Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes, MSc

Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes, MSc


Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for more than 30%, and is set to increase over the next few decades, due to an ageing population and a steep rise in metabolic syndromes. Our MSc programme, taught by scientists and clinicians who are leaders in their field, will equip you with knowledge of the epidemiology, genetics, pathological and molecular mechanisms underpinning cardiovascular disease, its diagnosis, risk factors and pharmacological management.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Location of Study
Subject marketing image

Our programme will deliver a cutting-edge view of cardiovascular and metabolic science which have been identified as priority areas of the Scottish and UK Governments and funding bodies. This modular-based programme comprises research-led teaching experience including tutorials, workshops and a laboratory research project supervised by leading internationally recognised cardiovascular, diabetes and nutritional scientists.

Why study with us?

  • You will acquire a solid knowledge base in the cardiovascular system and predisposing risk factors such as diabetes and obesity.
  • You will be based within the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute, providing a unique learning experience integrating elements of cardiovascular and metabolic science.
  • You will have access to excellent cardiovascular laboratory facilities and you will undertake a research project tailored to your expertise and interests.
  • The clinical relevance of the programme is strengthened by the location of the teaching, with Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on site, and through input of cardiovascular and diabetes clinicians into the MSc training and research projects.

The combination of internationally recognised cardiovascular laboratory research, input of clinicians to the teaching and the established excellence in nutrition research at the Rowett Institute provides a unique experience for students. You will be equipped with knowledge and skills needed to secure subsequent PhD training in academia, or employment in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare or educational sectors. Students will study core courses in molecular medicine, genome-enabled medicine and bioinformatics, alongside cardiovascular and metabolic sciences taught in the context of health and disease.

What You'll Study

The taught part of our MSc programme extends over two semesters. Over the last four months of the programme, students will undertake an individual research project.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

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.

Molecular Pharmacology (PA4005)

15 Credit Points

  • this course provides topical reviews of receptor diversity, expression and signalling in the contexts of both basic science and applications in the treatments of disease and ill health;
  • modern and developing aspects of pharmacology are linked with proteomics/ genomics, therapeutics and methods of drug discovery;
  • specialist emerging aspects of molecular pharmacology including biased ligands and receptor trafficking and their role in disease will be studied in detail;
  • in addition to lectures the course includes advanced data analysis-based tutorials and data presentation which will enhance transferable skills and add to graduate portfolios

Optional Courses

In semester 1, students select two elective courses from the following:

Profiles of Immunology (MB5028)

15 Credit Points

This course provides all of the basics regarding the immune system, including both the innate and adaptive immune system and how they are important in a range of different disease scenarios.

Foundations of Nutrition (RN5003)

15 Credit Points

Course Aims:

The course aims to enable you to develop a broad knowledge, understanding, and application of the scientific basis of human nutrition.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Summarise the underlying physiology related to human nutrition.
  2. Explain the key concepts of nutrient and energy metabolism.
  3. Distinguish between the metabolism of different macronutrients.
  4. Outline the role of micronutrients and non-nutritive dietary components in human nutrition.
  5. Assess the interactions between nutrients as part of a whole diet.
  6. Prepare, process, interpret, and present topics in human nutrition using formal presentation.
Assessment of Nutritional Status (RN5008)

15 Credit Points

This course will give you a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of the methods used to assess nutritional status, including dietary intake, assessment of body composition and energy expenditure applied in the context of energy balance. Theory will be put into practice through a series of practical workshop and laboratory sessions to give you ‘hands-on’ experience of using a range of assessment techniques using state-of-the-art equipment routinely employed by nutritional scientists.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Diabetes and Metabolism (BM5502)

15 Credit Points

The aim of this programme is to develop a rigorous scientific approach to understanding of diabetes and metabolic complications associated with poor nutrition, obesity, lifestyle and ageing. This will be achieved through a series of lectures, small class tutorials, case study sessions with clinicians from the NHS Grampian, nutritionists and research scientist from the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health. Later on in the session, this can also be achieved by conducting an independent and original research project, working alongside experienced laboratory researchers. This will equip you with the full range of academic, critical thinking, research and investigatory skills necessary for laboratory research and/or PhD study.

Nutrition and Health (RN5507)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide a detailed knowledge of the relationships between diet, human development, health, and disease. Topics covered include diet and nutrition across the life course, integration and adaptability of different metabolic pathways to e.g. starvation, exercise, and the role of diet in the development of diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition, it will also provide insight into the effects of malnutrition and food processing on health. A combination of lectures, and a laboratory class will help consolidate your understanding of the impact food and nutrients on health.

