Introduction

This programme aims to provide students with knowledge of molecular medicine and, uniquely, allows students to create their own curriculum from offered molecular medicine courses.

This programme is studied on campus.

Extraordinary technological advances in molecular biology, ranging from next-generation sequencing to the engineering of biologic therapies, are revolutionising our ability to diagnose and treat patients.

This MSc programme in Molecular Medicine offers a broad curriculum centred around molecular technologies. Subjects are taught from the perspective of understanding how insights and tools from molecular science can help us to understand and treat human disease.

The programme is delivered by molecular medicine researchers, providing a research-led teaching experience. It offers the opportunity to gain highly sought-after skills that will equip you for career destinations across a diversity of molecular medicine subject areas in both industry and academia.

Uniquely, this MSc programme provides a high degree of flexibility to select courses to build a curriculum based upon your research and academic interests. Course options are available in the areas of genetics, biotechnology, drug development and pharmacology, microbiology and immunology, allowing you to tailor the programme to your particular career aspirations.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

The MSc in Molecular Medicine offers a broad curriculum covering recent advances in Molecular Medicine. Subjects are taught from the perspective of understanding how modern insights and tools from molecular science can help us to understand and treat human disease. Uniquely, this MSc programme provides you with a large degree of flexibility to select courses to build a curriculum based upon your research and academic interests. Course options are available in the areas of genetics, biotechnology, drug development and pharmacology, microbiology and immunology, allowing you to tailor the programme to your particular career aspirations. Successful completion of the MSc requires 180 course credits.

Semester 1

Semester 1

In semester 1 students study three compulsory courses plus at least one of Biotechnology or Molecular Genetics, and up to two further elective courses, for a total of 60 credits.

Compulsory Courses

Bioinformatics (MB5021) - 15 Credit Points

A course containing a series of lectures describing 'latest-methods and discoveries' in areas of bioinformatics and functional genomics including transcriptomics, proteomics, and DNA sequence analysis

Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer analysis of transcriptome datasets to understand how cells respond to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format.

Contains a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of DNA and protein sequence analysis.

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Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. The course will revise basic laboratory skills and techniques and advance these to a level required to undertake graduate practical classes and projects by developing hands-on experience, competence and confidence in key laboratory skills.

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Biotechnology (BT5014) - 15 Credit Points

Modern biotechnology is absolutely dependent upon our increasingly sophisticated ability to use microbial and mammalian host cells as factories to produce high quantities of protein pharmaceuticals, e.g. insulin. Increasingly, cells engineered with multiple foreign genes are also being used to drive small molecule drug production. This course will explore how such heterologous protein expression processes can be engineered and optimised to drive efficient synthesis of the next generation medicines on which healthcare systems are increasingly depending.

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Molecular Genetics (MB5025) - 15 Credit Points

Series of lectures covering fundamental topics such as RNA (coding, non-coding transcription), DNA –protein interactions (e.g. chromatin, transcription factors), 3D structure of chromosomes and regulation of gene activity) as well as on genome structure/genetic mapping and advanced analytical methods such as CRISPR and genome editing technology. Lectures are complemented by tutorials and workshops covering related topics.

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Study Skills for Life (GS50M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the transferable skills required to both complete their degree programme and progress in their future career. The course provides guides and workshops on a variety of skills, including literature appraisal, academic integrity, writing, presentations, note taking and time management. It provides online resources for developing IT and numeracy skills, and acts as a resource for advertising development opportunities both within and outside the university.

The course strongly relies on self-reflection and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course itself is compulsory the majority of the course sessions offered are optional, and support is given to the students to help them identify what they most need to work on. Completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the first of two courses relating to cross-discipline skills development that is compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

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Optional Courses

Drug Metabolism & Toxicology (MT5003) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides advanced level learning in drug metabolism, discovery and development. It includes the importance of drug transporters in the drug discovery process, regulatory issues and molecular toxicology and pharmacology at an advanced level. Mechanisms of drug-induced and oxidative stress and immunopharmacology are described. External experts are invited to provide their unique expertise on a range of topics which can include toxicopathology, immunotoxicology, risk assessment and an industrial perspective on the drug discovery process.

