Providing you with a leading-edge experience of medical sciences research through delivery of a research-led, in-lab, project-centred MRes, with an extended laboratory research project supervised by leading molecular bioscience researchers.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study
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This programme will provide you with the opportunity to gain comprehensive medical sciences research experience by undertaking an extended laboratory research project supervised by leading molecular bioscience researchers in the Institute of Medical Sciences, or the adjoining Rowett Institute.

The Institute of Medical Sciences is equipped with state of the art cytometry, genomics, proteomics and imaging facilities to ensure a top-class research experience. You will thereby be equipped with knowledge and skills needed to secure subsequent PhD training in academia, or employment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

You will study elective courses in molecular medicine, genome-enabled medicine and bioinformatics, cardiovascular sciences, molecular genetics, immunology and microbiology, each taught in the context of health and disease. The clinical relevance is directly strengthened by the location of the teaching on one of the largest health campuses in Europe, with Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on site, and by the input of clinicians into the MSc training and research projects.

This programme is available to start in September or January.

What You'll Study

This programme is designed to allow students to further develop their knowledge of medical sciences and to enhance their research skills and experience in an extended research project designed around the student’s research interests. As well as undertaking an extended laboratory research project, you will study a series of elective courses in molecular medicine, genome-enabled medicine and bioinformatics, cardiovascular sciences, molecular genetics, immunology and microbiology, each taught in the context of health and disease.

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Students undertake two compulsory courses in semester 1 and one in semester 2.

In semesters 2 and 3 students undertake an extended research project in Medical Sciences (120 credits).

Shaping A Research Question (MB5027)

5 Credit Points

This short course allows students to explore the research carried out within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition and identify a supervisor and research area for their extended research project.

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Extended Research Project in Medical Sciences (MB5525)

120 Credit Points

This course is an extended research project which is designed with a supervisor/principle investigator with research interests aligned with those of the student. The project (including assessment) runs from January until August.

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Optional Courses

In semester 1 students should select four 15 credit courses from the following options

(please note: the following courses cannot be taken together due to timetabling constraints: MC5008 and BM5003; MB5021 and MT5029; MB5026 and MT5029).

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 a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of next generation sequence analysis, transcriptomics, proteomics and sequence similarity analysis.

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Molecular Genetics (MB5025)

15 Credit Points

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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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Applied Statistics (PU5017)

15 Credit Points

This course in Applied Statistics intends to focus on the application of statistical techniques in postgraduate research for health professionals, with a particular emphasis on the correct interpretation of statistical analyses. The course will NOT concentrate on the statistical theory underlying the subject. An important component of the course is the use of a statistical package. The statistical package used on this course will be IBM SPSS Statistics 25 which can be used to implement all of the methods taught on this course.

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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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Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5013)

15 Credit Points

The course will focuson small molecule drug discovery. Receptor theory and cell communication and signalling will be revised tofacilitate understanding of the remainder of the course. The basis of the drugdiscovery process will be described and the phases of drug development discussed. A range of targets for drug discovery will beidentified and how small molecule drug affect these will be described. Issues around drug regulation will be raised.

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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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Principles of Reproductive Biology (MB5026)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide an interdisciplinary approach to understand normal and abnormal human reproduction, fertility and pregnancy. Assisted reproductive technologies and the surrounding ethical issues will be covered in detail. All students will have the opportunity to visit and experience the day-to-day running of the Aberdeen Fertility Centre.

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Cardiovascular Health and Disease (BM5003)

15 Credit Points

The aim of this programme is to develop a rigorous scientific approach to understanding of cardiovascular health and the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. This will be achieved through a series of lectures, laboratory practical, case study sessions and interactive clinical demonstrations. This will be delivered by academic staff from the Institute of Medical Sciences and clinical staff from NHS Grampian. This will equip you with the full range of academic, critical thinking, research and investigatory skills necessary for laboratory research and/or PhD study.

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Profiles of Immunology (MB5028)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of how behaviours (e.g. smoking, diet, medication adherence, etc) can protect, promote, risk or damage health; the key drivers of (un)healthy behaviours; and techniques to change health behaviours.

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Toxicology (MT5029)

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. Most lectures are recorded and can be viewed again when required.

The course is research-led and will involve the development of a Research Proposal, supported by discussion with the proposed research project supervisor. Students are encouraged to contact their chosen research project supervisor as early as possible in the programme.

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

  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Peer Learning
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • 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 Medical Sciences?

  • You will have an unparalleled research-led teaching experience benefiting from the Institute of Medical Sciences and Rowett Institute.
  • You will be undertaking an extended research project supervised by researchers who are leaders in their fields.
  • This programme uniquely integrates elements of taught provision with an extended lab-based research project.
  • You will benefit from the excellent genome sequencing, proteomics, cytometry and imaging facilities available to us on the Foresterhill Health Campus.
  • The programme will equip you for career destinations in PhD training and research in the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology.
  • The programme runs from the Foresterhill Health Campus which includes a large teaching hospital, Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute.
  • You will benefit from skills training to help with scientific writing, analytical skills, CV writing, interview skills and reading scientific literature.
  • Our small class sizes give you the opportunity to participate in class discussions and to have good access to the teaching staff.
    • The University of Aberdeen is a World Top 160 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022).

    Entry Requirements

    Applicants should have an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a biomedical/medical sciences (or related) subject.


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

    A biomedical/medical sciences degree at upper second class Honours (2:1 or above) or equivalent qualification is required for entry onto this programme. Subject areas include: genetics, immunology, microbiology, biomedical sciences, developmental biology, biotechnology, clinical pharmacology, etc. 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 - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

    Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 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.

    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
    a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

    Fee Information

    Fee information
    Fee category Cost
    EU / International students £23,500
    Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
    Home / RUK £10,200
    Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

    Additional Fee Information

    • 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.


    Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

    Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU)

    The Aberdeen Global Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

    This is a £2,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Postgraduate Masters students who are classed as International fee status and are domiciled in the EU, plus another £3,000 discount for eligible Postgraduate Masters students who would have previously been eligible for Home fees (Scottish/EU) fee status.

    View Aberdeen Global Scholarship


    The Research Masters Programme will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you in to many careers, but is particularly oriented for students intending to pursue a research career.

    Many of our graduates in other programmes choose to continue in research careers and begin PhDs or become research scientists (research assistants or technicians). They have obtained posts in Universities, industry, biotechnology and hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories. Further opportunities are available to apply research training in scientific publishing, in patent offices working on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of biomedical issues.

    Research Impact

    In the last 12 months, staff at the IMS raised £30 million in research funding and published 415 peer-reviewed papers.

    Our Experts

    Programme Coordinator
    Professor Anne Donaldson

    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.


    Image for The Institute of Medical Sciences
    The Institute of Medical Sciences

    The Institute of Medical Sciences

    Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

    Image for Foresterhill Health Campus
    Foresterhill Health Campus

    Foresterhill Health Campus

    The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

    Image for Opening 2022 - Science Teaching Hub
    Opening 2022 - Science Teaching Hub

    Opening 2022 - Science Teaching Hub

    Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub will provide students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.

    Find out more

    Get in Touch

    Contact Details

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