2021/22 Part-time Postgraduate course
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.
Fully online postgraduate course in the rapidly expanding field of Stem Cell Biology.
This cutting edge Postgraduate Certificate course will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career in the rapidly expanding field of stem cell biology. Successful completion of the course will allow you to capitalise on opportunities in areas such as the stem cell industry, regenerative medicine, clinical stem cell work, further academic research or regulatory affairs. You will study in a supportive and collaborative online environment where you will be supported by an e-tutor.
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.
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The PgCert course consists of two modules (60 credit points). The first module in Stem Cell Biology will equip you with up to date knowledge on various topics such as sources of stem cells e.g. adult, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, pluripotency, current and future uses of stem cells and bioethics. The second module in Evidence-based Practice in Healthcare Sciences will allow you to evaluate how stem cells are currently used and inform future practice in this area.
The course is delivered as a series of online lectures designed by a range of experts and multimedia resources in the various areas of stem cell biology. The flexible nature of the course allows you to study at your own pace. The course will be supplemented by online discussions with e-tutors and access to specialist online talks.
Assessment will be by 100% coursework.
The course is delivered fully online and does not require attendance on campus at any point. However, students are expected to participate in all aspects of the course and to maintain regular contact with the course team.
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.
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This module provides a comprehensive overview of stem cell biology. It covers all the major areas of stem cell science including stem cell derivation, differentiation, medical applications and bioethics. It is designed to equip student with skills to critically evaluate current scientific literature describing stem cell advances.
A work-based module where students review, after consultation with their line manager, an aspect of their professional practice identifying evidence to support their recommendations, initiate the keeping of a professional reflective diary and submit a report of evidence to support their action research plan. Students currently not in employment will be given advice on suitable topics from the module co-ordinator.
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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(a) have gained
(i) a degree in a relevant Life Sciences discipline or another related discipline from a University in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Eduational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or
(ii) an equivalent standard in a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification in a relevant Life Sciences discipline or another related discipline;
(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent) and for non-native English speakers, IELTS students whose first language is not English must have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (with no contributing band at less than 5.5) or equivalent
or as an alternative to (a) (i) or (a) (ii) and /or (b)
(c) In exceptional circumstances, 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
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
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Our Advisory Panel come from the stem cell industry, both large and small firms, and their advice makes our course particularly relevant to the current needs of the regenerative medicine and stem cell industries, which are both rapidly expanding. The financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council which we have obtained also underlines the high standard of the course. We also have a large teaching input from those working in a haematological setting, where the utility of stem cell transplants is well established. This course is also very suitable for those wishing to gain a better grounding before pursuing further qualifications in the area such as a PhD or MRes. Due to its modular and online nature it is also very suitable for those in a work environment who wish to undertake further professional development.
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Fees illustrated are based on 21/22 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
To find out more about fees related to this course please visit:
The fees indicated are for full-time study.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of modules that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Dr Jayne Devlin
For application enquiries contact the Admissions Office on: