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Welcome to the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

We welcome you to the start of your Postgraduate Taught Programme in the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester. The University has a worldwide reputation based on high quality teaching and research, and I am sure that your taught programme will provide an inspirational platform for your future career success.

Within the Faculty, our goal is to create an environment that allows you to excel and reach your full potential. Offering access to first-class facilities and strong links with eminent researchers, commercial partners and regional health-service providers, our postgraduate taught programmes are designed to meet the diverse needs of all our students. The curriculum of our taught programmes provides the knowledge and skills you will need in your subject area and all our Masters programmes include an opportunity to carry out an independent research project on subjects spanning areas of life sciences and biomedical research from molecular to experimental biology and clinical medicine. While subject areas cover a broad range of disciplines, all our taught programmes have a number of common aims:

  • To enhance your knowledge, and a critical awareness of your chosen subject. Whether you are a graduate, professional or have a clinical background, the programmes have been tailored based on previous student feedback.
  • To obtain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your area of research and to develop new skills to a high level.
  • To address complex issues with originality and insight.
  • To demonstrate self-direction and an independent learning ability required for future career progression.

As a student of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, you will be expected to take responsibility for your learning, within a supportive environment that fosters your development and helps prepare you for your future career. This handbook will be a useful resource as you progress through your taught programme. It provides programme specific information that I am sure that you will find helpful throughout your study. If however, you have questions or would like some further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the people listed in this handbook for further information and assistance.

I wish you every success as you embark upon your taught programme, and in your future career.

Professor Sarah Herrick
Director for Postgraduate Taught Education for the School of Biological Sciences; Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health


Compulsory Introductory Course

All students are automatically enrolled onto an introductory unit (BIOL62000) that provides information on health and safety, academic malpractice and academic literacy. Completion instructions for each of these sections are clearly defined within the course.

Completion of the academic malpractice and health and safety sections is mandatory for all students. All assessments must be completed as soon as possible after the programme begins, with the academic malpractice assessment completed before the first piece of coursework is submitted and no later than 31 October 2022. Completion of these assessments is monitored by the School.

All students are also strongly advised to complete the academic literacy section.

Key Contact Details

If you have any queries or concerns at any time during your period of study at The University of Manchester, there is a range of people you can approach. Your Programme Administration Team will be your first point of call for general issues. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Programme Director for specific aspects to do with the course or your Academic Advisor for career development issues. If you wish to raise a confidential matter at School level, you should approach the Postgraduate Education Support Manager – contact details below.

Responsibility for overall management of the Programme lies with the Programme Director who has assembled a Programme Committee, which meets regularly, to advise on content, structure, management, student supervision, and regulatory matters such as Programme improvement and refinement. The Committee also includes the student representative who is democratically elected by you to attend these meetings.

Programme Administration Team

Your first point of call should be directed as follows:

• Student Support

• Assessments

• Curriculum

Student Representative
• To be appointed democratically

Director of Education (UG and PGT)
• Professor Nicky High

School PGT Director
• Professor Sarah Herrick

Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
• Kerry Mycock

Teaching and Learning Manager
• Kelly Salimian

Student Service, Support & Development Manager
• Helen Johnson

Programme Director
• Dr Dave Gerrard

Deputy Programme Directors

• Dr Helen Stuart
• Dr Jamie Ellingford

Your contact details

You will be supplied with a student e-mail address. The University will direct communications to you by using your student e-mail address and it is your responsibility to ensure that you can access and read mail from this source.  You should check your university email regularly and in turn should send all emails to the University using your student email address.



Blackboard is a web-based system that complements and builds upon traditional learning methods used at The University of Manchester. All course-related materials will be placed on Blackboard so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the system as soon as possible. Blackboard also offers Discussion forums which you may find a useful resource to share information about assignments and other course-related queries.

Blackboard is available to students.

  • Students should access Blackboard via My Manchester
  • Queries (technical related) should be directed to the eLearning team
  • Queries (course content related) should be directed to: the Programme Administration Team


School/University Facilities

Computers and printers:

On campus, access to computers, printers, email and the internet is available at several computer clusters within the School including the Multiuser laboratories on the ground floor of the Stopford Building. Additionally, there is a Postgraduate Hub on the 3rd Floor of the Stopford Building.

Food/Drink on Campus

There is a café bar and students’ common room on the 1st floor of the Stopford Building.  Also, Innovation Cafe and Starbucks are on the Ground Floor of the Manchester Biotech Incubator Building (which is attached to the Stopford Building and can be accessed using your student card on the ground floor).

International students

The International Society is a busy centre for international students based in the Greater Manchester area. It is located on Oxford Road (see campus map).

The society offers students the opportunity to engage with social events, visit places of interest as well as language support and cultural events.

Sharing Information

The University may share appropriate information relating to your health and/or conduct with external organisations such as your professional employer(s) (for example, relevant NHS Trust, Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies (PSRB)), placement and training providers and/or regulator. This may occur where concerns in relation to your health and/or conduct arise and the University considers it necessary for them to be disclosed to one or more of the above organisations. The University’s Privacy Notice for Registered Students (which is accessible via this link) includes further information about how the University may use and process your personal data, including the legal basis and conditions which may be relevant to such processing (see section 6 of the Privacy Notice). The University will only disclose special category data (such as data relating to your health) to a third party organisation where one of the additional conditions are satisfied (see section 9 of the Privacy Notice), including where processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.

Programme Information

Programme Structure and Credit Requirements

Your chosen pathway will determine which course units you are able to select on your route through the programme.

Units 1-3 are core units.

Units 4-7 are elective core units

Units 8-12 are optional units.

Units 13a and 13b are research units.

(Full course unit details are outlined below*)

*Units are subject to availability

Course Unit Selection

MSc Full-time (180 credits): all core units, three elective core units, two additional units (elective core or optional)– Students must take unit 13a.(60 credit research project)

MSc Part-time (180 credits): all core units, three elective core units, plus four other units (elective core or optional)– Students must take unit 13b. (30 credit dissertation)

PG Dip Full-time (120 credits): core units 1 and 2, plus either six additional core, elective core, or optional units each worth 15 credits, or four additional core, elective core or optional units each worth 15 credits and unit 13b

PG Dip Part-time (120 credits): core units 1, 2 and 3, plus one other unit to progress to year two. An additional four units to be completed in year two.

PG Cert (60 credits): core units 1 and 3, plus two additional 15 credit units.


Course Units

BIOL67561: Fundamentals of Human Genetics (Unit 1)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The Fundamental of Human Genetics and Genomics unit is a subject-specific lecture-based module in the MSc Genomic Medicine programme. This unit will provide essential and contemporary knowledge relating to genetic science and genetic disease. The unit consists of a mixture of e-learning modules, taught lectures and tutorials. The lectures will be delivered by a range of clinical and non-clinical academic staff, many of whom are internationally recognised experts in their field. This unit will be attended by students from Programmes of MSc Genomic Medicine, STP Genomic Sciences and Genetic Counselling, and MSc Molecular Pathology


This compulsory module ensures students have a good understanding of the molecular basis of human genetic diseases. It also introduces students to the contemporary technologies used in modern genomic medicine. Students will be equipped with advanced knowledge of the genomic mechanisms that give rise to human disease, understand the application of new technologies in the diagnosis and management of genetic diseases, gain knowledge of the genetic changes that occur in tumour development and how genetic variants contribute to common diseases. They will also gain insight into how understanding these mechanisms has enabled the development of improved treatments for genetic diseases.

Teaching and learning methods

The course contains 9 hours e-lectures, 5 hours face-to-face lectures and 5 tutorial type of learning sessions. The very first 2 hours e-lectures revise the basics of genomic medicine and will be particularly useful to students who may wish to refresh their knowledge of the basics of human genetics.

The following e-lectures should be completed before the start of the course:

1.   Basic background 1

2.   Basic background 2

3.   Chromosome abnormalities

4.   Epigenetics

The following e-lectures are standalone topics and can be completed at any time prior to the assessment.

1.   Cancer genetics 1

2.   Cancer genetics 2

3.   Common disease: Polygenic disorders, GWAS

4.   Treatment of genetic disease

5.   Population screening

Knowledge and understanding

  • Discuss the human genome structure and the properties of DNA
  • Evaluate genome architecture and its variation across human populations
  • Evaluate the regulation of gene expression, transcription and translation
  • Appraise and interpret variation in genome structure and sequence in the context of physiological function and disease
  • Assess epigenetic modifications and imprinting and its role in disease
  • Explain the molecular mechanisms of Mendelian disorders
  • Interpret genotype-phenotype correlations
  • Appraise the current strategies for molecular diagnosis of genetic diseases using cutting edge technologies
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of cancer
  • Understand the difference between sporadic cancer and inherited cancer syndromes
  • Have an overview of the current and future potential therapeutic interventions for rare disorders (for example, enzyme replacement therapy, gene therapy) and recent clinical trials for RNAi therapies
  • Understand the possible uses and limitations of new genome editing technologies
  • Be able to interpret clinical reports from molecular genetic diagnostic laboratories.

Intellectual skills

  • Apply genomic medicine to routine clinical practice, and investigate genetic conditions.
  • Assess the appropriateness of applying new technologies to modern genomic medicine research.
  • Critically evaluate relevant scientific literature relating to new technologies and assess their application to modern genomic medicine.
  • Evaluate methods of investigating genetic conditions to select appropriate tests for individual patients and families.

Practical skills

  • Calculate genetic risks for Mendelian conditions using pedigree data, and the Hardy-Weinberg equation.
  • Interpret clinical reports from molecular genetic diagnostic laboratories.
  • Correlate genetic markers to phenotype and interpret association study data for dichotomous and quantitative traits.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Evaluate the benefits and limitation of contemporary knowledge of human genetics in clinical practice.
  • Objectively review scientific literature.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
SAQ Exam 50%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to

  • Read, A and Donnai, D. New Clinical Genetics (3rd edition). Scion Publishing Ltd.
  • Strachan, T and Read, A. Human Molecular Genetics (4th edition). Garland Science.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tao Wang Unit coordinator
Miriam Smith Unit coordinator

BIOL67981: Bioinformatics, Interpretation, Statistics and Data Quality Assurance (Unit 2)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


By the end of this compulsory module the student will be able to:

  1. Analyse the principles applied to quality control of sequencing data, alignment of sequence to the reference genome, calling and annotating sequence variants, and filtering strategies to identify pathogenic mutations in sequencing data
  1. Interrogate major data sources, e.g. of genomic sequence, protein sequences, variation, pathways, (e.g. EVS, dbSNP, ClinVar, etc.) and be able to integrate with clinical data, to assess the pathogenic and clinical significance of the genome result
  1. Acquire relevant basic computational skills and understanding of statistical methods for handling and analysing sequencing data for application in both diagnostic and research settings
  1. Gain practical experience of the bioinformatics pipeline through the Genomics England programme.
  1. Justify and defend the place of Professional Best Practice Guidelines in the diagnostic setting for the reporting of genomic variation.

