Delivered within a dedicated cardiovascular research centre involving both clinical and laboratory scientists funded by multiple major charities and government funders, this programme provides a truly research-led teaching experience for students.

This programme is studied on campus.

Our programme will provide you with a leading-edge view of cardiovascular and metabolic science through delivery of a research-led teaching experience that includes a laboratory research project supervised by leading cardiovascular and diabetes science researchers.

Our programme is distinct in a number of ways.

  • The Institute of Medical Sciences, from which the MSc programme is delivered is co-located with the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, allowing the delivery of a Masters programme uniquely integrating elements of cardiovascular and metabolic science in the context of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • The Masters programme benefits from the excellent cardiovascular laboratory facilities and clinical cardiovascular imaging expertise available to us on the University’s Foresterhill site, one of the largest health campuses in Europe.
  • The clinical relevance of the programme is directly strengthened by the location of the teaching, with Aberdeen Royal Hospital on site, and by the 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 and biotechnology 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.

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Key Programme 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

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

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

In semester 1, students undertake two complusory courses:

  • Cardiovascular health and disease
  • Introduction to immunology
Introductory Immunology (MB5023) - 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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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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Optional Courses

In semester 1, students undertake two induction courses and two electives from a choice of four courses:

  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Nutrition and health
  • Small molecule drug discovery
  • Bioinformatics
Molecular Pharmacology (MT5024) - 15 Credit Points

This course will cover a wide range of topics and will include revision of receptor theory and intra- and inter- cellular communication. Cancer will be used a s model disease and the molecular basis of cancer, how it is treated, clinical issues, drug resistance and chemotherapy and prevention

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Nutrition and Health (PU5020) - 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, laboratory classes and group presentations will help consolidate your understanding of the impact food and nutrients on health.

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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. An expert from the library will explain the use and facilities of the library and the basics of database searching to enhance research skills and project validation.

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Generic Skills (GS50M1)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop their transferable skills that they will require not only to complete their programme of study, but also in their future career. The course covers a range of skills including IT, numeracy, academic writing, critical appraisal, note taking, presentations and time management. It also provides support for job applications through CV, cover letter and interview preparation. The course strongly relies on self-assessment and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available.

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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 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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Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5013) - 25 Credit Points

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

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

In semester 2, students undertake two compulsory courses:

  • Diabetes and metabolism
  • Basic research methods
Basic Research Methods (MT5515) - 15 Credit Points

This course reviews a range of methodologies that are currently used in basic research. Experts in the various techniques describe the methodology and showcase the equipment.

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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.

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Optional Courses

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

  • Immunogenetics
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Biologic drug discovery
  • Advanced bioinformatics and genome sequencing
Clinical Nutrition (PU5537) - 15 Credit Points

Clinical nutrition is defined as 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/health promotion. The course covers key topics surrounding nutrition and disease, and furthermore discusses 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.

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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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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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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

Compulsory Courses

In semester 3, students undertake an individual research project.

Masters Research Project (MB5902) - 60 Credit Points

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

View detailed information about this course

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 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
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • 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 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.
  • You will have the opportunity to carry-out a research project supervised by internationally recognised experts in cardiovascular,diabetes or nutrition researchers.
  • The programme uniquely integrates elements of cardiovascular and nutritional science in the context of obesity and metabolic health.
  • You will benefit from the excellent clinical cardiovascular imaging facilities available to us on the Foresterhill Healthcare Campus.
  • Upon graduation you will be well-equipped for career destinations in cardiovascular, diabetes and nutrition research in industry and academia.
  • The programme helps meet the skills gap in this area which has been identified by the Scottish and UK governments and major research funders.
  • The programme runs from the Foresterhill Health Campus which includes a large teaching hospital, Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.
  • 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 and research staff.  

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 - 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.

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.


The MSc in Cardiovascular Science and Diabetes will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you in 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, 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 of this type in the UK, combining cardiovascular and diabetes research with nutrition.  

Research-led Masters programme

A leading-edge view of cardiovascular & diabetes research science through research-led teaching and a laboratory research project supervised by cardiovascular, diabetes and nutrition researchers.

Learn more

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Justin Rochford
Dr Frank Thies
Dr Alex Johnstone
Dr Heather Wilson
Dr Mary Macleod
Dr Fiona Murray
Professor Matteo Zanda
Professor Stefan Hoppler
Dr Nimesh Mody
Dr Oliver Helk
Dr Sam Philip
Dr Giuseppe d'Agostino
Dr Dana Dawson
Dr Nicola Mutch
Programme Coordinators
Professor Mirela Delibegovic
Professor Graeme Nixon

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.

Image for Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health
Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

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

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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