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MSc Oral Biology

Course Description

About the course

Dental and oral disease remain the most common disease in both developed and developing countries, creating an increasing need for research in Oral Biology, for a rapidly growing area of commercial exploitation within the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry.
The MSc in Oral Biology is a brand-new taught master’s degree programme with an integrated laboratory-based research project. The Oral Biology programme is a dedicated Research Master's course aimed at providing particular or specialist research training in preparation for a research career or as a foundation for a PhD in the Biomedical Sciences.

The aim of the course is to offer individuals from both a scientific and clinical background the opportunity to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems / new insights around the interdisciplinary environment at the forefront of oral biology.

Special Features

• The MSc in Oral Biology is a hybrid course, which provides taught components and a laboratory-based research project.
• The taught part of the Oral Biology course has a strong focus on teaching students research methodology and modern experimental design/approaches, as well as the relevant oral biology background, thus laying a good foundation for the research project that students undertake in part two of this course.
• Students will develop laboratory research skills.
• Training is provided so that students will be able to use research equipment independently.
• Students gain laboratory experience in a well-equipped research laboratory, laying a foundation for further study/enquiry.

Course Structure

The MSc Oral Biology is a 12-month full-time multidisciplinary modular programme consisting of 4 taught core modules (part 1) and a 5-month laboratory research project leading to a dissertation (part 2). The taught modules are listed below. This course will encompass a wide breadth of biomedical research that is also applicable to clinical dentistry and medicine, derived from the research strengths available within the School of Dentistry. The MSc programme in Oral Biology has a strong research focus in the taught element, as well as the laboratory research projects and it is envisaged as an entry programme for postgraduate research recruitment.

All taught elements will be delivered within the School of Dentistry. Students may attend other schools to undertake their research project. Research project capacity is available and given the strong collaborative links that staff have with the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Bioscience (amongst others), it is hoped collaborative projects will be available for students.

Part 1: Taught Component

During Part 1 of the MSc in Oral Biology, the modules are delivered concurrently over a 26-week period. In Part 1, students will study the following modules, each of which is worth 30M level credits:

• Research Methods (DET031)
The aim of this Module is to provide Students with both the theoretical and practical skills necessary to undertake dental research in Oral Biology. The module covers the key areas of research: literature reviews, designing research studies, ethical implications, critical appraisal, quantitative data collection and analysis, qualitative data collection and analysis, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, dissemination and translation of research.

• Cell Biology of Oral Tissues
Knowledge of the cell biology of oral tissues is of importance to understand disease and to develop novel therapeutic interventions to maintain oral health. This module covers the biology of oral tissues in health and disease at a cellular level. Within these tissues, the roles of cells, signalling molecules, biomechanical forces and immune responses will be explored in the maintenance of healthy structures and consequences as a result of disease or trauma.

• Microorganisms in Oral Disease;
Knowledge and understanding of oral microorganisms are essential requirements in both the prevention and treatment of oral infection. This module will address the complexity of the oral microbiota and the interactions that occur not only between the microorganisms but also with the host. In the case of the former, the role of oral biofilms in disease processes will be covered. Involvement of microorganisms in health and disease including those associated with dental plaque, Candida species, and viruses will be key topics in this module. In addition, the relationships between oral microbiology and systemic disease will be addressed. Traditional and contemporary approaches used to characterise the oral microbiota and diagnose disease processes will form significant components of the module, which will also include treatment options for specific microbial infections.

• Tissue Repair, Regeneration & Scientific Methods
Knowledge of the repair process of the oral tissues is essential to develop novel clinical therapeutics. This module covers the principles of oral tissue repair at the cellular level and details the processes leading to tissue regeneration. The roles of cells, signalling molecules, and immune response will be discussed in relation to controlling a repair response. Topics including: soft and hard tissue repair, stem cell biology, clinical developments and basic principles of laboratory techniques used to investigate such processes will be taught on this module.

Part 2: Research Project

Following satisfactory completion of the assessed course work and examinations in Part 1, students will progress to Part 2 of the Oral Biology course, the dissertation, which commences in April. Students will be required to complete and submit a laboratory-based research project dissertation and present their work as a poster presentation (total 60 credits) to obtain a Master’s degree.

Careers Prospects

A master's degree in Oral Biology opens the door to a variety of possible future careers. The modules prepare each student to optimise their learning towards their chosen future career. The core skills modules immerse students in the research environment, which will be practiced in the laboratory-based research project, leading to a dissertation. This allows students to distinguish themselves in today's highly competitive job market.

Visit the MSc Oral Biology page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for biologists, biochemists, biomedical engineers, dentists, physicians, chemists or pharmacists.Applicants should possess a minimum second class honours degree (or equivalent), preferably higher, in Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical engineering or clinical dental (BDS, MBBS, BSc Therapy and Hygiene) or medical backgrounds. Applicants with a Chemistry or Pharmacy background will also be considered.Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the following requirements (IELTS: 7.0 overall with 6.0 across the four subscores).

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