Master of Science
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
School of Biomedical Sciences
This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.
The right treatment, for the right person, at the right time.
Personalised Medicine is at the cutting edge of a new era for medicine. Our ability to understand how genes, lifestyle and environment can influence disease promises to revolutionise healthcare practices. Personalised Medicine relies on using biomarkers (e.g. genes or protein) to stratify (or split) patients into specific groups for diagnosing or treating diseases. The ideals of Personalised Medicine will be realised with the development of technologies and systems to predict disease, select the best treatment, and reduce side effects for individual patients. This approach to streamline healthcare provides more accurate clinical decision making tools to identify ‘the right treatment, for the right person, at the right time.’
The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course is currently being ‘refreshed’, with changes being put in place for students entering from September 2019 onwards. Module selection may vary, for the most up-to-date course/ module information, please contact the Course Director.
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The course is designed as a Masters programme but it is credit-bearing and flexible, so you may also exit with a PgCert or PgDip at key points. Interested students are also welcome to undertake some of the individual modules as short courses.
Teaching and Learning
All course content will be delivered online, the course will be taught using a combination of lectures, tutorials and independent reading. Problem areas identified by students will be further explained during tutorials and lecture material will be supplemented with possible sources of reading material to encourage independent learning.
Assessment will be by 100% coursework.The pass mark for the module and individual pieces of coursework is 50%. Coursework will consist of online tests, discussions and assignments.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
This module provides an overview of in silico methods, theories and applications to study genes, proteins or metabolites. It will also provide students with an understanding of python.
This module is designed to provide students with the ability to critically evaluate clinical trial design, and in depth understanding of patient recruitment and the regulatory and ethical processes involved. The module will also provide students with the ability to critically appraise clinical trial analysis, reporting and quality assurance.
This module details the regulatory and clinical guidance which is required to ensure the use of tests are evidence-based. Prognostic and clinical decision making theory are explored in consideration of current and future clinical applications for stratified medicine.
This module will provide an overview of the vital importance of economics in healthcare provision, before considering the potential large scale economic benefits promised by personalised approaches to treatment. The effect that the emergence of personalised medicine is having on the economic and business models of big pharma, as well as regulatory agencies will also be addressed, as well the importance of entrepreneurship and small medium enterprises in driving forward healthcare innovation, especially within the personalised medicine space.
This module seeks to develop students' knowledge of important and emerging areas within personalised medicine. It explores the role of pharmacogenetics developing an understanding of the molecular aspects of stratified medicine and creates a foundation for future learning in modules to follow. The module reviews the methods of biomarker discovery and translation and considers the issues surrounding personalised medicine research and its application into society.
This module describes the mathematical frameworks required to analyse data and some of the statistical methods need to evaluate hypotheses supported by data. It also introduces students to frameworks and concepts required by scientific computing and develops their programming skills such that they implement analyses of data.
This module is designed to provide an understanding of the importance of clinical and research ethics and governance. The module covers the regulatory processes involved in seeking research governance approval and provides students with an opportunity to complete an ethical review and to prepare a research ethics and governance application.
This module develops essential skills, knowledge and understanding of biomedical informatics in relation to basic and applied research and practice. Providing an overview of biomedical informatics and its application.
This module will allow student to undertake an in-depth project in a topic related to Stratified Medicine.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Students will be considered for entry to the Masters course on an individual basis.
The basic entry requirements are outlined below:
(a) have gained
a second class honours degree or better with significant bioscience (or biostatistics) such as nursing, biomedical sciences, biology, pharmacy from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification;
(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).
In exceptional circumstances, as an alternative to (a) (i) or (a) (ii) and/or (b), where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
In this section
This course provides an academically challenging science education for those who wish to follow a career within the area of Personalised Medicine. Graduates may also choose to proceed to higher postgraduate degree programmes; including PhD. You may also undertake this online programme for your continued professional development within your individual area of employment and this may be for career enhancement.
Your future career will improve the quality of life of patients through better healthcare, and smarter technologies to treat and manage diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer or immune disease.
Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
"This course was a fascinating introduction to the expanding field of personalized medicine. The blend of biomedical and computational modules provided me with an excellent foundation from which to develop my career in this area. There was a consistently good level of support from the academic staff throughout which makes a big difference when you're studying online. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in pursuing a career in bioinformatics or computational."
"I found the MSc in Stratified Medicine was perfect for me following the completion of my undergraduate degree in biomedical science. The flexibility of distance learning and the structure of the assessments allowed me to work to my fullest potential whilst also adjusting to post-university life."