Taught course

Medical Genetics and Genomics

Institution
University of Glasgow · School of Medicine
Qualifications
MSc(MedSci)

Entry requirements

You should have a degree with Honours or equivalent in a relevant biological science. Applicants with a degree in medicine / dentistry or equivalent and a clear interest in genetics will also be considered.

You are required to provide two references and a full degree transcript with your application.

Months of entry

September

Course content

The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires contributions from research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to investigate the causes of, and therefore permit optimal management for, diseases for which alterations in the genome, either at the DNA sequence level or epigenetic level, play a significant role. Collaboration between staff from the University of Glasgow and the NHS West of Scotland Genetics Service enables the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics to provide a state-of-the-art view of the application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and diagnostics, and in delivery of a high quality genetics service to patients, as well as in design of targeted therapies.

Why Glasgow

  • This is a fully up-to-date Medical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
  • The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
  • The MSc Medical Genetics Course is based on the south side of the River Clyde in the brand new (2015) purpose built Teaching & Learning Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals (we are located 4 miles from the main University Campus). The Centre also houses state of the art educational resources, including a purpose built teaching laboratory, computing facilities and a well equipped library. The West of Scotland Genetic Services are also based here at the Queen Elizabeth Campus allowing students to learn directly from NHS staff about the latest developments to this service.
  • The Medical Genetics MSc Teaching Staff have won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering). These awards recognise and reward excellence and good practice in postgraduate education.
  • The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the Medical Genetics MSc provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
  • The Medical Genetics degree explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
  • New developments in medical genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
  • You will develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
  • This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science or by moving into related careers in diagnostic services.
  • The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
  • For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
  • The Medical Council of Hong Kong recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics from University of Glasgow in it's list of Quotable Qualifications.

Programme structure

Genetic Disease: from the Laboratory to the Clinic

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics and Genomics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Clinical Genomics

Students will take this course OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussion the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Omic technologies for the Biomedical Sciences: from Genomics to Metabolomics

Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.

An introduction to workflows for the resolution and characterisation of complex mixtures of biomolecules, from DNA to small molecule metabolites. The course emphasizes the potential and challenges of omic approaches and will include data handling tasks and demonstration.

Frontiers in Cancer Science

Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences.

This course will consider success stories and challenges of cancer treatment; this will include therapy resistance, residual disease, dormancy and relapse after treatment, biomarkers and 'omics' approaches, and how recent success stories can help in the development of new treatments for other cancers.

Disease Screening in Populations

This course will cover the rationale for, and requirements of, population screening programmes to detect individuals at high risk of particular conditions, who can then be offered diagnostic investigations. Students will work in groups to investigate and report on, a screening programme of their choice from any country.

SNP Assay Design and Validation

Students will work independently to develop and validate a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Medical Genetics and Genomics Dissertation

The course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out an independent investigative project in the field of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Teaching and Learning Methods

A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures, tutorials and laboratories. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in research, diagnostics or clinical genetics. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and experimental design. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.

There are weekly optional supplementary tutorials on topics that are selected by students.

Electronic Resources

  • Access to a continually updated Moodle (virtual learning environment) with extensive additional teaching and self-assessment materials.
  • An online web-portal with regularly updated direct links to >70 worldwide genetic databases & online algorithms (plus the latest new genetics discoveries), all easily accessible and grouped into useful categories.

Career prospects

Research: About half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs; the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.

Diagnostics: Some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, particularly in molecular genetics and cytogenetics.

Clinical genetics: Those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.

Other: Although the focus of teaching is on using the available technologies for the purpose of genetic diagnostics, many of these technologies are used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many countries around the world, have entered careers in industry, scientific publishing, education and medicine.

Information for international students

Please see the English language requirements and the international page.

Fees and funding

UK students
Full time £7,650
International students
Full time: EU £7,650 Non EU £21,000

Qualification and course duration

MSc(MedSci)

full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details