The MSc/Diploma has been developed by the Division of Reproduction and Early Development within the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics in association with the Leeds Centre of Reproductive Medicine in the NHS Trust. The course aims to provide a high standard of education in clinical embryology and to provide enhanced academic and professional development for embryologists, clinical scientists and clinicians working in the field through provision of a recognised qualification which will contribute to uniformity of knowledge in the theory and practise of clinical embryology. The part-time, distance learning format allows applicants in full-time employment to acquire an MSc degree.
The course was established in 2000, as the first web-based MSc degree course in Clinical Embryology. The course celebrated its 15th year in 2014. Over 250 students from over 40 countries have attended the course to date.
The programme will provide a depth of knowledge and understanding of topics and issues within and related to clinical embryology. By the end of the MSc course students should be able to:
• Understand the molecular and endocrinological control of human reproduction, gametogenesis, fertilisation & early embryonic development, embryonic stem cells, epigenetics, and the causes and management of infertility
• Use laboratory techniques in molecular biology and genetics
• Understand assisted fertilisation techniques including micromanipulation and establish and maintain quality assurance and quality management systems, for the reliable operation of an IVF clinic. Understand the selection of the best oocyte and embryo. Undertake a lab design project
• Evaluate the latest developments in cryopreservation and vitrification of oocytes, spermatozoa, zygotes and cleavage and blastocyst stage embryos as well as ovarian and testicular biopsies
• Assess the HFEA act and code of practice and discuss the wider ethical issues of infertility treatments
• Submit a research project proposal carried out within the field of Assisted Reproduction Technology
The course will comprise the following compulsory modules:
Module 1: Fundamentals of Clinical Embryology
Module 2: IVF and Embryo Culture
Module 3: Micromanipulation
Module 4: Cryobiology and Cryopreservation
Module 5: Ethics and Law for Embryologists
Module 6: Research Project Proposal
This is a distance learning course that is delivered primarily by a dedicated course website and by the provision of printed versions of five of the course modules. Additional material is available online. Student-tutor communication is by e-mail.
There are three separate, week long workshops in Leeds during the course at which students meet the academic team for lectures, tuition and assessment.
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The course has been developed as a professional, post-graduate qualification for embryologists, clinical scientists and clinicians who are already working within the field of assisted conception. An honours degree in a biological science or a related science degree is required, however, applicants with many years of appropriate or accredited experience within an embryological laboratory may also be considered. Candidates are expected to be currently/previously employed in a laboratory practising clinical embryology with an employer expressing support in allocation of free time for study. Priority is given to applicants fulfilling both these criteria.