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Course content

About the course

Lead academic: Dr Martin Nicklin

This flexible course focuses on the molecular and genetic factors of human diseases. Understanding those factors is crucial to the development of therapies. Core modules cover the fundamentals. You choose specialist modules from the pathway that interests you most. We also give you practical lab training to prepare you for your research project. The project is five months of invaluable laboratory experience: planning, carrying out, recording and reporting your own research.

Recent graduates work in academic research science, pharmaceuticals and the biotech industry.

Our study environment

You’ll be based in teaching hospitals that serve a population of over half a million people and refer a further two million. We also have close links with the University’s other health-related departments.

Our research funding comes from many sources including the NIHR, MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, the Department of Health, EU, and prominent charities such as the Wellcome Trust, ARC, YCR, Cancer Research UK and BHF. Our partners and sponsors include Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Eli Lilly.

You’ll also benefit from our collaboration with the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

How we teach

Classes are kept small (15–20 students) to make sure you get the best possible experience in laboratories and in clinical settings.

Our resources

We have a state-of-the-art biorepository and a £30m stem cell laboratory. The Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) opened in November 2010. We also have microarray, genetics, histology, flow cytometry and high-throughput screening technology, and the latest equipment for bone and oncology research.

At our Clinical Research Facility, you’ll be able to conduct studies with adult patients and volunteers. The Sheffield Children’s Hospital houses a complementary facility for paediatric experimental medical research.

Hepatitis B policy

If your course involves a significant risk of exposure to human blood or other body fluids and tissue, you’ll need to complete a course of Hepatitis B immunisation before starting. We conform to national guidelines that are in place to protect patients, health care workers and students.

Core modules

From Genome to Gene Function; Human Gene Bioinformatics; Research Literature Review; Human Disease Genetics; Modulating Immunity; Laboratory Practice and Statistics.

You choose: six optional pathways

1. Genetic Mechanisms pathway:


Modelling Protein Interactions; Gene Networks: Models and Functions.

2. Microbes and Infection pathway:


Virulence Mechanisms of Viruses, Fungi and Protozoa; Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenicity; Characterisation of Bacterial Virulence Determinants.

3. Experimental Medicine pathway:


Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease; Model Systems in Research; Novel Therapies.

4. Cancer pathway:

Molecular Basis of Tumourigenesis and Metastasis; Molecular Techniques in Cancer Research; Molecular Approaches to Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment.

5. Cardiovascular pathway:

Vascular Cell Biology; Experimental Models of Vascular Disease; Vascular Disease Therapy and Clinical Practice.

6. Clinical Applications pathway:

Apply directly to this pathway. Available only to medical graduates. Students are recruited to a specialist clinical team and pursue the taught programme (1-5) related to the attachment. They are then attached to a clinical team for 20 weeks, either for a clinical research project or for clinical observations. See website for more detail and current attachments.

Teaching and assessment

Lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory demonstrations, computer practicals and student presentations. Assessment is continuous. Most modules are assessed by written assignments and coursework, although there are some written exams. Two modules are assessed by verbal presentations.

Your research project is assessed by a thesis, possibly with a viva.

Visit the MSc Molecular Medicine page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

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