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Critically evaluate the governance and ethical frameworks in place within the NHS and how they apply to bioinformatics.
  2. Discuss and justify the importance of standards, best practice guidelines and standard operating procedures: how they are developed, improved and applied to clinical bioinformatics.
  3. Describe the structure of DNA and the functions of coding and non-coding DNA.
  4. Discuss the flow of information from DNA to RNA to protein in the cell.
  5. Describe transcription of DNA to mRNA and the protein synthesis process.
  6. Discuss the role of polymorphisms in Mendelian and complex disorders and give examples of polymorphisms involved in genetic disease.
  7. Describe appropriate bioinformatics databases capturing information on DNA, RNA and protein sequences.
  8. Explain the theory of sequence analysis and the use of genome analysis tools.
  9. Describe secondary databases in bioinformatics and their use in generating metadata on gene function.
  10. Explain fundamental bioinformatic principles, including the scope and aims of bioinformatics and its development.
  11. Explain fundamental genomic principles, including the scope and aims of genomics and its development.
  12. Discover resources linking polymorphism to disease processes and discuss and evaluate the resources that are available to the bioinformatician and how these are categorised.
  13. Discuss metadata and how it is captured in bioinformatics resources.
  14. Interpret the metadata provided by the major bioinformatics resources.
  15. Describe the use of ontologies in metadata capture and give examples of the use of ontologies for capturing information on gene function and phenotype.
  16. Identify appropriate references where published data are to be reported.
  17. Describe the biological background to diagnostic genetic testing and clinical genetics, and the role of bioinformatics.
  18. Describe the partnership of Clinical Bioinformatics and Genetics to other clinical specialisms in the investigation and management of genetic disorders and the contribution to safe and effective patient care.

Intellectual Skills

  1. Critically analyse scientific and clinical data
  2. Present scientific and clinical data appropriately
  3. Formulate a critical argument
  4. Evaluate scientific and clinical literature
  5. Critically evaluate the knowledge of clinical bioinformatics to address specific clinical problems

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1.  Present complex ideas in simple terms in both oral and written formats.
  2. Consistently operate within sphere of personal competence and level of authority.
  3. Manage personal workload and objectives to achieve quality of care.
  4. Actively seek accurate and validated information from all available sources.
  5. Select and apply appropriate analysis or assessment techniques and tools.
  6. Evaluate a wide range of data to assist with judgements and decision making.
  7. Interpret data and convert into knowledge for use in the clinical context of individual and groups of patients.
  8. Work in partnership with colleagues, other professionals, patients and their carers to maximise patient care.

Practical skills

  1. Present information clearly in the form of verbal and written reports.
  2. Communicate complex ideas and arguments in a clear and concise and effective manner.
  3. Work effectively as an individual or part of a team.
  4. Use conventional and electronic resources to collect, select and organise complex scientific information
  5. Perform analysis on DNA data and protein sequence data to infer function.
  6. Perform sequence alignment tasks.
  7. Select and apply appropriate bioinformatic tools and resources from a core subset to typical diagnostic laboratory cases, contextualised to the scope and practice of a clinical genetics laboratory.
  8. Compare major bioinformatics resources for clinical diagnostics, and how their results can be summarised and integrated with other lines of evidence to produce clinically valid reports.
  9. Interpret evidence from bioinformatic tools and resources and integrate this into the sum of genetic information for the interpretation and reporting of test results from patients.
  10. Perform the recording of building or version numbers of resources used on a given date, including those of linked data sources, and understand the clinical relevance of this data.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Discussion Board 30%
Presentation 70%

Recommended reading

This is an example reading list but this will be updated on  a yearly basis

Suggested Reading for ‘Introduction to genetics and genomics’ and ‘DNA sequencing’

Molecular Biology/Genetics textbooks – look for the latest edition

  1. Human Molecular Genetics, Tom Strachan and Andrew Read, Garland Science Chapters 1, 2 and 13
  2. New Clinical Genetics, Andrew Read and Dian Donnai, Scion Publishing

Journal papers


  1. What is a gene, post ENCODE? History and updated definition

Gerstein, MB et al (2007) Genome Research 17:p669

  1. Non-coding RNAs: key regulators of mammalian transcription

Kugel, JF and Goodrich, JA (2012) Trends Biochem Sci 37(4):p144

  2. RNA splicing, disease and therapy

Variant interpretation

  1. Standards and guidelines for variant interpretation doi:1038/gim.2015.30
  2. Human genotype:phenotype databases

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Angela Davies

Mike Cornell

Unit coordinators

BIOL67562: Omics Techniques and their Application to Genomic Medicine (Unit 3)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module will provide an introduction to the basis of genotyping and detection of genetic variation. There will be an introduction to deep resequencing and a brief overview of methodologies for, and application of, detecting genetic changes including base substitutions (SNV) and copy number variants (CNV). This module will provide an overview of bioinformatics approaches and pipelines for the analysis of genomic data. In addition there will be an introduction to different “’omics technologies” and approaches, and strategies to prioritise the pathogenicity of variants.


By the end of this module the student will be able to:

Have a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the basis of genotyping and detection of genetic variation

Have a basic understanding of bioinformatics approaches to the analysis and contextualization of genomic data

Understand which methodology to utilise to detect different types of genetic variants, and be able to analyse and interpret sequencing data and contextualise genetic variants with regard to likely pathogenicity.

Be able to use literature and online resources to access information on disease and genetic variation

Be able to apply bioinformatics approaches for the analysis of genomic data

Teaching and learning methods

The course contains ~25 hours lectures, tutorials and small group workshops.

Knowledge and understanding

Describe and critically evaluate a range of up-to-date genomic technologies and platforms used to sequence targeted parts of the genome or whole genomes

Assess sequencing data quality, and annotate and interpret variants with regard to likely pathogenicity

Discuss the application of other techniques (for example array comparative genome hybridisation, MLPA, qPCR) commonly used to interrogate genomic variation in the clinical setting. Appraise technology platforms for applications in medical genomics either for research or medical diagnostic purposes

Use publicly available bioinformatics approaches and tools to determine the likely pathogenicity of a sequence variant

Describe techniques that can be applied to transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomic analysis Intellectual skills

Discuss the different ‘omics’ technologies and platforms and their application to genomic medicine and the impact of personalised medicine

Practical skills

Use publicly available bioinformatics approaches and tools

Evaluate the pathogenicity of variants identified in whole genome sequencing and other genomic technologies

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Develop their problem solving skills through collaboration in group working and debate. Enhance their oral and written presentation skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight

Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Oral assessment/presentation 50%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to:

Whole-genome sequencing of patients with rare diseases in a national health system. Turro E, et al. Nature. 2020 Jul;583(7814):96-102.

PHG Foundation:

Rizvi, A. H., et al. (2017). Single-cell topological RNA-seq analysis reveals insights into cellular differentiation and development. Nat Biotechnol 35(6): 551-560.

Spatial proteomics: a powerful discovery tool for cell biology. Lundberg E, Borner GHH. Nature reviews Molecular cell biology. 2019;20(5):285-302.

Wishart DS (2016). Emerging applications of metabolomics in drug discovery and precision medicine. Nature Rev. Drug. Discov;15(7):473-84

Integrative omics for health and disease. Karczewski, K, Snyder, M. Nat Rev Genet 19, 299–310 (2018).

ACGS Best Practice Guidelines for Variant Classification in Rare Disease 2020. Ellard S. et al. These guidelines are regularly updated

Teaching staff

John Curtin Unit coordinator

Janine Lamb Unit coordinator

BIOL67982: Genomics of Common and Rare Inherited Diseases (Unit 4)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit aims to develop students’ knowledge of common and rare genetic disease. A comprehensive approach is taken to diagnosis, genomic testing, prognosis, management, inheritance and impact across a range of genetic conditions from common conditions, chromosome, single and heterogeneous conditions, inherited cancer, paediatric and adult onset conditions.

Limitations of practice, appropriate referral, psychosocial impact and family decision-making will equip students to work in multidisciplinary settings in the care for individuals and families with heritable conditions.

Learning will focus on a case-based approach to ensure relevance to clinical practice. Examples of paediatric and adult conditions will be used to illustrate the principles of genomic diagnosis, testing and counselling. Face to face sessions will be taught in one block over 3 days, to include lectures, problem based learning, and interactive workshops. This will be augmented by online lectures.


The number of rare monogenic disorders is estimated to be greater than 7,000, but only in approximately half of these are the underlying genes known. Common diseases such as intellectual disability, diabetes, schizophrenia and autism are thought to arise from a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors but deeper understanding of the genetic and mechanistic basis of these diseases is necessary for clinical translation.

The aim of this module is to provide a brief introduction to the clinical presentation and manifestations of rare inherited and common diseases and consider the patient and family perspective with respect to the role and impact of genomics. The module will also focus on the genetic contribution to the aetiology of these conditions and strategies currently used to identify gene alterations in the clinical situation. Students will learn how to identify the most frequently encountered common and rare genetic disease phenotypes and how to select cases with unmet diagnostic need that will benefit from genomic testing.

Teaching and learning methods

Learning will focus on a case-based approach to ensure relevance to clinical practice. A range of formats will be used in both face-to-face and e-learning:

1. Lectures, problem-based learning, case studies and group work, interactive seminars.

2. e-learning  lectures, problem-based learning, case reports and background reading to enhance face-to-face sessions

Knowledge and understanding

  • Examine the landscape of common and rare inherited diseases. Demonstrate knowledge of common and rare inherited diseases, including multi-factorial disorders, paediatric genetics, cancer genetics and adult-onset conditions.
  • Explain the genetic architecture of common and rare inherited diseases
  • Understand the way genomic testing and other investigations are used in diagnosis and the important of phenotyping (e.g. dysmorphic diagnosis, clinical biochemistry, imaging techniques), in the investigation of candidate pathogenic variants.
  • Discuss and evaluate the Genomics England Programme and the Data Infrastructure
  • Understand the use and application of genomic testing and the impact of genetic diagnosis on the patient and family.
  • Identify phenotype, select cases and relevant family information for genomic testing including whole exome/whole genome sequencing.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the psycho-social responses to diagnosis and family impact and cultural issues.
  • Appreciate the important of genetic diagnosis in the management and family impact of genetic disease.

Intellectual skills

  • Interpret clinical, family history and genomic test results to make appropriate diagnosis and accurate genetic risk assessments, in the context of individual clinical situations.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the relevant scientific literature and apply to clinical situations.
  • Interpret information gained from exome / whole genome analysis with patient information / medical records to determine diagnosis, penetrance or prognosis for a number of examples
  • Of common and rare inherited conditions

Practical skills

  • Use databases and other resources to research up-to-date genetic and clinical information across a range of common and rare genetic diseases.
  • Convey clinical and genetic information appropriate to individual clinical needs and level of understanding.
  • Facilitate clients’ decision-making and adjustment.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Appreciate the ethical and psychosocial issues to be considered during the process of genetic diagnosis.
  • Recognise professional boundaries including when to refer on in most complex situations.
  • Discuss and critically evaluate the implications of patient access to their medical records and clinical information for medical genomics, inter-professional practice and multidisciplinary care.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Report 30%
Oral assessment/presentation 20%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to:

  • Cassidy, S.B. and Allanson, J.E. Management of Genetic Syndromes. (3rd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Firth, J. A. and Hurst, J.G. (eds) Oxford Desk Reference: Clinical Genetics. (Oxford, 2005)
  • Harper  P Practical Genetic Counselling, 7th edition (Edward Arnold Publishers, 2010)
  • Read, A. and Donnai, D. The New Clinical Genetics (2nd Edition, Scion Publishers Ltd, 2010.)
  • OMIM (online version of McKusick’s Mendelian Inheritance in Man):
  • Medline
  • Gene reviews
  • Orphanet (rare genetic diseases)

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Helen Stuart Unit coordinator
Natalie Moreton Unit coordinator

BIOL67482: Molecular Pathology of Cancer (Unit 5)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit will provide a broad based knowledge of molecular pathology in the context of the pathogenesis of neoplastic diseases, and in the context of routine and emerging diagnostic practice. The lectures will be delivered by a range of clinical and non-clinical academic staff, many of whom are internationally recognised experts in their field.


To equip students with an advanced knowledge of molecular pathology and an understanding of the application of new technologies in the diagnosis and management of cancer.

Teaching and learning methods

The course contains 18 hours of lectures (live and pre-recorded)

Knowledge and understanding

1. A basic understanding of control of cell cycle, cell proliferation and death.

2. An understanding of the definition of malignancy and be able to criticise the definition.

3. A knowledge of the genetic repair mechanisms.

4. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis, and how changes within genes of various categories may result in an altered phenotype.

5. An understanding of the differences between transformation and malignancy.

6. An understanding of the molecular basis for the known risk factors for tumours, such as viral infections and environmental carcinogens.

7. A knowledge of familial cancer and its molecular basis.

8. An understanding of the molecular basis of tumour growth, angiogenesis, tissue invasion and metastasis.

9. An understanding of tumour classification systems

10. An understanding of the role of pathology in cancer diagnosis, molecular sub-classification, assessment of aggressiveness (prognosis), and characterisation of metastases

11. An appreciation that the therapeutic approach to neoplasia is based on an understanding of the differences between normal and malignant cells, the mechanisms of tumour growth and progression, and the host reaction.

12. An understanding of the importance of sample quality for tumour genomic analysis

13. An understanding of genomic testing of cell free tumour DNA in blood, for diagnosis and monitoring of solid cancers

14. An understanding of the role of companion diagnostics

15. An understanding of the methods available for monitoring disease following treatment (medical, surgical or bone marrow transplant)

Intellectual skills

Students will know how molecular pathology is presently applied to routine clinical diagnostic practice, and gain insight into how neoplastic conditions are investigated at a molecular level, as well as understanding how new technologies are being introduced into diagnostic pathology.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will be able to understand how molecular pathology can be applied to clinical care in the context of diagnostic pathology.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to

  • The Biology of Cancer, by Robert Weinberg 2013, published by Garland Science

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Richard Byers Unit coordinator
Miriam Smith Unit coordinator

BIOL67481: Pharmacogenetics, Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Healthcare (Unit 6)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Pharmacogenomics (PGx) is defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as:

“The study of variations of DNA and RNA characteristics as related to drug response”.

PGx is utilised in two main areas:

(a) To inform the drug development process and

(b) To help inform personalised prescribing and/or the stratification of patients into sub-groups

In both cases, PGx focuses on the predictive outcome of drug interventions. This may involve the utilisation of companion diagnostics (CDx) alongside drug therapeutic treatment. A typical CDx might be a molecular assay that, for instance, measures specific mutations to stratify sub-populations, select appropriate medication or tailor dosages to a patient’s specific needs.

PGx has the potential to change healthcare significantly, since differences between patients’ response to treatment can be partially explained by their genotype (pharmacokinetic pharmacodynamic and immunological genetic variability). Using PGx data alongside other clinical information can be used to develop individualised or stratified healthcare for patients. It may also contribute towards a more effective and safer use of drugs, potentially decreasing costs, resulting from drug toxicity and lack of efficacy, by identifying patients most likely to respond positively to a particular drug at a particular dose.

Indicative Content

1.    Genomic basis of drug response including: drug mechanisms of action, drug efficacy and drug toxicity, including:pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and immune hypersensitivity responses, discussing ethnic differences and how these are/might be applied in prescribing practice.

2.    Use of genomic information, for targeted drug development with particular emphasis on the genes encoding metabolic enzymes, drug transporters and drug receptors and drug:drug interactions

3.    Companion diagnostics and NHS service delivery models

4.    Different types and examples of genomic-targeted intervention (examples of genomically-targeted clinical, therapeutic or lifestyle choices)

5.    Genomic biomarkers and genetic polymorphisms leading to inter-individual variability in drug response: SNPs, short sequence repeats, haplotypes, DNA epigenetic

modifications, e.g. methylation, deletions or insertions, copy number variants, RNA expression levels, RNA splicing, microRNA levels

6.    Use of biomarkers and genetic testing in treatments other than cancer


This module aims to provide the student with the in-depth knowledge, understanding and analytical skills to consider the current and emerging research and application of pharmacogenomics and stratified healthcare to ensure a personalised healthcare approach for patients.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

1. Discuss and evaluate the mechanism of several examples of genomically-determined differential drug responses, and adverse drug reactions

2. Appraise the strategies and analytical approaches for stratifying patients for optimal drug response or to avoid adverse drug reactions; including an awareness of ethnic differences, and how these translate into the design and utilisation of ‘companion diagnostics’3. Identify and analyse the challenges and limitations of pharmacogenetic studies

4. Identify and evaluate the different types of current and emerging biomarkers used in personalised medicine

5. Discuss and critically evaluate how genomic information can enable development and utilisation of drug targeted for particular genotypes; including a consideration of pharmacoeconomics

6. Identify the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) that could accompany patient stratification for healthcare advice or intervention and discuss the use of patient stratification to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Teaching and learning methods

Prior to teaching

Preliminary reading and self-directed study materials will be sent out to all students approximately 2 weeks before the course. This is to ensure that prospective students have sufficient familiarity with the scientific background to this study area and to ensure that they will be able to benefit, fully, from the teaching delivered during the 5 day course.

During the 5 day face to face “in house” course

A series of 10 – 15 interactive lectures covering the key themes and concepts.

Morning lectures will be followed by group and team-based learning (TBL) activities to consolidate and further discuss the key content.

Afternoons will be hands-on workshops, where students will work individually, in pairs or in small inter-professional groups (IPE). During the workshops they will learn to use, critically evaluate and apply the knowledge gained in the lectures and group sessions and report back (verbally) to the rest of the class on their findings.

Assignments will be submitted, via Turnitin, to check for plagiarism, and will be marked within 3 weeks. Students will receive individualized feedback..

The relevant tutor will then deliver a generic feedback tutorial (webinar) to all students covering the salient points relating to that assignment.

E-learning/Blended learning delivered via VITAL

Evidence-based learning supported by course notes, reading lists, audio lectures/podcasts, case studies and online tutorials/webinars

Knowledge and understanding

  1. List the factors influencing the inter-individual variability in patient response to medication e.g. age, gender, pathology, concomitant medication, lifestyle, adherence
  2. Define the terms pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics (PGx)
  3. Define the terms single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), haplotype and allelic variant
  4. Describe the contribution of  large scale Genome Sequencing Projects and genome-wide association studies  to our understanding of inter-individual pharmacogenetic variability
  5. Describe the impact of PGx on the drug development process
  6. Use of PGx in informing clinical trial design
  7. Define drug response (efficacy, toxicity and therapeutic window)
  8. Describe the pharmaco-economic importance of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs)
  9. Define adverse drug reaction – how can one be sure it is due to the drug, listing examples –scoring cases, use of Yellow cards and role of MHRA
  10. Understand those aspects of drug response (pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and immunological hypersensitivity) where pharmacogenetic variability can lead to ADRs
  11. Give examples of metabolic enzymes (especially CYP450s), transporters and receptors which have clinically- significant genetic polymorphisms
  12. Know where to find information on inherited variants which affect patient response to drugs e.g. abacavir-sensitivity, TPMT deficiency, DPD deficiency
  13. List examples of specific medications and associated pharmacogenetic tests
  14. Briefly, describe the methodology of pharmacogenetic testing
  15. List some of the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) surrounding PGx testing
  16. List some of the possible patient benefits and limitations (e.g. ethnic variability) of personalized medicine, time to testing, incomplete relationship
  17. List some of the barriers to implementing PGx testing into clinical practice e.g. HCP education and pharmacoeconomics
  18. Describe named examples of drugs, diseases and genes implicated in the areas of oncology, neuropsychiatry and cardiovascular medicine … where PGx is either already influencing practice or likely to influence practice in the near future.
  19. Describe what is meant by “Point of care” testing and “Direct to consumer” testing
  20. The use of multiplex tests e.g Amplichip, introduction of whole genome sequencing technologies
  21. Describe companion studies and the development of companion diagnostics

Intellectual skills

  1. Critically evaluate a wide range of information to assist with clinical judgements and decision making.
  2. Interpret data and convert into knowledge for use, in a clinical setting, by healthcare colleagues, individual patients and groups of patients

Practical skills

  1. Identify and be able to use appropriate online databases and personalised prescribing tools
  2. Know where to find information on pharmacogenetic polymorphisms  (SNP, ClinVar, Ensembl)
  3. Know where to find information on genetically-inherited disorders affecting drug response (OMIM)
  4. Know where to find information on pharmacogenetic tests (GTR)
  5. Know where to find information on drugs where PGx may be an issue (PharmGKB)
  6. Know where to find information on PGx dosing guidelines (CPIC)
  7. Work in partnership with NHS colleagues and other professionals (within an interdisciplinary team) to advise patients and their carers and to optimise patient care.
  8. Present information clearly in the form of written reports.
  9. Interpret evidence from a range of online resources and integrate this into the sum of patient information for the interpretation and implementation of  pharmacogenetic test results for patients.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Actively seek accurate and validated information from a wide range of available sources.
  2. Communicate effectively by presenting complex ideas in simple language in both oral and written formats.
  3. Self-direct their learning and reflect upon that learning, identifying areas for further improvement.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 30%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Oral assessment/presentation 20%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to

  • “Pharmacogenetics: Making cancer treatment safer and more effective”
  • Newman, William G. (Ed.) Springer 2010
  • “Principles of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics”
  • By Russ B. Altman, David Flockhart , David B. Goldstein
  • New Clinical Genetics, Second Edition, by Andrew Read and Dian Donnai
  • Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology 8th Edition
  • Authors: James Ritter Rod Flower Graeme Henderson Humphrey Rang
  • Attia J, Ioannidis JP, Thakkinstian A, McEvoy M, Scott RJ, Minelli C, Thompson J, Infante-Rivard C, Guyatt G. How to use an article about genetic association: A: Background concepts. JAMA. 2009 Jan 7;301(1):74-81. doi: 10.1001/jama.2008.901. Erratum in: JAMA. 2009 Mar 11;301(10):1024
  • Relling MV, Evans WE. Pharmacogenomics in the clinic.   Nature. 2015 Oct 15;526(7573):343-50. doi: 10.1038/nature15817. PMID: 26469045
  • Collins SL, Carr DF, Pirmohamed M. Advances in the Pharmacogenomics of Adverse Drug Reactions. Drug Saf. 2016 Jan;39(1):15-27.PMID: 26650062
  • Sim SC, Kacevska M, Ingelman-Sundberg M. Pharmacogenomics of drug-metabolizing enzymes: a recent update on clinical implications and endogenous effects. Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Feb;13(1):1-11. PMID: 23089672
  • Yiannakopoulou ECh. Pharmacogenomics of phase II metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters: clinical implications.  Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Apr;13(2):105-9. PMID: 23044602

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Bill Newman Unit coordinator

BIOL67982: Application of Genomics in Infectious Diseases (Unit 7)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Genomic approaches are changing the way we investigate incidents of infectious disease at levels from the single case of infection through to outbreaks and global surveillance. While some of the philosophies and technical approaches used in the study of infectious disease may overlap with those used in human genomics, there are many differences in the genetics of microorganisms and the methodology used which needs to be illustrated within this unit. The unit is intended to give the student an in depth knowledge of the relevance of genomics to infectious disease, to provide hands on experience in carrying out and interpreting appropriate analyses and to develop specialist knowledge  in infectious disease genomics.


Knowledge and understanding

  1. Explain the principles of epidemiology of infectious diseases.
  2. Critically evaluate how the genome sequence of pathogens can be used to investigate and manage suspected outbreaks of infection in hospital and community settings.
  3. Explain the underlying principles of laboratory diagnosis, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and epidemiological typing of pathogens.
  4. Critically evaluate the emerging action of drugs in controlling infection eg virus, bacteria and fungi
  5. Evaluate how sequencing of the genome of infective organisms can be used in infectious disease for diagnosis, sub-classification and strain identity.
  6. Evaluate how sequencing of the genome of infective organisms can be used in infectious disease for assessing pathogenicity, antimicrobial resistance, drug selection and epidemic control.
  7. Critically evaluate the molecular basis of organism drug resistance and how this directs to drug search.

Intellectual skills

  1. To assess the most appropriate genomic approaches to address an infection-related question
  2. Critical evaluation of genomic analysis of pathogens as a means to inform antimicrobial treatments
  3. Critical evaluation of utility of purely genomic approaches to investigate incidents of infectious disease

Practical skills

  1. Choose and apply bioinformatics methodology commonly used for compiling microbial genomes or compare strains.
  2. Choose and apply bioinformatics methodology commonly used for identify microbial communities in clinical samples.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Bioinformatics methodology
  • Confidence to interpret infectious disease bioinformatics analysis
  • Report writing
  • Scientific discussion

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Presentation 20%
Written assignment (inc essay) 80%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to:


The genetics of bacteria and their viruses. Studies in basic genetics and molecular biology. HAYES, W. 1964 pp. xii +740 pp.

Reviews and Original Articles:

  • Deurenberg RH, Bathoorn E, Chlebowicz MA, Couto N, Ferdous M, García-Cobos S, Kooistra-Smid AM, Raangs EC, Rosema S, Veloo AC, Zhou K, Friedrich AW, Rossen JW. Application of next generation sequencing in clinical microbiology and infection prevention. J Biotechnol. 2017 Feb 10;243:16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2016.12.022.
  • Edwards DJ, Holt KE(2015). “Beginner’s guide to comparative bacterial genome analysis using next generation sequence data. Microbial Informatics and Experimentation, a 3:2.
  • Golubchik T, Batty EM, Miller RR, Farr H, Young BC et al (2013). Within-host evolution of Staphylococcus aureus during asymptomatic carriage. PLoS ONE 8(5) e61319.
  • Gomez CA, Budvytiene I, Zemek AJ, Banaei N. Performance of Targeted Fungal Sequencing for Culture-Independent Diagnosis of Invasive Fungal Disease. Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Nov 29;65(12):2035-2041. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix728.
  • Harris SR, Cartwright EJ, Török ME, Holden MT, Brown NM, Ogilvy-Stuart AL, Ellington MJ, Quail MA, Bentley SD, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ (2013). Whole-genome sequencing for analysis of an outbreak of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a descriptive study. Lancet Infect Dis. 13(2): 130-6.
  • Roetzer A, Diel R, Kohl TA, Ruckert C, Nubel U et al (2013) Whole Genome Sequencing Versus Traditional Genotyping for Investigation of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis Outbreak: A Longtitudinal Molecular Epidemiological Study. PLoS Med(2); e1001387.
  • Rossen JWA, Friedrich AW, Moran-Gilad J; ESCMID Study Group for Genomic and Molecular Diagnostics (ESGMD). Practical issues in implementing whole-genome-sequencing in routine diagnostic microbiology. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2018 Apr;24(4):355-360. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2017.11.001.


Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sara Gago Unit coordinator

BIOL67381: Counselling Skills for Genomic (Unit 8)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Credit rating 15

Teaching period(s) Semester 1

Offered by School of Biological Sciences

Available as a free choice unit? No


This is an introductory module which aims to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to communicate genomic information to patients and their families. The module will help participants develop practical skills including a genomic approach to family history taking, communicating complex genomic information, supporting decision-making around test choices, facilitating communication within families and accessing sources of support for patients. Content will be guided by a family systems approach to practice which takes account of the ethical and psychosocial impacts of genomic information.

Teaching will be delivered as blended learning with online sessions before and after a two-day consecutive block of face-to-face teaching.


The aim of this module is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to communicate with patients and their families around genetic and genomic testing.

Teaching and learning methods

This module will be delivered as blended learning comprising:

Several online learning sessions which include didactic material, demonstration videos, reflective exercises and self-assessment quizzes.

Two-day face-to-face teaching block (15 hours in total) including interactive workshops

Written assignment (1200 words)

1 Hour Exam

Knowledge and understanding

Evaluate the principles and benefits of informed consent in the field of genomic medicine.


Access existing practice guidelines around genetic testing and use them to interpret case studies

Analyse the potential psychosocial impact of genomic test results drawing on the published evidence base of patient and family experiences, and evaluate the strategies professionals can use to provide support

Describe the theoretical framework of family systems theory and evaluate its relevance to practice in supporting families undergoing genomic testing

Intellectual skills

Examine the different purposes of genomic testing in child and adult patients, pregnancies, and healthy individuals.

Demonstrate the usefulness of family history information in assessing genetic risk, genomic results, and family burden

Practical skills

Take a family history relevant to genomic testing.

Facilitate shared decision-making around whether to undergo genetic testing.

Be able to take meaningful consent for genomic testing in the clinical setting

Communicate genomic results in an empathic manner and explain their predictive value and parameters of uncertainty, taking into account the patient’s current concerns, educational background and learning ability.

Employ strategies to support families to communicate around genomic test results including disseminating information to other relatives at risk.

Identify sources of support for patients including patient support groups and on-line resources.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Apply acquired skills to area of own healthcare practice to deliver effectively and support patient choices in relation to genomic information

Assessment methods

Method Weight

  • Written exam 70%
  • Written assignment 30%

Teaching staff


Staff member Role

  • Rhona MacLeod Unit coordinator
  • Sarah Bennett Unit coordinator

BIOL67372: Economics of Genomics and Precision Medicine (Unit 9)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit will provide the student with the skills to understand economic evidence generated from model-based economic evaluations of interventions relevant to human genomics. The aim is for students to be able to critically appraise model-based economic evaluations to assess whether the evidence is relevant to their jurisdiction and particular resource allocation decision problem. The course materials will provide an introduction to the key economic principles and theories that underpin the use of methods of economic evaluation, describe the different methods of economic evaluation, the role of model based economic evaluations and provide applied examples of how to structure and critique model-based economic analyses.


The aim of this module is to enable students to understand the role and application of model-based economic evaluations in the context of evaluating human genomic technologies and services.

The specific course objectives are to:

  • Understand the concept of opportunity cost and its role in decision making
  • Understand the theories underpinning the economic evaluation of healthcare interventions
  • Understand the different methods and types of economic evaluation with their advantages and disadvantages
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of using trial or model-based economic evaluations to generate economic evidence suitable for resource allocation decision making
  • Understand the different types of model-based economic evaluations
  • Understand the basic approach to conceptualise and structure a model-based economic evaluation
  • Understand how to value patient benefits for use in model-based economic evaluations and the role of health status and quality adjusted life years
  • Be aware of other measures of benefit that extend beyond health status
  • Understand how to identify and quantity resource use and costs for use in model-based economic evaluations
  • Understand how to populate a model-based economic evaluation
  • Know how to critically appraise published model-based economic evaluations of genomic technologies and services

Teaching and learning methods

  • Interactive face to face lectures
  • Interactive structured workshops
  • Online video lectures
  • Online discussion forum
  • Structured tasks for student to complete on their own and feedback in a group session

Knowledge and understanding

  • Illustrate opportunity cost
  • Appraise key theories underpinning methods of economic evaluation
  • Compare the methods and types of economic evaluation
  • Appraise the role and types of model-based economic evaluations
  • Demonstrate the importance of model conceptualisation
  • Assess the principles of how to structure and populate a model-based economic evaluation
  • Define what is a quality adjusted life year
  • Define the types of healthcare resource use and costs
  • Apply the available tools to critically appraise published model-based economic evaluations

Intellectual skills

  • Critical appraisal of economic evidence
  • Quantitative analytical skills

Practical skills

  • Use of Excel to build an economic model

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Group working
  • Develop critical thinking and appraisal of evidence

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Recommended reading

Includes but is not limited to:

  • Rachel A Elliott & Katherine Payne. Essentials of economic evaluation in health care. The Pharmaceutical Press, January 2005. ISBN 0 85369 574 1
  • Michael F. Drummond, Mark J. Sculpher, George W. Torrance, Bernie J. O’Brien, and Greg L. Stoddart. Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes. Third Edition. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-852945-3
  • J. Jaime Caro, Andrew H. Briggs, Uwe Siebert, Karen M. Kuntz.  Modeling Good Research Practices—Overview: A Report of the ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force-1. Value in Health 2012; 15 (6): 796–803
  • Mark Roberts, Louise B. Russell, A. David Paltiel, Michael Chambers, Phil McEwan, Murray Krahn. Conceptualizing a Model: A Report of the ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force-2. Value in Health 2012; 15(6): 804–811
  • Uwe Siebert, Oguzhan Alagoz, Ahmed M. Bayoumi, Beate Jahn, Douglas K. Owens, David J. Cohen, Karen M. Kuntz. State-Transition Modeling: A Report of the ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force-3. Value in Health 2012; 15(6): 812–820
  • Jonathan Karnon, James Stahl, Alan Brennan, J. Jaime Caro, Javier Mar, Jörgen Möller. Modeling using Discrete Event Simulation: A Report of the ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force-4. Value in Health 2012; 15 (6): 821–827
  • Richard Pitman, David Fisman, Gregory S. Zaric, Maarten Postma, Mirjam Kretzschmar, John Edmunds, Marc Brisson . Dynamic Transmission Modeling: A Report of the ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force-5. Value in Health 2012; 15 (6): 828–834
  • Don Husereau, Michael Drummond, Stavros Petrou, Chris Carswell, David Moher, Dan Greenberg, Federico Augustovski, Andrew H. Briggs, and others. Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS)—Explanation and Elaboration: A Report of the ISPOR Health Economic Evaluation Publication Guidelines Good Reporting Practices Task Force. Value in Health 2013; 16 (2): 231–250
  • Maria Cristina Peñaloza Ramos, Pelham Barton, Sue Jowett, Andrew John Sutton . A Systematic Review of Research Guidelines in Decision-Analytic Modeling. Value in Health 2015 (in press)
  • J. Jaime Caro, David M. Eddy, Hong Kan, Cheryl Kaltz, Bimal Patel, Randa Eldessouki, Andrew H. Briggs.  Questionnaire to Assess Relevance and Credibility of Modeling Studies for Informing Health Care Decision Making: An ISPOR-AMCP-NPC Good Practice Task Force Report. Value in Health 2014; 17(2): 174–182
  • Drummond, M, Barbieri, M, Cook, J, et al.  Transferability of Economic Evaluations Across Jurisdictions: ISPOR Good Research Practices Task Force Report. Value in Health 2009;12:4:409-418

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katherine Payne Unit coordinator
Alexander Thompson Unit coordinator

 BIOL67382: Ethical, Legal and Social issues in applied Genomics (Unit 10)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit comprises of interactive online learning materials supported by one day face-to-face seminars provided by senior academics in this field.  Students will be guided through the subject areas by the online materials which are specially designed with this particular audience in mind and focused clearly on the learning outcomes of this course unit.  The face to face seminars will provide students with the opportunity to explore the issues that arise out of the online materials in detail and develop their knowledge of this area and their skills in critical thinking around these issues.


By the end of this module the students will have:

a) Developed an understanding of the roles of ethics and law in genomics

b) Developed an understanding and confidence in complex ethical and legal issues around a comprehensive set of scenarios in the area of genomics.

c) Developed skills around ethical argumentation and critical thinking that will be transferable into their professional setting.

Course Contents

•Introduction to ethics and genomics

• Introduction to law and genomics

• The central role of the Principle of Respect for Individual Autonomy and emerging importance of the Principle of Solidarity in genethics.

• What counts as valid legal consent?

• Is genetic information special? Does it fit with our usual notions of consent, confidentiality, individual autonomy etc?

• Genomics and reproduction

• Genetic storage and biobanks

• Genomics, epigenetics and personalised medicine

The conveners of this course have a great deal of experience in producing high quality online learning materials and also in teaching and researching in this area of genetics and ethics and bioethics and medical law more generally. Students will have lots of opportunities to discuss these issues face to face at the one day seminar and online as well as to engage with the focused online materials with support from conveners online.

Teaching and learning methods

Interactive online materials will provide lots of opportunities for focused active learning.  These are supplemented with support from tutors and group seminars.  Full support will be provided to students around the course and the assessment of the course with accessible tutors, online support and focus on supporting students with the assignments in the seminars.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Contrast the differing roles of ethics and law in genomics.
  • Identify and analyse complex ethical and legal issues from a comprehensive set of scenarios in the area of genomics.
  • Assess and formulate their positions on the ethical and legal issues studied and issues that arise from their professional practice and reflect on why they take this particular stance and not an alternative one.

Intellectual skills

Critically appraise this subject having developed and practiced these skills both in the online materials and discussion boards and in the seminars.

Practical skills

  • Discuss and analyse complex ethical and legal issues either individually, in their assignments, or in small groups in seminars.
  • Present their thinking on an issue in a clear, fair and convincing way.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Demonstrate confidence in discussing and analysing issues in a critical and robust way.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 70%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rebecca Bennett Unit coordinator

BIOL67361: Health Informatics (Unit 11)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Central to any efforts to build an efficient health care system, or in supporting evidence-based medicine, is the need to capture information around patient diagnosis and medical treatment. At the core of this activity is the development of electronic patient records.

Good quality electronic patient records require us to have systematic and unambiguous tools for recording the health state of a patient, and the treatments they receive. This unit provides a basic introduction to the development and use of electronic patient records, their long history, and the challenges still to be overcome.

Patient data is captured in many parts of the health service, in GP surgeries, in hospital labs, by different clinical teams. All this data needs to be brought together and shared – whether that be to build a record for a single patient, or provide an overview of activity across a region. This requires that data can be shared and integrated. However, the challenges in developing such systems are not purely technical. Issues around organizational and human factors are at least as difficult to develop effective solutions as developing an appropriate IT infrastructure.

Indicative content:

Information Governance: data and information quality, security and confidentiality

  • General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)
  • Acts of Parliament, other legislation, Codes of Practice
  • Dealing with requests for information about patients/clients
  • Information Commissioner,
  • Paper based vs electronic records;
  • Patient identifiable data and information,
  • Secondary uses of data,
  • Audit and research,
  • Caldicott Guardians
  • Consent
  • Smart cards/records access
  • The well informed patient, the expert patient,
  • Encryption (principles)
  • Safe havens
  • Relationship and differences between data and information
  • Qualities of good data
  • Information system risks to patient safety
  • Cost of data entry errors
  • Secure information exchange between professionals
  • Sharing and communication with patients and carers

· Uses of clinical and health data and information

  • Patient identifiable and non-patient identifiable data and information
  • Health research applications
  • Public health,
  • Service planning
  • Cross sector care,
  • Patient/client centred service,
  • Information flows between health and social care and public health, third sector and private sectors
  • Systematic approaches to improving patient care: secondary uses – SUS – QIPP and related initiatives
  • Patient focused systems vs speciality, disease or procedure focused systems
  • Big Data
  • Transparency
  • Information intermediaries
  • Clinical audit
  • Information for patient choice
  • Health Records
  • Paper vs electronic records
  • Patient held records
  • Structured and coded records – free text in records
  • Consent models
  • Confidentiality and security
  • Impact of patient access on professionals and relationships, behavioural issues
  • Record sharing – with patients and between professionals
  • Electronic Health Records
  • GP/primary care records
  • · The Language of Health: Clinical Coding and Terminology
  • Terminologies vs classifications.
  • Coding systems – nature, clinical applications, limitations
  • Accident and Emergency Coding Tables
  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
  • NHS dictionary of medicines and devices, OPCS Classification of Intervention


The aim of this unit is to introduce health informatics knowledge and understanding of the skills and tools needed by all professionals in modern healthcare systems to provide safe, secure high quality, effective patient centred services.

By the end of the module students should have an understanding of electronic patient records, why they are so important, and also just why it is so difficult to do well. They should also have some appreciation of the governance and data security problems surrounding the capture, use and sharing of such data.

Teaching and learning methods

e-Learning preparation material will impart basic and core knowledge whilst the face-to-face lectures and open discussions will introduce concrete examples and encourage attendees to draw upon their own work and experience.  Group, problem-based learning will show a deeper understanding of the area and encourage collaborative working. The F2F contact will be delivered in one week.

Intellectual skills

  1. Critically evaluate current literature on electronic patient records
  2. Discuss and justify the legislation, regulatory guidance and national and local protocols relating to the security, confidentiality and appropriate sharing of patient information.
  3. Discuss the basis and application and evaluate the limitations of the different clinical coding systems in use, and the importance of high-quality coded clinical data in communication and to patient safety.
  4. Apply information governance and security guidelines to information collection and use in healthcare systems
  5. Explain the use of clinical terms in record keeping and the role of terming on reporting and analysis.
  6. Identify the range, purposes, benefits and potential risks of sharing, integrating and aggregating clinical data and information.
  7. Evaluate the purpose, structures, use and storage of health and care records.

Practical skills

  1. Elicit information and requirements from various stakeholders
  2. Apply theories and concepts to research driven case-studies and own work
  3. Effectively communicate the decision-making process and how the decision arose surrounding a health informatics problem

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Self-direct their learning
  2. Reflect upon their learning
  3. Effectively work in an interdisciplinary team
  4. Communicate effectively both in written and verbal format to a range of stakeholders including the public.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written assignment (essay) 50%
Set exercise 20%

Recommended reading

The reading for this unit will focus on: (1) journals including International Journal for Medical Informatics; Health Informatics journal; and Journal of Medical Internet Research; (2) NHS documentation including policy documents; guidelines and standard; and (3) research from The Kings Fund ( and Nuffield Trust (

Example texts include, but are not limited to::

In addition, introductory health informatics texts may also be referenced including, but not limited to:

  • Coiera, E (2015). Guide to Health Informatics. (3rd Edition) London: CRC Press
  • Shortcliffe, E. and Cimino, J Biomedical Informatics:Computer Applications in Healthcare and Biomedicine (Health Informatics). 3rd ed. London: Springer.
  • Taylor, P., From Patient Data to Medical Knowledge. 2006: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Evan Kontopantelis Unit coordinator

BIOL67672: Disease Modelling and Genome Engineering (Unit 12)

Credit rating 15
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit will provide essential and contemporary knowledge on the importance of using model systems to investigate the functional genomics of inherited human diseases. The unit will also review genomic engineering technologies and provide a workshop for the design of CRISPR-Cas9 reagents.

Students will be provided with a number of example engineered models to study human disease and will be able to understand the merits and drawbacks of many of the cell and animal models available to researchers. The ethics of using animal models and the potential of genomic engineering to alter human genomes will also be discussed.

The unit is led and delivered by academics with a wealth of experience in using a wide range of models to study human genetic disease.


  • Provide an understanding of why animal and cellular models are necessary for studying the functional genomics of human disease.
  • Provide an understanding of the different model systems available for studying human disease.
  • Provide an understanding of how to manipulate gene expression in a variety of model systems.
  • Provide an understanding of the genome engineering techniques available, how to design associated reagents, and how to use them.
  • Provide an understanding of the ethical considerations associated with animal models and genome engineering.
  • Be able to use literature and online resources to access information on disease modelling and genomic engineering.
  • Be able to apply knowledge of model systems and genome engineering to critically analyse published data and to design experiments.

Teaching and learning methods

This module will be delivered over a one week period and consists of a series of face to face lectures, interactive seminars, and computer practicals. Lectures are supported with online resources and/or key references.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Use advanced knowledge in how to manipulate the genomic sequence and gene expression of cell and animal models to evaluate models of human disease.
  • Use advanced knowledge in how to manipulate the genomic sequence and gene expression of cells, animals and humans to evaluate therapeutic treatments for inherited human disease.
  • Describe and critically evaluate a range of contemporary genomic technologies to alter the sequence and expression of genes.
  • Debate the ethical arguments about the use of animal models to study human disease and the ethical concerns about being able to alter genomes in vitro and in vivo.

Intellectual skills

  • Critically evaluate the methods and technologies used to generate model systems of inherited human diseases.
  • Critically evaluate the methods and technologies used to generate therapies employing altered gene expression for the treatment of inherited human diseases.

Practical skills

  • Review and critically anayse the scientific literature relevant to model systems and genomic engineering pertinent to inherited human disease.
  • Present a case from the literature on a model system, or treatment, of an inherited human disease.
  • Use web-based tools to design regents to alter the expression of genes or genomic sequence.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop problem solving skills through collaboration in group working and debate.
  • Enhance oral and written presentation skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Oral group presentation 40%

Recommended reading

  • Lim JM, Kim HH. Basic Principles and Clinical Applications of CRISPR-Based Genome Editing. Yonsei Med J. 2022 Feb;63(2):105-113. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2022.63.2.105. PMID: 35083895; PMCID: PMC8819410.
  • Kesavan G. Innovations in CRISPR-Based Therapies. Mol Biotechnol. 2021 Sep 29. doi: 10.1007/s12033-021-00411-x. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34586618.
  • Kanafi MM, Tavallaei M. Overview of advances in CRISPR/deadCas9 technology and its applications in human diseases. Gene. 2022 Jul 1;830:146518. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2022.146518. Epub 2022 Apr 18. PMID: 35447246.
  • Mukherjee P, Roy S, Ghosh D, Nandi SK. Role of animal models in biomedical research: a review. Lab Anim Res. 2022 Jul 1;38(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s42826-022-00128-1. PMID: 35778730; PMCID: PMC9247923.
  • Walters L, Cook-Deegan RM, Adashi EY. Governing Heritable Human Genome Editing: A Textual History and a Proposal for the Future. CRISPR J. 2021 Aug;4(4):469-476. doi: 10.1089/crispr.2021.0043. PMID: 34406046; PMCID: PMC8392078.
  • Wang Z, Zheng J, Pan R, Chen Y. Current status and future prospects of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Hum Cell. 2021 Nov;34(6):1601-1616. doi: 10.1007/s13577-021-00592-2. Epub 2021 Aug 10. PMID: 34378170.
  • Ivanova E. How Various Drug Delivery Methods Could Aid in the Translation of Genome Prime Editing Technologies. Genet Res (Camb). 2022 Feb 21;2022:7301825. doi: 10.1155/2022/7301825. PMID: 35283690; PMCID: PMC8885240.

Teaching staff

  • Dr Forbes Manson
  • Dr Elisa Aguilar
  • Prof Tao Wang
  • Prof Adrian Woolf
  • Dr Gino Poulin
  • Dr Ian Millar
  • Dr Neil Roberts
  • Prof Richard Baines
  • Dr Paul Kasher
  • Dr Natalia Mancaut
  • Dr Miriam Lettieri
  • Prof Matthew Cobb
  • Dr Mark Josef Rapa

BIOL67980: Research Project MSc Genomic Medicine (Unit 13a: MSc)

Credit rating 60
Teaching period(s) Summer (topic selection in April, deadline first week in September)
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


The 60 credit research project will normally only be an option for full-time students due to the time commitment required. Part-time students will normally do the 30 credit literature review, in which case two additional optional 15 credit modules must be undertaken to fulfil the requirements of 180 credits for a Masters degree. In exceptional circumstances a part-time students may be allowed to undertake the 60 credit research project if it is discussed and agreed with a Programme Director or the module lead.


The aim of this module is for students to build on their previous knowledge, skills and experience of undertaking research by undertaking a medical genomics research project that shows originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in a specialism of healthcare science. Research projects should be designed to take into account the research training required by individual students and the needs of the department in which the research is to be conducted. The research dissertation should be presented in the form of a scientific report to be considered for publication in a scientific journal, i.e. use of sub-headings, tables, figures, references, etc. This can be based on a workplace project or the Genomics England dataset.

Content Description

Students will use both the theoretical knowledge they will acquire throughout the taught part of the course and the analytical skills they will develop in order to tackle a research question by themselves. Undertaking of the research project will involve formulating the question, acquiring and analysing the data and finally present and discuss results. The project could be carried out in the hosting NHS laboratory, research department and industry under joint supervision i.e. tutors from both the hosting department and the programme. Research projects should be presented in the format of a paper for publication (additional figures and tables can be presented as supplementary material).

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Design, plan and undertake a research project to test a hypothesis from conception to completion/archiving in accordance with ethical and research governance regulations drawing on expert advice where necessary and involving patients and service users
  2. Analyse the data using appropriate methods and statistical techniques, and interpret, critically discuss and draw conclusions from the data
  3. Prepare a written report that describes and critically evaluates the research project, clearly identifying the strengths and weaknesses
  4. Present a summary of the research project and outcome that conforms to the format of a typical scientific presentation at a national or international scientific meeting, responding to questions appropriately
  5. Prepare and present a summary of the research project to specialist, non-specialist and lay audiences seeking feedback on the presentation(s) and critically reflecting on the experience and feedback.

Intellectual skills

  1. Justify the rationale for research governance and ethical frameworks when undertaking research or innovation in the NHS
  2. Identify a research question and critically evaluate the novelty and importance of the research question

Practical skills

  1. Develop appropriate laboratory skills relevant to the research project and course
  2. Understand statistical analysis methodology

Assessment methods

Method Weight

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
May Tassabehji Unit coordinator

BIOL67380: Research Project MSc Genomic Medicine (Unit 13b: MSc)

Credit rating 30
Teaching period(s) Summer (topic selection in April, deadline first week in September)
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


Part-time students will normally do the 30 credit literature review, in which case two additional optional 15 credit modules must be undertaken to fulfil the requirements of 180 credits for a Masters degree. In exceptional circumstances a part-time students may be allowed to undertake the 60 credit research project if it is discussed and agreed with a Programme Director or the module lead


The aim of this module is to allow students to carry out an in depth literature based project on specific subjects e.g. cardiovascular genomics or epigenetics. This module could potentially provide a 30 credit module but then must be done in conjunction with additional optional modules to attain the total of 180 credits.

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Design, plan and undertake a research project to test a hypothesis from conception to completion/archiving in accordance with ethical and research governance regulations drawing on expert advice where necessary and involving patients and service users
  2. Analyse the data using appropriate methods and statistical techniques, and interpret, critically discuss and draw conclusions from the data
  3. Prepare a written report that describes and critically evaluates the research project, clearly identifying the strengths and weaknesses
  4. Present a summary of the research project and outcome that conforms to the format of a typical scientific presentation at a national or international scientific meeting, responding to questions appropriately
  5. Prepare and present a summary of the research project to specialist, non-specialist and lay audiences seeking feedback on the presentation(s) and critically reflecting on the experience and feedback.

Intellectual skills

  1. Justify the rationale for research governance and ethical frameworks when undertaking research or innovation in the NHS
  2. Identify a research question and critically evaluate the novelty and importance of the research question

Practical skills

  1. Develop appropriate laboratory skills relevant to the research project and course
  2. Understand statistical analysis methodology

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Project output (not diss/n) 100%

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
May Tassabehji Unit coordinator



All students at dissertation level are allocated a Supervisor. Briefly, the responsibilities of the Supervisor include: giving guidance about the nature of research and the standard expected; the planning of the research programme; and pointing the Student towards relevant literature and other sources of information.

The relationship between the Student and their Supervisor is of central importance. Both the Student and the Supervisor have a responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is completed within the prescribed period of the programme. Supervisors and students should establish at their initial meeting clear and explicit expectations of each other in order to minimise the risks and problems of misunderstanding, inadequate supervision and unsatisfactory work.

Progress monitoring meetings must be closely documented. It should be noted that in some instances students may be jointly supervised by staff, and be assigned a principal and second supervisor.

If you have any queries or concerns at any time during your period of study, there is a range of people you can approach:

  • The Programme Administration Team
  • Postgraduate Taught Education Support Manager
  • Your Supervisor
  • Programme Directors
  • Postgraduate Taught Director

Recording Lectures

Please do not assume you can record lectures with a voice recorder or similar device. If you wish to record a lecture or other teaching session, ensure you obtain the prior permission of the lecturer. You may not share any recordings with any other person (including by electronic media) without first being given specific permission by the lecturer.


Programme Management

The programme is managed and operated in accordance with the policies, principles, regulations and procedures of The University of Manchester.

The Programme Directors, have day-to-day responsibility for the management of the programmes and are assisted by the Programme Administration Team.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee meet 3 times a year. The committee’s functions and responsibilities are to maintain the standards of teaching, to evaluate and revise the programme in the light of feedback, to monitor student progression and to provide a forum for discussion between the University and the students.

The Programme Committee reviews the annual monitoring report and acts on recommendations arising from the annual monitoring process.

The membership of the Programme Committee includes: the Programme Directors; the Programme Administration Team; Teaching Staff and Student Representatives.

The Programme Committee report to the Consortium and School PGT Committee.

External Examiner

The External Examiner for this programme is Professor Colin Johnson.

Please note that it is for information only and it is inappropriate for students to make direct contact with External Examiners under any circumstances, in particular with regards to a student’s individual performance in assessments. Other appropriate mechanisms are available for students, including the University’s appeals or complaints procedures and the UMSU Advice Centre. In cases where a student does contact an External Examiner directly, External Examiners have been requested not to respond to direct queries. Instead, External Examiners should report the matter to their School contact who will then contact the student to remind them of the other methods available for students. If students have any queries concerning this, they should contact the Programme Administration Team in the first instance.

External Examiner
External Examiners are individuals from another institution or organisation who monitor the assessment processes of the University to ensure fairness and academic standards. They ensure that assessment and examination procedures have been fairly and properly implemented and that decisions have been made after appropriate deliberation. They also ensure that standards of awards and levels of student performance are at least comparable with those in equivalent higher education institutions.

External Examiners’ reports
External Examiners’ reports relating to this programme will be shared with student representatives at the Staff Student Liaison Committee and/or Programme Committee where details of any actions carried out by the programme team/School in response to the External Examiners’ comments will be discussed. Students should contact their student representatives if they require any further information about External Examiners’ reports or the process for considering them.

Literature Review

The word limit for the literature review is a maximum of 5000 words, excluding title page, table of contents and references. Figures, tables and figure legends will be included in the word count. Students will be penalised for exceeding this word limit. Where the limit is exceeded the final mark will be reduced as stated previously. You should be aware that plagiarism software will be applied to all reports.

Guidelines for writing the literature review

  • Define the general research area in the context of your research project.
  • Link this topic of research to a scientific endeavor and/or human health and disease.
  • Describe what has been published about the topic. Summarise the work done to address certain key issues discussing how they have advanced the field and why they are considered seminal reports.
  • All sources used must be referenced and included in a bibliography, formatted appropriately using referencing software e.g. Endnote. An author-date citation style is preferable.
  • Aim to use a range of sources, including important historical references and the most up-to-date research of relevance. Do NOT use only review articles. A central core of original papers should be cited and critically examined. References to web pages are acceptable but should be used sparingly. Note the date at which the page was accessed.
  • Discuss any controversial issues surrounding the field, inconsistencies between reports and conclusions made by different groups.
  • The literature review should be written for a researcher with broad knowledge of the field but not necessarily specialist knowledge of the research topic and therefore it is important to provide ‘signposts’ using phrases such as ‘In brief’ ‘to summarise’ in order to orientate the reader.
  • Diagrams and figures should be included to illustrate key points. Include appropriate reference/credit or make your own originals. A rough guideline for proportion of illustrations is between 10-20% of the report. Prepare concise but informative legends that make the figures understandable without having to consult the main text.
  • Conclude by summarising the key points covered in the literature review and describing deficiencies in current understanding which will then link into your research proposal.

Formatting of the literature review and research proposal

The reports will be submitted electronically as a Word document or pdf via Blackboard.

  • A title page giving the title of the report, the candidate’s number (the same as the name under which he or she is currently registered, at the University), the name of the candidate’s School – School of Medicine, the year of submission, and for the literature review, the word count. The title page is not included in the literature review word count or research proposal page count.
  • Double or 1.5 spacing with a minimum font size of 12 must be used for the main text; single-spacing may be used for quotations, footnotes and references. Pages may be single or double-sided.
  • General guidance on bibliographic citations and references can be obtained from the programme director, and must be consistent throughout the reports.
  • Page numbering must consist of one single sequence of Arabic numerals (i.e., 1, 2, 3…) throughout the reports. Page numbers must be displayed on all pages EXCEPT the title page, though this is counted as page one. The pagination sequence will include not only the text of the report but also the preliminary pages, diagrams, tables, figures, illustrations, appendices, references etc., Roman numerals must not be used for page numbering.


The dissertation should be prepared in line with the University of Manchester’s Guidance for the Presentation of Taught Masters Dissertations (see further information below) and submitted via Turnitin.

The dissertation should be 10,000 to 13,000 words (60 credit option).


    • The dissertation should be typed double or 1.5 spacing (Single space can be used for references).
    • Font should be a minimum of 12 point, except where specialised fonts are required.
    • Pages can be single or double-sided.
    • Page numbering must consist of one single sequence of Arabic numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3 …) throughout the dissertation. Page numbers must be displayed on all pages EXCEPT the title page, though this is counted as page one.

Intellectual Property Statement

Insert the intellectual property statement detailed in the presentation guidance policy.

Additional information that needs to be provided with the Dissertation includes:

Introduction and aims: This section should provide information about the background to the project. The main aim of the Introduction is to inform the reader why the area of research is important, and how the project contributes to the research field. This section should end with one or two paragraphs that clearly state the overall aims (e.g. what hypothesis will be tested?) and the key objectives (e.g. what experiments will be performed?) of the project. The Introduction should be self-contained and should not require the reader to access additional material in order to understand it. Neither should it be a leisurely review of the field. It should be limited to around 6-10 pages of typescript. The referencing of reviews to cover large areas of literature is appropriate. However, research that is directly relevant to the project should be referenced in full as primary research papers. The use of figures to illustrate concepts or previous work is encouraged. It is best that figures are originals. Where unavoidable, figures may be copied or adapted from journals, in which case they must be cited in full within the legend.

In summary, it is important to identify in the Introduction:

  • The research topic or area;
  • The question or questions being addressed, and why they are important;
  • The purpose of the project. In most cases, the project should seek to test a hypothesis. Some projects may be more observational, in which case it is important to identify how these observations will be utilised to advance the field.

Materials and Methods: This should provide a description of the experimental systems and designs employed to obtain data, the materials used (including suppliers), and the methods of data and statistical analysis. Detail should be sufficient for others to repeat the work and to demonstrate that the student has understood the methods used. The key here is to appreciate which methodologies require detailed descriptions and which standard procedures can be dealt with quickly by referencing previous publications or manufacturers’ instructions:

There is no need to describe at length many standard laboratory procedures. For example, cell culture could be described by: “HeLa cells were grown in a 5% CO2 environment, in DMEM supplemented with 10% FBS and containing penicillin (x U/ml) and streptomycin (x U/ml).” Methods of cell splitting etc. need not be referred to unless they are intrinsic to the design of experiments.

Many standard protocols use kits. These can be described by identifying the kit and stating that methods were followed according to the manufacturer’s instructions (with details of any modifications).

Results: A detailed description of the results and findings. These should not endlessly restate the aims of the project but should provide sufficient information to allow the reader to ascertain the aim of each experiment/method development and what the result was. The results are often best divided into sections, each with a theme.

The text should be supported with figures and tables. These should be placed in the appropriate position within the main body of the report, i.e. immediately following the first reference to each table or figure, and not all put at the end of the report. Tables and Figures should be self-contained with appropriately detailed legends and it should normally not be necessary to describe every aspect of the table/figure in the text. There may however be occasions when you want to draw the reader to specific components of the Table/Figure (for example, “note differences between columns X and Y in Table II”, or “note the asterisked bands in lane 6 of Figure 4” etc).

Tables should be numbered consecutively. They must have an informative heading and an explanatory legend. These should make the general meaning comprehensible without reference to the text. Consider the layout carefully so the significance of the data can be grasped readily. Statistics should be quoted where appropriate. Units in which the results are expressed should be given at the top of each column.

Figures should also be numbered consecutively and should contain appropriate headings, annotations and legends. Do not make the figures over complicated by presenting too many sets of data. On graphs, each line should have a separate symbol and error bars should be shown where appropriate.  Unless there are special reasons, do not present the same data in more than one form.

Discussion: The Discussion should not be a paraphrasing of the results and is normally headed only by a brief summary of your findings. The Discussion should consist of a logical flow of arguments and reasoning that explains and expands upon the results in simple English, and identifies their relevance to published findings. You will be expected here to refer mainly to primary papers in the literature. The Discussion also provides an opportunity for you to defend your conclusions, identify how experiments could have been improved upon, and to discuss how the project might develop given more time.

Conclusions: A short summary will identify whether the approaches used have been successful and whether the aims that the student set originally have been achieved.

References: There should be a single reference section at the end of the document. References must be cited in full (all author names and initials, date, title, journal, volume, pages). References can be cited in the text either by author and date (e.g. Smith, 1996 or Smith and Brown, 1980 or Smith et al., 1990) or by numbering e.g. (34). You are encouraged to use a referencing software package such as Endnote or Reference Manager.

Acknowledgements: You may wish to acknowledge the people who have helped you in your project.

Appendices etc.: Appendices are useful ways to include supplementary data (e.g. DNA sequences) without breaking the flow of the dissertation. Buffer compositions are best described in parentheses within the Methods section, but their inclusion in an appendix is acceptable. Abbreviations should be listed on a separate page, preferably after the Table of Contents. Terms that are abbreviated should be used 3 or more times in the text. They should be written in full the first time they are used, followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis.


Progress and Assessment


Deadlines for Assessed Work

All assessed work must be handed in at the prescribed time. Dates will be published in advance of the deadline. We recommend that you transfer these dates to your diaries as soon as they are published.

