A Masters degree delivered by a dedicated and active research team of developmental and reproductive biologists and clinicians, allowing a truly research-led teaching experience for students.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month

Infertility and other reproductive biology issues are increasing in the UK and the call for more expertise in the subject to help understand these conditions is needed.

This MSc programme aims to provide advanced knowledge in reproductive biology and developmental biology and their relevance to health professionals. Focused on humans, and using animal models as well, you will be equipped with knowledge and skills involved in embryonic and foetal development and health; prenatal diagnosis and management of pregnancy; in vitro fertilisation; use of genomic technologies to understand gene function and identify disease causing gene mutations; role of stem cells in development and potential stem cell and gene therapy strategies to tackle congenital defects.

In addition, the programme provides laboratory based research projects in developmental and/or reproductive biology. Upon completion, you will have a thorough understanding of the key concepts of reproductive and developmental biology including the latest state-of-the-art tools to study these processes. You will be equipped for professions allied to medicine as well as research careers.

What You'll Study

Students will take a series of compulsory courses giving information on:

  • Principles of reproductive biology, which includes understanding fertility, infertility and treatments.
  • Applied developmental biology which includes exposure to advanced imaging methods, tools for understanding gene function, understanding birth defects and diagnosis.
  • Genetics, bioinformatics and genome-enable medicine which includes genomic editing technologies.
  • Research-led tutorials providing critical analysis of the latest research in reproductive and developmental biology.

Students will also have the option to select courses of their own to further develop/expand their interests for example statistics, drug metabolism and toxicology and issues in healthcare science.

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. These skills include basic laboratory skills and techniques, but also IT skills and the use of University of Aberdeen specific systems (e.g. MyAberdeen etc), writing skills, literature researching and analysis of journal articles. The overarching aim is to develop these skills to a level required to undertake graduate studies and projects in the medical science discipline areas.

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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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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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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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Optional Courses
Molecular Genetics (MB5025)

15 Credit Points

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
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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Applied Developmental Biology (MB5524)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide a thorough understanding of the mechanisms regulating embryonic and fetal development. Factors influencing normal and abnormal development, including, genes and the environment, will be discussed. The impact of developmental biology upon reproductive and regenerative medicine, including stem cells, cloning, gene editing and genetic manipulation technologies, as well as the ethical considerations, will be evaluated.

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Optional Courses
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; lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science.

Contains material detailing a range of examples of genome science and its applications in medicine.

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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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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Basic Research Methods (MT5515)

15 Credit Points

This course reviews a range of essential methodologies that are currently used in medical research from molecular technologies to human studies. Experts in the various techniques will describe the fundamentals of the methodology and show how they can be applied.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

All students must take one of the following: Masters Research Project (Laboratory) (60 credit points) OR Masters Research Project (60 credit points)

Masters Research Project (PU5922)

60 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within their field of study under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of their field of study. Alongside supervisors, students will identify a suitable topic area, describe an appropriate study design and implement an empirical study to be completed within a laboratory setting. Students will be involved alongside the supervisors in the process of defining the research question, and developing the research plan and, where appropriate, obtaining regulatory approvals. This course is for non-laboratory based projects (if you are intending to undertake a project in a scientific laboratory setting you should register on MB5913)

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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 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 academic and industry experts
  • 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

  • Clinical Learning
  • E-learning
  • Group Projects
  • 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 short research thesis. Students also present an oral presentation on their project.

Why Study Reproductive and Developmental Biology?

  • The combination of expertise of our research active staff and clinicians, together with the facilities available at the adjacent Aberdeen Fertility Centre (part of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary) make Aberdeen a centre of excellence in reproductive and developmental biology.
  • Teaching staff includes clinical staff with nationally recognised expertise in reproductive biology and fertility issues.
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive research project supervised by an established developmental and/or reproductive biology researcher. 
  • This Masters programme uniquely integrates elements of reproductive and developmental biology in the context of reproductive health issues and therapies.
  • You will benefit from being on a campus with the Aberdeen Fertility Centre and have the opportunity of gaining direct experience of fertility therapies, including IVF, within the Unit. 
  • You will be equipped for career destinations in Reproductive and Developmental Biology in industry and academia.
  • The programme is run from our Foresterhill Health Campus which includes a large teaching hospital, Institute of Medical Sciences and the Medical School.
  • 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


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

Upper Second Class Honours degree (2.1 or above) (or equivalent) in a Biological or Molecular sciences discipline. Other degree classes (2:2 is a minimum) and subjects may be considered as long as the applicant demonstrates experience in biological subjects. 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


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

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 MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology Programme will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you into many careers.

Many of our graduates choose to continue in research careers and begin PhDs or become research scientists (research assistants or technicians). Our scientists have obtained posts in Universities, industry (including research and development), biotechnology and professions allied to medicine including hospital diagnostic (including IVF) and pathology laboratories.

More generally, reproductive and developmental biologists can use their training in education, working in schools, colleges of further education and in Universities. Further opportunities are available to apply reproductive and developmental biology training in scientific publishing, in patent offices working on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of reproductive and developmental biology issues, including ethical issues like cloning and genomic editing.

The Aberdeen Fertility Centre

Students will have the opportunity to spend time in the Centre, which has been at the forefront of fertility treatment for more than 20 years.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Stefan Hoppler
Professor Martin Collinson
Dr Jonathan Pettitt
Dr Alasdair MacKenzie
Professor Paul Fowler
Programme Coordinators
Professor Neil Vargesson
Professor Lynda Erskine

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 Large teaching hospital
Large teaching hospital

Large teaching hospital

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the largest hospital in Grampian and is based on the Foresterhill Health Campus.

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