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Biomedical Sciences (Immunology) (MSc)


Course Description

The course will allow you to expand your understanding of immunology, immunopathology and immunotherapy, to further develop skills in analytical approaches to immunodiagnosis and molecular therapeutics, as well as enhance your competence in the design and execution of a laboratory based project. You will be able to take a proactive role in research, development, evaluation and implementation of current immunological techniques while perceiving the subject in the broader perspective of health care and scientific progress.

The scope of the modules included will ensure a breadth of knowledge appropriate for the scientific and professional needs of practising immunologists, at the same time making use of your knowledge and experience. This course is designed so that you can plan your own taught programme to match your interests and experience by combining core and optional modules with emphasis on therapeutics, diagnostics, haematology or public health.

Core Modules

• Cell Signalling and Genetics
This module provides up-to-date information on cell signalling processes coupling surface receptor engagement to changes in gene expression. Transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms are discussed in relation to selected cell-signalling pathways responsible for controlling cell functions such as cell cycle, cell differentiation and cell death. Examples of defective cell signalling through inherited and somatically acquired mutations in signalling components will be highlighted in relation to human disease.

• Immunopathology
You will analyse and discuss cellular and molecular aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses, and advances in modern methods for disease diagnosis and treatment. This will include strategies available for the diagnosis of inherited and acquired immunological disorders, normal and pathological immune responses to extracellular and intracellular pathogens, transplantation of organs and tissues, immune surveillance of tumours, autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders

• Immunotherapy
The module aims to investigate the role of immunological tools such as vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and cytokines in the treatment of human disease.

• Postgraduate Project
This module aims to enhance your skills of self-management, experimental design, critical analysis and interpretation of data, enabling you to present and justify your research.

• Postgraduate Research Methods
You will be able to develop your skills in information retrieval, critical analysis and presentation relevant to your research topic, and form a clear plan for your project.

Option Modules

• Advanced Cancer Biology
This module will explore the role of common signalling pathways and other molecular mechanisms implicated in carcinogenesis, including the role of cancer stem cells in disease progression and metastasis. Recent advances in diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategies will be discussed as well as ways in which public health initiatives can lower the risk of cancer development, and how issues related to cancer are reported in the media.

• Extended Postgraduate Project
This module gives you the opportunity to investigate an appropriate research topic, generate and critically analyse data, and present your results and discuss findings in the context of previously published work. The project proposed and undertaken must include rigorous and critical analysis of data with a high level of initiative. This module is intended for students wishing to gain greater research experience and includes an extended period of research activity and extended assessment regime.

• Immunohaematology and Haemostasis
This module will cover clinically important blood group systems and laboratory techniques used to identify blood group antigens and antibodies, and to ensure safety of blood components for transfusion and transplantation. In addition you will examine the various components of the haemostasis system together with clinical disorders leading to increased risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Anticoagulant therapy and relevant laboratory techniques for investigation of haemostasis will also be covered.

• Infectious Diseases and Public Health
The module explores the factors determining the importance of infectious diseases and the role of surveillance in their control. You will develop a critical approach to contemporary literature on selected diseases, evaluating the relative importance of epidemiology, routine laboratory investigations, laboratory-based research, clinical diagnosis and control of infectious diseases.

• Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics
This module reviews and discusses the ways in which molecular biology has been used to treat inherited and acquired diseases. You will investigate the ethics and legislation involved in the use of novel therapies in humans.

• Molecular Science and Diagnostics
This module is designed to make you aware of the impact of molecular biology on the diagnosis of human diseases. You will critically review the technologies and determine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each diagnostic strategy. Issues of accuracy, implementation, ethics and safety will be addressed.

• Principles of Molecular Medicine
The module provides you with a critical appreciation of the human genome, its regulation, functional significance of gene mutations and current approaches of identification of human genetic disorders. Topics covered include: molecular basis of host-pathogen interaction; molecular pathology of disease with simple genetics; molecular genetics of disease; complex systems, immunogenetics and disease; and molecular genetics of cancer.

• Systems Biology
This module will introduce the theoretical and practical underpinnings of systems biology. The emphasis is on studies of entire systems, assisted by the use of bioinformatics and how the knowledge from these may be applied to medicine. The module will examine databases and other resources as well as discuss issues key to the studies of entire systems.

Associated careers

The course has been designed to provide professionals with a broad range of skills in immunology, immunopathology and immunotherapy. Successful completion of the course will enhance your career prospects in education, in PhD programmes, in academia, research institutes, as well as in pharmaceutical and related industries. UK part-time students are normally employed in hospital or NHSBT laboratories or in research establishments.

You will develop a range of transferable skills that will enhance your employment prospects and research opportunities in the UK or overseas. As an international student with experience in biomedical sciences, following completion of their studies, you will be able to return to your home country to pursue research opportunities or promotion, seek employment as research technician, biomedical scientist, scientific or medical technical officer or research assistant. You may also seek jobs in industry, research or healthcare or apply for further training (biomedical or clinical scientist routes).

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Employability

At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Biomedical Sciences (Immunology) (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must have at least a BSc Honours in Biomedical Sciences or a closely related subject, a professional qualification of equivalent status and associated work experience or an equivalent qualification deemed suitable by the course team. If you are applying for part-time study, you will normally be working in a relevant area and will require written support from your employer including confirmation that facilities will be available in your workplace for you to carry out your research project. If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS score of at least 6.5, with 6.0 in each element.

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