Biomedical Engineering

PgDip, MSc

2022/23 Full-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science

Faculty:

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

School:

School of Engineering

Campus:

Belfast campus

Start dates:

September 2022

January 2023

Overview

The course is designed for students wanting to specialise in biomedical engineering, which is concerned with developing new medical technologies.

Summary

This course is a suitable preparation for employment in the medical device, pharma and biotechnology sectors and as preparation for PhD studies or research positions. The course draws upon the internationally recognised research with the school in areas such as Tissue Engineering, Bioceramics, Medical Electrodes and Drug Delivery. The course team also has a wealth of industrial experience and several medical device spin out companies have been established by the school.

The School of Engineering is in the top third of Engineering departments in the UK (Guardian 2017) and its research output is ranked in the UK top 20 (REF 2017).The course is based in internationally recognised NIBEC centre within the school which is the longest established Biomedical Research Centre in Ireland. The multi-million pound purpose-built facilities house some of the most sophisticated nano-fabrication, biological and characterisation equipment in the world. NIBEC is staffed by an internationally recognised and well experienced team of researchers and academics working predominantly at the interface of bioengineering and nanotechnology.


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About this course

About

The course is a suitable preparation for employment in the medical device sector and as preparation for PhD studies or research positions. The course draws upon the internationally recognised research with the school in areas such as Tissue Engineering, Medical Device Technology, Defibrillators, Bioceramics, Medical Electrodes and Drug Delivery. The course team also has a wealth of industrial experience and several medical device spin out companies have been established by the school.

Attendance

Full-time MSc students who start in September will complete the course in one calendar year. The programme consists of two taught terms followed by a substantial research project during the summer semester. There is also a January intake onto the course and these students will have a summer break during their studies.

The Applied Research version of the MSc is a two-year course with the second year consisting of an extended research intensive dissertation

The Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) version of the course is taught over two semesters and students who successfully complete the PgDip may progress on the MSc.

The MSc can also be undertaken in a part-time mode. Part-time students who are in full-time employment will be able to gain credit for work-based activity as part of the optional Work Based Learning module. They will also have the option of undertaking their dissertation in a topic related to their employment.

Start dates

  • September 2022
  • January 2023

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students will study the following modules;

Advanced Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications

This module provides the student with the core skills required to critically appraise the composition, properties and function of synthetic biomaterials in the context of the relevant materials science considerations. Issues relating to the regulation of biomaterials, as used in relevant medical devices and the implications of the relevant FDA (USA) and Medical Device Directives (EU) legislation are also covered. Students will also develop skills to enable them to provide a considered opinion regarding the choice of biomaterials for specific clinical applications by considering a number of case studies.

Bioinstrumentation

This research led module provides students with the necessary skills to understand and develop medical engineering devices, providing context and knowledge of the clinical need, details of underpinning hardware/software platforms and regulatory procedures governing implementation.

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

This module provides the student with the skills required to critically appraise the composition, properties and function of tissue engineered products within the context of the relevant biological and materials science considerations. Issues relating to the ethics and regulation of tissue engineering and the implications of the relevant FDA (USA) and Medical Device Directives (EU) legislation are also covered. Students will also develop skills to enable them to provide a considered opinion regarding the choice of scaffolds, cells, stimulatory factors and bioreactor environment for specific applications by considering a number of case studies.

Research Methods & Management

The module proves the underpinnings in research methods required to design and conduct original postgraduate level research programmes. In addition the module aims to develop in-depth knowledge and advanced expertise in the use of specific advanced research facilties.

Medical Device Development

This module is unique to the Biomedical Engineering MSc/PgD and will provide learning in the areas of medical device regulation and manufacturing, clinical testing and anatomy for biomedical engineers. The MSc/PgD course is open to applicants from a range of technical subjects and this module is key in providing the cohort with specialist biomedical engineering knowledge.

Composite Engineering

This module is optional

At the end of the module the student should have acquired a high level of competence the many facets of composite materials and their processing methods leading to an active role as a member of a Production Management or Research team. The student should have the ability to select between competing 'composite' technologies for specific applications and hence be in a position to devise conversion systems and associated quality assurance procedures, having regard to maximising cost effectiveness and product reliability.

Digital Signal Processing

This module is optional

This module enables the student to understand, design apply and evaluate digital signal processing algorithms.

Micro- & Nano-Scale Devices

This module is optional

The course provides an in depth knowledge of micro-nanodevices, as well as micro and nanofabrication techniques using elements from nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Nanoscale Analysis & Metrology

This module is optional

This module focuses on nano and micro-scale analysis and metrology. The principle of operation and limitation of each technique are explained, the applications to the nanotechnology arena are described.

Intelligent Manufacturing

This module is optional

This module will introduce students to two major themes in 21st century Advanced Manufacturing; Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

Within Additive Manufacturing, the module will demonstrate the different commercially available techniques and will cover new developments informed by research. Advantages and disadvantages of the techniques will be described, using examples from a range of industrial fields.