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Molecular Pharmacology (MT5024) - 15 Credit Points

The course focuses on the molecular mechanisms of drug action and how cutting edge research can advance current therapeutic approaches to disease. The utility of molecular pharmacology will be highlighted in the context of current and future drug discovery for cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic diseases and cancer.

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Introduction to Microbiology (MC5008) - 15 Credit Points

This course will provide students with microbiology knowledge for further advanced studies and will provide training in microbiological laboratory techniques. At the end of this course students will have an understanding of microbes associated with health and disease (including bacteria, fungi and viruses), practical and academic understanding of laboratory techniques required for the culture, identification and characterisation of microbes, and increased confidence in reading and critiquing primary research literature.

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Introductory Immunology (MB5023) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides information on the basic immune system, how it functions in health and disease, and how we can enhance its activity using novel therapies for autoimmune disease, infection, allergy and most notably cancer. All aspects of both the innate and the adaptive immune system are covered to provide a very good background understanding of the immune system and how it can be used to maintain health.

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Applied Statistics (PU5017) - 15 Credit Points

This course intends to develop the student's awareness of the fact that statistical techniques are integral to scientific research. Researchers must be able to specify a precise research question in statistical terms and then select an appropriate study design in order to carry out an effective research project. They must also be able to assess the adequacy of the research presented in scientific or medical literature. The same skills are also required for many MSc dissertation projects.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

In semester 2 students study two compulsory courses and two elective courses, for a total of 60 credits.

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Bioinformatics and Genome Sequencing (MB5522) - 15 Credit Points

An exciting course that brings a student right up to date with the most modern bioinformatics, genome assembly and annotation technology. You, the student, will isolate a novel bacterium from the environment and purify its DNA. This will be whole genome sequenced, and you will then assemble your own bacterial genome and functionally annotate it, taught by expert bioinformaticians from our Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine. Your analysis will enable you to make identifications of the species you have isolated, its metabolic and environmental responses, growth constraints and regulation, cell surface markers and antibiotic resistance, producing a full inventory of genes and their presumptive functions. Overall the course prepares a student for future employment in a biosciences workplace where genome sequencing and annotation is becoming an every-day tool of modern biotechnology.

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Research Tutorials (MB5518) - 15 Credit Points

A course that leads you through research-level study of your subject through study of a range of areas of the science literature

An introduction to the subject of your summer research project through the writing of an extended essay on the subject of your forthcoming research project.

The course provides an opportunity to study advanced science concepts led by an experienced member of academic staff.

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Beyond Your Degree (GS55M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the skills needed to progress in their degree programme and beyond into their chosen career. It focuses on the job application process, the support available from the university both during and after their degree, and the skills that apply to undertaking projects. Sessions include an introduction to the careers service, CV, cover letter and interview skills, workplace professionalism and managing projects. Online resources are provided to support transferable skill development.

The course strongly relies on self-assessment and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course is compulsory, most of the course sessions offered are optional, and completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the second of two courses relating to generic skills that are compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Human Genetics (MB5523) - 15 Credit Points

Human genetics has undergone a revolution over the last decade, driven by technological innovations that have given us an unprecedented insight into the genetic diversity of our species. This course will explore how this information is used to determine the role of genetic variation in human health and disease.

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Genome - Enabled Medicine (MB5517) - 15 Credit Points

A course describing the wide range of ways in which genome sequencing has transformed our understanding of medicine and human disease

A course placing a high value on its teaching and learning; all lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science.

Contains a material detailing a range of examples of genome science and its applications in medicine, ranging from the human genome (genome-wide association studies) to microbial (pathogen genome sequencing).

A course that makes wide use of the literature, allowing you to read about and understand the latest methods in genome science

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Biologic Drug Discovery (BT5509) - 15 Credit Points

Biologic therapies represent one of the most important and novel areas of drug discovery in the 21st century. The aim of this course is to provide an insight into the success of protein, peptide or antibody based biologic therapies and to examine how this exciting new area will develop over the next decade.

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Drug Development to Evidence Based Medicine (MT5520) - 15 Credit Points

This course will provide you with an introduction to evidence-based medicine. It will also include a description of the elements of pharmaceutical research as well as of the drug development process.

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Host - Pathogen Interactions (MB5516) - 15 Credit Points

Why do some microorganisms cause disease, yet others don’t? This course explores host-pathogen interactions from bacterial, fungal, parasite, viral and host perspectives in a lecture series, examining virulence factors, host defences and immune responses. Students develop a detailed knowledge of one specific host-pathogen interaction through self-directed study and review of a specific disease selected by the student. In addition, workshops discuss experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions, virulence and novel drug treatments. The material on the course will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of the roles of host and pathogen in infectious disease.

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Immunogenetics (MB5519) - 15 Credit Points

The genetic basis of self/non-self discrimination underlies all immune responses and can influence disease susceptibility at the level of both individual and populations. This course addresses this topic through lectures from research active experts in the main areas covered.

The course Workshop involves students delivering a poster presentation on a course-related topic, providing the opportunity for students to practice presentation skills before undertaking the Masters Research project later in the academic year.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

In semester 3 students complete an individual research project.

Compulsory Courses

Masters Research Project (MB5902) - 60 Credit Points

The topic of the project will be subject and supervisor dependant.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

The teaching on this programme is lecture based with self-directed learning, practical classes and tutorials to support the lecture material.

The majority of lectures are recorded and can be viewed again when required. The MSc makes the most of hands-on learning to enable repeated exposure to evidence-based practice using real life examples. Some of the teaching methods employed in the programme include:

  • Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning
  • Exposure to leading academics
  • Research-led teaching taught by key opinion leaders
  • Insight into real-life situations and examples

On-going support is provided by the University’s dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers, who will be tutoring you. Peer support will develop throughout the course(s) as engagement with students from other countries and disciplines is actively encouraged.

Much of the teaching on this course is participatory and you are expected to consolidate all taught content by completing related tasks and activities and engaging in independent study in your own time.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Research
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Taught courses are assessed by a combination of written assignments and reports, oral presentations, and by examination. All students undertake a research project, which is submitted for assessment in the form of a research manuscript. Students also present an oral presentation on their project.

Why Study Molecular Medicine?

  • Gain insights into the rapid and extraordinary technological advances in molecular biology that are revolutionising clinical medicine.
  • Tailor the curriculum to your academic interests and career aspirations by selecting courses from a large range of available options.
  • Enjoy world class teaching delivered by experts within the Institute of Medical Sciences, allowing you to benefit from a research-led teaching experience.
  • Benefit from the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive research project in molecular medicine.
  • Gain highly sought after skills that will equip you for career destinations across a diversity of molecular medicine subject areas in both industry and academia.
  • Be based at our Foresterhill Health Campus, which includes one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, the Institute of Medical Sciences, and the Rowett Institute.
  • Benefit from skills training to help with scientific writing, analytical skills, CV writing, interview skills and reading scientific literature.
  • Enjoy small class sizes that give you the opportunity to participate in class discussions and to have good access to the teaching staff.
  • The University of Aberdeen is ranked 1st in Scotland and 4th in the UK for Medicine, Guardian League Tables 2019
  • The University of Aberdeen is a World Top 160 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019)
  • The University of Aberdeen is a Top 30 UK University, Complete University Guide 2020

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

A second class Honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent qualification in a biological or medical science degree is required for entry onto this programme.

Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

CV
an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £20,000
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

The MSc in Molecular Medicine will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you in to many careers. This course provides excellent training for graduates looking to pursue research careers who wish to expand their knowledge and skills for starting a PhD or becoming research scientists (research assistants or technologists).

The knowledge and skills acquired through this MSc Programme are also of great value for those seeking a career in industry, biotechnology, or hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories. More generally, molecular medicine graduates can also use their training to pursue careers in education, scientific publishing, intellectual property and patent law, and science outreach.

Gain sought after skills transforming medicine

Enter the world of modern molecular technologies, ranging from next generation sequencing to the engineering of biologic therapies, that are revolutionising our ability to diagnose and treat patients.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Anke Jozefien Roelofs

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX