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Course content

The aim of this programme is to provide individuals with a platform to explore, analyse and interpret contemporary biological data. This course offers Masters level instruction in Bioinformatics and Genetic Epidemiology with a focus in genetic epidemiology.

Overview

The aim of this programme is to provide individuals with the skills to explore, analyse and interpret contemporary biological data. This course offers Masters level instruction in Bioinformatics and Genetic Epidemiology.

You will develop key skills necessary to analyse genomics data for gene discovery, including genomewide association studies (GWAS) and post-GWAS applications such as gene-set and polygenic genetic epidemiology analysis.

This programme has been designed for biomedical scientists and informaticians looking to undertake a career in academic research, the biotechnology, pharmaceutical or health care industries.

Aims of the Programme

  • To provide the practical skills and knowledge in computational and statistical biosciences for careers in academic research, the biotechnology, pharmaceutical or health care industries;
  • To introduce computational, statistical and analytical approaches applicable to post genomic biology and genetics data;
  • To develop skills to enable better understanding and critical evaluation of research methodologies, such that sound judgements about the applicability of these techniques to specific research questions can be made;
  • To develop competency in both the design and analysis of research studies and to develop skills in effective extraction of information from genetics, genomics and other biosciences data;
  • To develop the ability to communicate the information, results, issues and ideas around analyses to audiences of both a specialist and non-specialist background;
  • To prepare and provide guidance to perform an original piece of research within the specialist area in which they wish to pursue their career. To strengthen your ability to take the initiative and responsibility for planning and carrying out tasks and demonstrate original thought in tackling and solving problems as would be necessary in employment.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The programme is delivered as face-2-face learning. Students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessments via Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) ‘Learning Central™’.

Delivery approach

  • Each taught Module will be delivered using a small-group classroom-model (< 20 participants per session).
  • You will be expected to commit to approximately 200 hours of effort per module; from this you will receive approximately 60 hours of face-2-face contact. This will be delivered through approximately 20 teaching sessions. Each teaching session will be 3-hours with appropriate breaks.
  • Teaching sessions will include a combination of elements such as theory (blackboard learning), computer practical, group-work and tutorial. We believe that to achieve learning outcomes for a bioinformatics-based course it is not often useful to deliver extensive ‘lecture-only’ sessions. We believe you will learn through application and interaction. However, where appropriate, some theory will be delivered as lectures.
  • Each session will take a variety of forms, but the overall structure will be to achieve 2-3 key learning outcomes per session via introduction to key concepts, conveying relevant up-to-date information and exposure to research methodology and application.
  • In the teaching sessions, we will provide feedback on formative assessments and course content. In these elements, you will have the opportunity to discuss themes or topics, to consolidate and get feedback on your individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation. Communication skills will be developed in tutorials, where you will make individual contributions to group study; for example, by summarising a formative assessment or outcomes from group sessions.
  • You will practise and develop theory, intellectual skills, team-work and presentational skills by participating in diverse learning activities, such as solving bioinformatics problems, small-group discussions, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments. 
  • You may be taught alongside students from other Programmes, including the MSc in Bioinformatics as well as students undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Career prospects

This programme has been designed with the needs of academic research, the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care industries in mind. Instruction in computational and statistical biosciences will enable individuals to work effectively within a multidisciplinary bioinformatics arena.

Since 2004, of the MSc students who have successfully graduated, within one year;

  • 24% have continued their education by entering PhD Programme in Bioinformatics / Biostatistics
  • 17% have continued their education by entering PhD Programme in other areas of biomedicine
  • 10% have continued their education by entering further Masters study/PGCE/medical degrees
  • 20% have gained employment in Bioinformatics and or Biostatistics
  • 29% have gained employment in other scientific jobs often with a data analysis context

This Masters programme enables you to demonstrate you are taking the opportunity to develop your abilities in critical analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, finding and using evidence and in dealing with complex issues. The programme is not a substitute for a formal specialty training programme but studying at this level should help successful students demonstrate numerous academic skills that should be highly regarded in relation to their career development and progression. In particular, the programme offers opportunities to demonstrate the development of knowledge and skills in relation to the application of evidence-based medicine and the potential enhancement of services and governance frameworks. As such, it should provide evidence of commitment and potential that may assist you in relation to taking on greater responsibilities or perhaps seeking management, research, scholarship, or leadership roles.


Visit the Bioinformatics and Genetic Epidemiology - MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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