In the Industry 4.0 section of the module, students will be introduced to the principles of the fourth industrial revolution, bringing together smart sensors, automation and data exchange within manufacturing.

Manufacturing systems

This module is optional

This module provides a concise review of modern manufacturing, time compression methodologies and current manufacturing systems - their specification, implementation and development. The flow of data within a product lifecycle is analysed from design through to manufacture and the effective utilisation of advanced manufacturing technology addressed.

Work based learning 1

This module is optional

A Work Based Learning module is defined as a period of work based learning, normally of not less than 150 hours, supervised by a member of academic staff of the University. Part-time students working as professionals in industry are often required to do work which is academically challenging. As a result they frequently gain knowledge, techniques and skills, and acquire expertise, which is equivalent to work at post-graduate level. This module is designed to provide a framework within which such personal development and achievement can be recognised by the award of academic credit. The module is only suitable for part-time industrial students.

Quality Improvement

This module is optional

This module considers modern approaches to Quality Improvement. The context of product or service is set for the interpretation of Quality from different perspectives. The Quality topics are considered under the themes of definition, measurement, actions, improvement and control. Modern and traditional management approaches are evaluated and techniques appropriate to product or service characteristics and organisation performance are considered.

Entrepreneurship (Engineering)

This module is optional

In this module students are engaged in applying their knowledge of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial process in resolving some of the practical problems inherent in enterprise development and new venture creation.

Polymer Technology

This module is optional

At the end of the module the student should be able to critically appraise alternative thermoplastic conversion and fabrication processing routes. Through analysis of processing behaviour, they should be capable of developing appropriate strategy for selection of conversion routes for a range of representative material systems and applications in terms of total economics and quality enhancement.

Masters Dissertation

This module is designed to enable students to develop and demonstrate the appropriate research and project management skills needed to complete a Masters level dissertation

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:

Attendance and Independent Study

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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Academic profile

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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.

Belfast campus

The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.

Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  


Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  


Belfast campus location info

  Find out more about our Belfast campus

Address

Ulster University
York Street
Belfast
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456

Modules

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

Year one

Advanced biomaterials for biomedical applications

Year: 1

The module aims to provide students a sound understanding of biomaterials and their use in a variety of biomedical applications. A range of topics will be explored, including design aspects, biocompatibility and the foreign body response, interfacial properties of biomaterials, and factors affecting cellular response as well as medical device regulations and commercialisation. Also, contemporary topics in biomaterials will be covered, such as nanobiomaterials, advanced biomaterials characterisation techniques, nanomedicine, and drug delivery. Furthermore, this module will include also a large project component, which allows the students to develop advanced knowledge and research skills in a specialised area.

Medical Device Development

Year: 1

This module provides the student with the core skills required to contribute to the development of a new medical device in an industrial setting. The module covers EU and FDA medical device regulations, ethics & clinical trials, sterilisation and packaging and anatomy. These skills are unique to biomedical engineering and are highly sought by employers in the medical device sector.

Bioinstrumentation

Year: 1

This research led module provides students with the necessary skills to understand and develop medical engineering devices, providing context and knowledge of the clinical need, details of underpinning hardware/software platforms and regulatory procedures governing implementation.

Tissue Engineering

Year: 1

This module provides the student with the skills required to critically appraise the composition, properties and function of tissue engineered products within the context of the relevant biological and materials science considerations. Issues relating to the ethics and regulation of tissue engineering and the implications of the relevant FDA (USA) and Medical Device Directives (EU) legislation are also covered. Students will also develop skills to enable them to provide a considered opinion regarding the choice of scaffolds, cells, stimulatory factors and bioreactor environment for specific applications by considering a number of case studies.

Research Methods and Management

Year: 1

A module which integrates lectures with group activities in the study of the basics of research methods and management processes. The student will consolidate their learning of research methodologies, management processes, data processing, literature review, report and dissertation writing.

Digital Signal Processing

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module enables the student to understand, design apply and evaluate digital signal processing algorithms.

Micro- & Nano-Scale Devices

Year: 1

This module is optional

The course provides an in depth knowledge of micro-nanodevices, as well as micro and nanofabrication techniques using elements from nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Engineering

Year: 1

This module is optional

To provide participants with the capability to improve the competitiveness of companies through entrepreneurship practice and new product and/or process innovation. A major team design project is addressed derived from a real problem from within a local/global manufacturing company. Material covered is supported through tutorial, lecture and workshop sessions as appropriate.

Intelligent Manufacturing

Year: 1

This module is optional

Two of the most important developments in manufacturing in the 21st century are Additive Manufacturing and the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industrie 4.0). In this module, students will be introduced to these two strands of advanced manufacturing and will develop the skills and knowledge to engage with these concepts in an industrial context.

Manufacturing systems

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides a concise review of modern manufacturing, time compression methodologies and current manufacturing systems - their specification, implementation and development. The flow of data within a product lifecycle is analysed from design through to manufacture and the effective utilisation of advanced manufacturing technology addressed.

Quality Improvement

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module considers modern approaches to Quality Improvement. The context of product or service is set for the interpretation of Quality from different perspectives. The Quality topics are considered under the themes of definition, measurement, actions, improvement and control. Modern and traditional management approaches are evaluated and techniques appropriate to product or service characteristics and organisation performance are considered.

Research Project

Year: 1

This module is optional

A Work Based Learning module is defined as a period of work based learning, normally of not less than 150 hours, supervised by a member of academic staff of the University. Part-time students working as professionals in industry are often involved in work which is entrepreneurial in nature. As a result they frequently gain knowledge, techniques and skills, and acquire expertise, which is equivalent to work at post-graduate level. This module is designed to provide a framework within which such personal development and achievement can be recognised by the award of academic credit.

Work based learning

Year: 1

This module is optional

A Work Based Learning module is defined as a period of work based learning, normally of not less than 150 hours, supervised by a member of academic staff of the University. Part-time students working as professionals in industry are often required to do work which is academically challenging. As a result they frequently gain knowledge, techniques and skills, and acquire expertise, which is equivalent to work at post-graduate level. This module is designed to provide a framework within which such personal development and achievement can be recognised by the award of academic credit.

Polymer Technology

Year: 1

This module is optional

At the end of the module the student should be able to critically appraise alternative thermoplastic conversion and fabrication processing routes. Through analysis of processing behaviour, they should be capable of developing appropriate strategy for selection of conversion routes for a range of representative material systems and applications in terms of total economics and quality enhancement.

Composite Engineering

Year: 1

This module is optional

At the end of the module the student should have acquired a high level of competence the many facets of composite materials and their processing methods leading to an active role as a member of a Production Management or Research team. The student should have the ability to select between competing 'composite' technologies for specific applications and hence be in a position to devise conversion systems and associated quality assurance procedures, having regard to maximising cost effectiveness and product reliability.

Masters Dissertation

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is designed to enable students to develop and demonstrate the appropriate research and project management skills needed to complete a Masters level dissertation.

Year two

Applied Research

Year: 2

This module is optional

The aim of the project is to allow the student to demonstrate their ability in undertaking an independent research project. They will be expected to utilise appropriate methodologies and demonstrate the skills gained earlier in the course when implementing the project.

Typically, the project stages will involve scoping of the project area and a broad review of literature in the topic area, followed by a detailed appraisal of the literature directly relating to the planned experimentation. Training and initial practical experimentation will then be followed by one or more detailed practical experiments. The data will then be subjected to detailed analysis including a comparison with previously published work. The final stages of the module will include preparing the research paper, MSc dissertation and oral presentation.

In summary the masters project represents a piece of work performed by the student under suitable staff supervision and the work must be original and contain a critical appraisal of the subject area.

Standard entry conditions

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.

Entry Requirements

PgDip - Normally, an Honours or non-Honours degree or postgraduate diploma/certificate in a relevant engineering, technology or science discipline. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant working/industrial experience, a portfolio of written evidence may be considered as an alternative entrance route. It is possible to transfer onto the MSc version of the course after successfully completing the PGDip.

MSc - Specific details on the admission criteria can be found at the course webpage provided below. Normally, a second class honours degree or better in a relevant engineering, science, physics or technology discipline. Or a postgraduate diploma/certificate in a relevant engineering or technology discipline. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant working/industrial experience, a portfolio of written evidence may be considered as an alternative entrance route.

English Language Requirements

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.

Exemptions and transferability

Students can apply for exemptions for specific modules based on prior learning.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Upon successful completion of the programme students will be more employable, particularly within the medical device, pharma and biotechnology sectors. Another important opportunity for MSc students is the academic career and/or research career through a PhD programme, such as those offered within the school.

Work placement / study abroad

Students will undertake orginal research during their dissertation project and will have the oppertunity to work as part of research teams in areas such as Tissue Engineering, Medical Device Technology, Defibrillators, Bioceramics, Medical Electrodes and Drug Delivery.

Part-time students from industry can gain credit for work-based activity as part of the Work Based Learning Module and have the option of undertaking thier dissertation in a topic related to their employment.

Professional recognition

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

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Start dates

  • September 2022
  • January 2023

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees

£6,410.00

International Fees

£15,360.00

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Masters), please note that the price displayed is for the complete Masters programme.

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis.

Find out more about postgraduate fees

Scholarships, awards and prizes

A postgraduate Tuition Fee loan is available to N.Ireland, UK and EU students. More details are available at:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/ulster-life/study-at-ulster/postgraduate/postgraduate-tuition-fee-loan

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
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