Research course

Reproductive Sciences

University of Edinburgh · School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree, with an excellent or very good classification (equivalent to first or upper second class honours in the UK), in a relevant biological, medicine or veterinary medicine discipline. Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

Months of entry


Course content

This one-year, full-time MSc by Research programme aims to introduce students to modern up-to-date molecular and cellular biological research in the field of reproductive sciences, reproductive health and reproductive medicine in a stimulating, challenging and vibrant research atmosphere, at the interface between basic science and clinical patient care.

The programme is intended for high-calibre students with biological science, medical or veterinary backgrounds.

It is advised that you contact the Programme Director, Dr Simon Riley, prior to making your application to ensure this programme meets your academic

Research profile

The main components of the programme students undertake are two 20-week research projects, performed on a very wide range of research fields within the reproductive sciences.

Topics that can be offered include using a wide range of models and in human, studying a number of important problems associated with human reproductive health and disease in testis, ovary, the uterus during the menstrual cycle and throughout pregnancy and labour, in the fetus and neonate, and in fetal programming resulting in increased risk of chronic disease in adulthood.

The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health has arranged its research under three themes:

  • ‘the niche in long term germ cell function and tissue regeneration’
  • ‘scarless healing’
  • ‘developmental programming by steroids and reproductive resilience’.

These theme titles illustrate some of the remarkable properties that make reproductive systems such relevant and powerful models for translational studies across a wide spectrum of human diseases and pathologies in other systems.

The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH) has close links with other internationally recognised research centres in the Queen’s Medical Research Institute QMRI and elsewhere in Edinburgh, with the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Veterinary School, the University of Edinburgh science campus and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Many student projects are organised with and between these centres, reflecting the interdisciplinary research environment, where students and trainees are regarded as the ‘lifeblood’ for the future.

Programme structure

The programme provides a core grounding in basic science and interlinked medical aspects of reproductive sciences. It is delivered by undertaking a two-week basic core laboratory skills training course, followed by gaining practical experience by performing two 20 week laboratory-based research projects.

These research projects provide you with hands-on laboratory experience and training in a wide range of up-to-date techniques in molecular and cellular biology. Students also gain a wide range of generic professional and scientific skills such as developing effective communication skills, and scientific writing through project reports and a grant application.

Alongside the project work there is a series of lecture modules and seminars delivered by internationally-recognised experts in the field, together with both staff and student-led small group tutorials. Examples of research projects completed in 2016-2017 can be found here:

Career opportunities

This programme is the ideal route for those wishing to embark on a PhD, or in a technical laboratory role, in the field of Reproductive Health, spanning the biosciences, clinical and veterinary fields.

The broad range of skills gained is also readily transferable into careers at the clinical-laboratory interface and in the broader biosciences industry opportunities.

This programme does not amount to specific training to become a clinical embryologist.

Fees and funding

Visit our Scholarships and Student Finance Office at for information about funding opportunities.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Dr Simon Riley
+44 (0) 131 242 6423
+44 (0) 131 242 6441