Optional Courses

In semester 2, students undertake two electives from a choice of the following courses:

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.

Genes and Immunity (MB5526)

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.

Research Tutorials (MB5518)

15 Credit Points

The aim of this course is to develop understanding of hypothesis-lead research and to provide an opportunity to study advanced science concepts and experimental approaches led by an experienced member of academic staff.

Clinical Nutrition (RN5505)

15 Credit Points

Clinical nutrition is the study of diet in relation to the development and treatment of human disease. This specialism course provides an up-to-date and detailed knowledge on the role of nutrition in the aetiology, prevention and treatment of disease in humans, with particular emphasis on disease prevention. The course covers key topics surrounding nutrition and disease, and how clinical nutrition links with public health and molecular nutrition. The course also provides an overview of research tools widely used in clinical nutrition research, and a training on evidence-based analysis of nutrition case studies.

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.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

In semester 3, students undertake an individual research project.

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)

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.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £25,100
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 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.

How You'll Study

The teaching on this programme will encompass research-led learning using laboratory practical classes, workshops, clinical demonstrations and tutorials to support the lecture material. 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 in cardiovascular and diabetes research using clinical case studies. Some of the teaching methods employed in the programme include:

  • Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning
  • Exposure to leading academic and clinical experts
  • Research-led teaching taught by key opinion leaders in cardiovascular and diabetes research
  • Literature-driven critical assessment and analyses
  • Practical laboratory skills and state-of-the-art techniques
  • Individual laboratory or literature based project within the research centre

On-going support is provided by the University’s dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers within the Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre (both laboratory and clinical), 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
  • 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 and poster presentation on their project.

Why Study Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes?

  • We offer a truly research-led teaching experience for students within the Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre, which has been awarded more than £3m in British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK funding within the past 5 years alone.
  • The programme uniquely integrates elements of cardiovascular and metabolic health which have been identified as priority areas in the post-COVID-19 arena.
  • You will have the opportunity to carry-out a research project supervised by internationally recognised experts in cardiovascular and metabolic health. Projects can be tailored to suit students individual skills and interests.
  • Upon graduation you will be well-equipped for career destinations in cardiovascular, diabetes and nutrition research in industry, academia, healthcare, education and beyond.
  • This MSc will equip you with skills and knowledge in a priority area identified by the Scottish Government as part of the Heart Disease Action Plan (2021), the UK government, as part of Health Matters: preventing cardiovascular disease and major research funders such as MRC, BHF and Wellcome.
  • The programme is run from the Foresterhill Health Campus, one of the largest health campuses in Europe and 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, peer learning and ample access to the teaching and research staff. 

What Our Students Say

Ozoda Azimova

Ozoda Azimova

Ozoda Azimova

The University's rankings and the programme content are what attracted me to study here. My favourite parts of the programme have been the laboratory experiments and workshops where I gained new scientific skills as well as the clinical visit.

Entry Requirements


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

A second class Honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent qualification in biological science degree is required for entry onto this programme. 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)
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


The MSc in Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to equip you for further research or a career in industry, healthcare or beyond. 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, biotechnology and hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories.

More generally, cardiovascular and diabetes researchers can use their training in education, working in schools, colleges of further education and in Universities. Further opportunities are available to apply your training in scientific publishing, in patent offices working on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of biological issues.

Dedicated Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre

The Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre is the only centre within the UK that combines cardiovascular, diabetes and nutrition research all on one campus.

Research-led Masters programme

A leading-edge view of cardiovascular and metabolic health through research-led training in a priority area in the post-COVID-19 era.

Learn more

What our Alumni Say

Joshua Baillie

Joshua Baillie

Joshua Baillie

Graduated 2019

I chose to study at the University of Aberdeen as I had already experienced the high quality of teaching that the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition had to offer when studying my undergraduate degree. I enjoyed the entire experience however my favourite part of the programme was the Masters project. When I did my project, I was integrated into the lab group and became part of the work environment which it was great to gain some experience in.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Mirela Delibegovic
Dr Justin Rochford
Dr Frank Thies
Professor Alex Johnstone
Dr Heather Wilson
Dr Mary Macleod
Dr Fiona Murray
Professor Stefan Hoppler
Dr Sam Philip
Dr Dana Dawson
Dr Nicola Mutch
Professor Graeme Nixon
Programme Coordinator
Dr Nimesh Mody

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.


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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.

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Rowett Institute

Rowett Institute

The purpose built Rowett Institute, on the Foresterhill Health Campus, is equipped with state-of the-art laboratory facilities, write-up areas and a specialist Human Nutrition Unit.

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Science Teaching Hub

Science Teaching Hub

Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides 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
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX