, as well as a Major Project at the end of the course.

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The course is especially designed for healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds. Read more
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 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.

About the College of Medical and Dental Sciences

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is a major international centre for research and education, make huge strides in finding solutions to major health problems including ageing, cancer, cardiovascular, dental, endocrine, inflammatory diseases, infection (including antibiotic resistance), rare diseases and trauma.
We tackle global healthcare problems through excellence in basic and clinical science, and improve human health by delivering tangible real-life benefits in the fight against acute and chronic disease.
Situated in the largest healthcare region in the country, with access to one of the largest and most diverse populations in Europe, we are positioned to address major global issues and diseases affecting today’s society through our eight specialist research institutes.
With over 1,000 academic staff and around £60 million of new research funding per year, the College of Medical and Dental Sciences is dedicated to performing world-leading research.
We care about our research and teaching and are committed to developing outstanding scientists and healthcare professionals of the future. We offer our postgraduate community a unique learning experience taught by academics who lead the way in research in their field.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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Genomic Medicine MSc is suitable for doctors, healthcare professionals and other students with an interest in Genomic Medicine. This course follows a curriculum designed by Health Education England and is suitable for healthcare professionals and other students with an interest in Genomic Medicine. Read more
Genomic Medicine MSc is suitable for doctors, healthcare professionals and other students with an interest in Genomic Medicine.

Overview

This course follows a curriculum designed by Health Education England and is suitable for healthcare professionals and other students with an interest in Genomic Medicine. As a jointly taught programme delivered by St George’s, University of London and King's College London, students will benefit from the breadth of expertise provided by both institutions.

Students will learn how recent technological advances have transformed how genetic data is generated, analysed and presented and its relevance to a range of clinical scenarios. This will be a flexible programme, structured to provide options for PGCert and PgDip awards as well as the MSc.

Funding is available from Health Education England (HEE) for NHS employees wishing to apply for the programme (and individual modules). Prospective students wishing to apply for this funding should do so before applying for the course.

Highlights

- Taught jointly by St George’s and King's
- Institutions with world-class research, clinical and teaching expertise across the full spectrum of Genomic Medicine
- Integrated within the South London Genomic Medicine Centre
- Both campuses are co-located with leading teaching hospitals
- Institutional expertise in multi-professional education
- St George’s scored 92% overall student satisfaction in Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2014
- King’s clinical research ranked third in the UK, eleventh in the world
- St George’s clinical research ranked 4th for impact
- Both institutions are ranked among the top 200 universities in the world according to the recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Modules

This MSc award will consist of 8 core modules with a selection of optional modules.

Core modules:
- Introduction to human genetics and genomics (15 credits)
- Omics techniques and their application to genomic medicine (15 credits)
- Genomics of common and rare inherited diseases (15 credits)
- Genomics in cancer pathology (15 credits)
- Pharmacogenomics and stratified healthcare (15 credits)
- Application of genomics in infectious disease (15 credits)
- Bioinformatics, interpretation, statistics and data quality assurance (15 credits)
- 60 Credit Research project or 30 Credit library-based dissertation

Optional modules
- Ethical, legal and social issues in applied genomics (15 credits)
- Counselling skills in genomics (15 credits)
- Cardiovascular genetics and genomics (15 credits)

Careers

This course is designed for students who wish to acquire training in genomic technologies and the interpretation of their findings within a medical context. An MSc in Genomic Medicine will provide career opportunities for a range of professions from laboratory based researchers to diagnostic and healthcare professionals.

Studying

Teaching will be delivered at both St George’s and King's sites and will include a variety of methods including lectures, seminars, workshops and online formats.

Progress throughout the course will be assessed through a variety of methods, including MCQ, written and oral presentations.

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