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Course content

The practice of medicine, especially in the disciplines of Pathology and Genetics is increasingly reliant on Genomic technology. The aim of this programme is to increase the knowledge and capability of scientific and clinical staff using genetic data in their daily work allowing them to engage confidently with the scientific concepts of Molecular Pathology and Genomic Medicine, and to use their skills to improve patient care. The programme could also provide a foundation for those students interested in developing a clinical academic career.

The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of Genomic Technology. To adequately realise the potential of these technologies in a diagnostic setting this programme will cover the scientific underpinning and clinical application of genomic technology to enable clinicians and scientists to provide maximum benefit to patients.

The programme will provide a structured environment for students wishing to develop cutting edge knowledge and practical skills in Clinical Genomics and Molecular Pathology. The programme structure is designed around three central themes: scientific foundation, diagnostics, and patient management and treatment.

Programme structure

The PG Cert is comprised of four compulsory courses, totalling 60 credits.

Students will learn via a mixture of guided online activities, in-person tutorials, and in course four, an extended project. In addition to structured learning, students are expected to conduct independent study and read around the subject area.

Students will develop their critical analysis skills through evaluation of primary research articles and reviews. Students will learn how to perform variant analysis and next generation sequencing data analysis using relevant bioinformatics tools. Students can also expect to develop the communication skills required for interacting with the major stakeholders of genomic information: clinical scientists, doctors and patients.

Teaching is performed by a variety of staff who are leaders in their field, as well as experienced educators. The core teaching team is comprised of staff from the NHS Lothian Clinical Genetics Service and Pathology departments. Additional teaching is performed by clinical and scientific staff from across Edinburgh University and the UK. In addition, the programme has a dedicated teaching teaching fellow, who will provide academic and pastoral support throughout all courses.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)

Aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on the Postgraduate Certificate programme. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain how genetic variation is involved in human disease and the development of cancer
  2. Critically evaluate molecular pathology diagnostics and select the appropriate diagnostic for disease stratification to determine patient treatment
  3. Analyse next generation sequence data in the context of germline mutations that cause human genetic disease, and somatic mutations involved in cancer
  4. Understand how genetic variation can be a major determinant of patient treatment and apply this knowledge to clinical scenarios in Genomic Medicine and Molecular Pathology

The programme will adopt a blended learning format, with teaching delivered via online as a eLectures and interviews, in-person tutorials, and online interactive content.

Programme materials and resources will all be available in the virtual learning environment, Learn. Learn provides an interactive forum for students to engage with other learners and the programme teaching staff. Multiple feedback opportunities will be integrated within each course and will comprise of weekly interactive online quizzes, discussion boards and office hours. In-person tutorials will also represent an important feedback opportunity for students. Assessment will vary slightly with each course, common assessment modalities include structured written assignments, presentations and data analysis reports.

Career opportunities

The programme is aimed primarily at NHS laboratory and clinical staff. It is designed for anyone wishing to expand their understanding of molecular pathology and how it applies to clinical diagnostics. The PG Cert will be of use to a wide range of individuals as it can be used to support FRC Path, Clinical Scientist Development and Genetic Technologist Registration. It can be used as a component of STP and could potentially contribute the first 60 credits of MSc. It will also provide the scientific underpinning for Genetic Counselling.


Visit the Molecular Pathology and Genomic Medicine (PgCert) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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