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MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception

  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    12 Months

  • Course Type


Course Content

Course content

Infertility is a common problem with approximately 1 in 7 couples of reproductive age being diagnosed as infertile - equating to 72.5 million people globally - and there is an increasing demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART). This course will provide a robust and wide ranging education in human clinical embryology and ART.

Professor Barratt, Programme Director of the new programme MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception has been confirmed as one of the lecturers at the forthcoming Campus Workshop "From gametes to blastocysts – a continuous dialogue" to be held in Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 7-8th November 2014. This programme is organised by the ESHRE Special Interest Group Embryology.

Why study Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception at Dundee?

The MSc in Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception is a new taught master’s programme which has been designed to provide a robust and wide ranging education in human clinical embryology and ART (assisted reproductive technology). Students will gain a systematic understanding of clinical embryology and ART whilst developing high level laboratory skills in various aspects of clinical embryology, andrology and ART.

The emphasis of the course is on humans and clinical ART/embryology and offers practical experience in handling and preparing HUMAN gametes.


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The University of Dundee has excellent clinical links and a close working relationship with the NHS and students will benefit from a scientifically rigorous programme with teaching drawn from experienced embryologists, scientists and clinicians.

A key benefit of the programme is that it offers a unique opportunity to gain substantial exposure to an NHS IVF clinic (NHS Tayside). This will allow students to observe the practice and management of a working IVF clinic and benefit from teaching by staff involved in ART, and will be of considerable benefit for those wanting a clinical based career. The NHS Tayside IVF clinic has recently benefitted from a substantial investment in its facilities which has created a high quality clinical environment.

The blend of scientific, practical skills and the integration with an NHS facility giving students first hand experience and exposure to the workings of an NHS IVF clinic will provide students with an excellent base to enter a career in ART either in a clinical or research setting.

How you will be taught

The MSc is full time programme (September to August) and will consist of 5 taught modules and a research project. The course consists of a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, discussion and journal clubs as well as self-directed study. The research project will be carried out under either in the research laboratory or in the IVF clinic.

What you will study

The course is divided into 6 modules:

Module 1: Fundamental science (Semester1)
Module 2 Advanced Applied laboratory skills in ART (Semester 1 and 2)
Module 3: Statistics (Semester 1)
Module 4: Running a successful ART laboratory and clinical service (Semester 2).
Module 5: Clinical Issues and Controversies in ART (Semester 2)
Module 6: Research Project (Semester 3)

How you will be assessed

The programme is assessed using a variety of traditional and more innovative approaches. We use essays, portfolios, folders of evidence, research proposals, learning contracts, exams, OSCEs, and assessed online activities such as debates and team work.


Due to the increased demand for infertility treatment there has been a substantial growth in the demand for high quality laboratory and clinical staff in this area.

Approximately 1:7 couples are infertile and IVF is the predominant treatment for infertility contributing ~2% of the births in the UK and up to 5% in some EU countries. IVF is a rapidly growing field and as an example of this the number of cycles treated in the UK has increased by almost 30% in the last 4 years (http://www.hfea.gov.uk).

Following successful completion of the MSc students could apply for a training position in ART e.g. in embryology and/or andrology. Alternatively the MSc would be an ideal preparation for undertaking a PhD or applying for a research position. Clinically qualified graduates would gain valuable skills to enable them to specialise in reproductive medicine and assume responsibility within an ART clinic.

Skills that students will acquire include:

* In-depth understanding of basic reproductive physiology and a detailed knowledge of human ART;
* Sperm preparation and cryopreservation
* Recruitment of patients and donors for research
* Preparation of ethical approvals and appreciation for the ethical issues in ART
* Detailed work with human eggs and sperm (including assessment of gamete quality)
* Time lapse imaging of human embryos
* Business planning for running an ART laboratory and clinical service.
* QA and QC in the ART laboratory
* Troubleshooting in an ART lab
* The role of media and marketing in the development of an ART service.
* Detailed and practical knowledge of the HFEA and legislative and regulatory framework.
* Knowledge of basic IVF laboratory techniques e.g. preparation of dishes, witnessing
* Appreciation of the clinical diagnostic and pathways in ART

Visit the MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception page on the University of Dundee website for more details!





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