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Course content

Our research-focused MSc Developmental Biology course will give you extensive hands-on experience of conducting research into how fertilised eggs turn into complex multicellular organisms.

You will learn through an interactive approach involving seminars, workshops and small group tutorials rather than traditional lectures.

You will also undertake placements in the labs of leading researchers working on a range of model organisms and diverse areas of developmental biology.

Examples of developmental biology research at Manchester include:

  • studies of gene expression and cell signalling in model organisms, such as Drosophila, Xenopus and mice, which are illuminating the mechanisms by which different cell types and tissues arise during development. Findings obtained from these studies serve as general principles relating to human development;
  • exploring how misregulation of developmental mechanisms leads to human diseases, eg cancer, using various models;
  • research into the mechanisms regulating stem cell maintenance and differentiation to harness the therapeutic potential of stem cells;
  • looking at the healing process to improve wound repair and the longer-term regeneration of organs.

Special features

Extensive research experience

Gain significant laboratory experience through placements with leading developmental biology researchers.

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including tutorials, workshops, seminars and research placements.

Find out more by visiting the postgraduate teaching and learning page.

Coursework and assessment

We will assess your progress using:

  • written reports on your research projects and tutorials
  • oral presentations
  • written assignments
  • posters
  • multiple choice exams
  • critical assessment of literature
  • online statistics exercises.

Course unit details

The course starts in September and runs for 12 months. You require 180 credits to complete the course, of which:

  • 135 credits are from research projects
  • 45 credits are from transferable skills units.

Research projects

Your projects each run for 18 weeks starting in October and April.

  • Research Placement 1 (65 credits)
  • Research Placement 2 (70 credits)

Transferable skills

45 credits are achieved through completion of activities that develop your transferable skills in essential areas such as experimental design, statistics, bioethics (included in the tutorial and workshop unit) and science communication. Experimental Design and Statistics runs at the start of the year to prepare you for your research projects. Elements of the other units run throughout the year alongside your research projects.

  • Experimental Design and Statistics (15 credits)
  • Tutorial and Workshop (15 credits)
  • Science Communication (15 credits)

Disclaimer: Our units teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our units may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to units as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the units available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Facilities

You will be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Career opportunities

Our graduates acquire a vast array of subject-specific and transferable skills, as well as extensive laboratory research experience.

The University has a strong record of placing students in PhD programmes at Manchester and other universities, and several of our graduates have pursued research careers in industry.


Visit the Developmental Biology (MSc) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

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