Assignment Word Count (Including Dissertation)

In accordance with the University Policy on Marking:

Each written assignment has a word limit which you must state at the top of your first page. It is acceptable, without penalty, for you to submit an assignment within a range that is plus 10% of this limit. If you present an assignment with a word count exceeding the specified limit+10%, the assignment will be marked but 1% will be deducted from this mark for every 100 words over the limit given.

For an original word limit that is 1000 words and an assignment that is marked out of 100.  If a submission is made that is 1101 words then it exceeded the 10% leeway, and is more than 100 words over the original limit and should receive a 1 mark deduction.

In accordance with accepted academic practice, when submitting any written assignment for summative assessment, the notion of a word count includes the following without exception:

  • All titles or headings that form part of the actual text. This does not include the fly page or reference list
  • All words that form the actual essay
  • All words forming the titles for figures, tables and boxes, are included but this does not include boxes or tables or figures themselves
  • All in-text (that is bracketed) references
  • All directly quoted material

Certain assessments may require different penalties for word limits to be applied. For example, if part of the requirement for the assessment is conciseness of presentation of facts and arguments. In such cases it may be that no 10% leeway is allowed and penalties applied may be stricter than described above. In such cases the rules for word count limits and the penalties to be applied will be clearly stated in the assessment brief and in the submission details for that assessment.

Submitting your work

All assignments must be submitted electronically. The published deadlines for assessments all relate to the electronic submission which is completed via Blackboard, using the Turnitin system in the majority of cases. You must submit by the deadline advertised in your timetable/assessment handbook.

  • Submitting an electronic copy of the work
  • Log onto Blackboard via My Manchester
  • Click on the relevant course unit
  • Go to assessment folder
  • Upload your assignment via the Turnitin process


The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking. Such systems include Turnitin, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.

The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to Turnitin and/or other electronic systems used by the University.

Please note that when work is submitted to the relevant electronic systems, it may be copied and then stored in a database to allow appropriate checks to be made.

Please note that you can only upload one document so you cannot save your references/appendices as a separate document.


Guidance for Presentation of Taught Master's Dissertations

The University of Manchester guidance on presentation of taught Master's Dissertations is available at:
Guidance for the presentation of Taught Master's dissertations

The guidance explains the required presentation of the dissertation, and failure to follow the instructions in the guidance may result in the dissertation being rejected by the examiners.

There is more information on taught master's dissertation requirements on Blackboard: 


Extensions to Assignment Deadlines

On rare occasions students may need to request an extension to a coursework deadline due to circumstances beyond their control. If you need to request an extension to your assignment submission deadline then you must submit an extension request form which must be accompanied by supporting evidence (medical letters, certificates or other appropriate evidence). The supporting evidence must justify the length of the requested extension.

The extension request form is available via the Student Support Team (

The form should be submitted as soon as possible before the coursework deadline and should be submitted to the Student Support Team.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your request has been received.

You will be notified of the outcome of your request via email as soon as possible. Please note that an extension to a deadline is classed as mitigation. Mitigation can only be applied once to a piece of work. i.e. you cannot have an deadline extension and also apply for mitigation for poor performance due to the same circumstances.


Late Submission Penalty (Including Dissertation)

Work submitted after the deadline without prior approval will be subject to a late penalty in accordance with the University Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes.  The penalty applied is 10% of available marks deducted per day/24 hours (from the time of the original or extended deadline), until the assignment is submitted or no marks remain.

Penalties for late submission relate to 24 hours/calendar days, so include weekends and weekdays, as well as bank holidays and University closure days.

The mark awarded for the piece of work will be reduced by:
10% of the available marks deducted if up to 24 hours (1 day) late
20% of the available marks deducted if up to 48 hours (2 days) late
30% of the available marks deducted if up to 72 hours (3 days) late
40% of the available marks deducted if up to 96 hours (4 days) late
50% of the available marks deducted if up to 120 hours (5 days) late
60% of the available marks deducted if up to 144 hours (6 days) late
70% of the available marks deducted if up to 168 hours (7 days) late
80% of the available marks deducted if up to 192 hours (8 days) late
90% of the available marks deducted if up to 216 hours (9 days) late
100% of the available marks deducted if up to 240 hours (10 days) late

If the assessment is submitted within 10 days of the deadline the assessment should be marked and feedback to the student provided. If this mark before the penalty is applied reaches the appropriate pass mark but the applied penalty results in a fail of the assessment, the student should not be required to resit the assessment as the original mark can be taken as the resit mark. Further information and examples can be found in the Policy and associated Guidance documents.

For work submitted more than 10 days late, it is regarded as a non-submission and need not be marked. In this case a mark of zero will be awarded and normal resit regulations will apply.

The sliding scale should only be applied to first-sit submissions. For all referred (resit) assessment, any late submission will automatically receive a mark of zero.

For further information:

Guidance on Late Submission

Policy on the Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes


Academic Malpractice

Academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or otherwise – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research. It includes plagiarism, collusion, fabrication or falsification of results, and anything else that could result in unearned or undeserved credit for those committing it. Academic malpractice can result from a deliberate act of cheating or may be committed unintentionally. Whether intended or not, all incidents of academic malpractice will be treated seriously by the University.

The procedures and penalties for dealing with academic malpractice are covered by the same regulation as apply to Conduct and Disciple of Students (Regulation XVII).

You are responsible for ensuring that you understand what academic malpractice is, and how to avoid committing it. If you are unsure, ask your lecturer or academic advisor.

As further support for students, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has developed an Introductory Course. This unit must be completed by all postgraduate taught students and will allow you to test your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and academic malpractice. You can access the resource via Blackboard. Log in to My Manchester and click on the Blackboard tab. The online resource will be listed under the My Communities heading. The module should be completed as soon as possible after you begin your programmes, but must be completed before you submit your first piece of academic work for assessment.


Feedback for Assessments

The purpose of feedback is to provide constructive comments so that you can improve the standard of your work. Thus, in addition to marks you will receive written feedback on most of your assessed coursework.

Marks awarded for your assessments (i.e. everything which contributes to your final degree classification) are subject to ratification by the examination board and the external examiner at the awarding examination meeting. Consequently all marks given before the final examiners’ meeting has taken place must be regarded as provisional. Shortly after the examinations meetings we will publish results and a breakdown of your marks. These will remain provisional until after the final examination board has met.

The marking process involves several steps to ensure appropriate academic consideration and quality assurance processes have been adhered to. Students will be notified by email once the work has been marked and grades are available. We will endeavour to mark work and give feedback to students 15 working days after the hand-in date. However, occasionally there may be delays as a result of staff illness or other unforeseeable factors. In these circumstances, you will be kept informed of this.

Following graduation you may obtain a detailed official written account of all your examination results (called a transcript) from the Student Services Centre on payment of a small fee. This carries the University stamp and is recognised for such purposes as admission to a further course of study at another institution, membership of professional bodies, exemption from sections of professional examinations etc. If you need an official transcript, contact the SSC on 0161 275 5000.

Unofficial transcripts can be provided by the PGT Assessments Team.


How To Find Your Marks

Once work has been marked and moderated you will receive an email from the Assessment Team to tell you that the marks have been released. Work submitted via Blackboard will usually show a mark along with feedback on the Blackboard system.

You can also access marks by logging into your My Manchester account and going to My Services/Self Service and Student Centre. You can choose ‘Assignments’ from the drop down box and choose the relevant unit. Your Final mark for the unit does not appear until the unit is fully completed and marks have been through an exam board.



Examinations may be scheduled at any point during the academic year. The Assessments Team will provide you with details on when examinations will be scheduled. Please be aware that you may be tested on any topic from within a unit. Do not presume that because a piece of coursework has covered one area of a unit that it will not also appear in the exam. More details will be provided by the individual unit leads. Past papers for some units (where appropriate) are available online:

Do not assume that exams will take the same format as previous years. Academic staff should not indicate what will/ will not feature in an exam as this may not be accurate. Staff may have submitted questions that may not, necessarily, appear on the final exam paper. You should presume that anything can appear on the exam paper unless informed officially by the Assessments Team or Programme Directors.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled examinations. If for any unforeseen circumstances you experience any issues in attending, you must report this to the Programme Administration Team/Programme Director who may recommend that you submit a Mitigating Circumstances application.

Student Representation and Feedback


Election of Student Representative

At the beginning of the year you will be asked to elect a student representative. The student representative will be invited to attend the Programme Committees for parts of the meeting that do not involve discussion of individual students and the assessments. The student representative should make students’ views known to the programme management. In addition, they should report any relevant information back to the students.


Feedback from/to students

The University has a Policy on Feedback to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students in relation to the timely provision of feedback for academic progression.

Students will also have the opportunity to feedback their thoughts on the programme via a series of anonymous evaluation forms. Student feedback questionnaires will be made available via the Module Leads at the end of each module. The information will then be collated to assess the performance level of the programme. It is expected that every student will complete these forms. These feedback questionnaires are produced by the programme and allow students to comment on specific aspects of the organisation and delivery of the taught modules. The information obtained is collated and discussed during the next Programme Committee meeting. The quality of teaching on the programme is monitored in part by student feedback. Thus it is very important that you make your views, good and bad, known.

At the end of each semester, you will be asked to complete an anonymous University generated online evaluation form. This is known as a Unit Survey and will address more general issues with the information obtained being used to inform the teaching strategy of the Faculty/University. You will also receive a Postgraduate Taught Unit Survey form at the end of the semester. Again all students are expected to complete these surveys.

University Regulations

Postgraduate Degree Regulations

The University Postgraduate degree regulations can be found online:

In order to progress to the dissertation/research project you must have satisfactorily achieved the relevant pass mark in taught course units, including by use of resit and/or compensation as outlined in the degree regulations, in order to continue to this element of the programme.

Ethics Procedures

The nature of your programme and/or project work may require ethical approval.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have followed the correct ethical procedures, and that you have done this in good time.

Speak to your Supervisor or Programme Director at the earliest opportunity to ascertain whether ethical approval is required.


Tier 4 Visa Census Requirements

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, you must attend census points throughout the year, in addition to complying with your programme’s attendance requirements. Census checks are at specific times throughout the year and usually take place

  • September / October
  • January
  • May/June
  • July

The School must be able to confirm your presence to the UKVI by the end of each census point in the academic year. If you do not attend a census point when required by the School and you do not provide a valid explanation for your absence you will be deemed ‘not in attendance’. Further information can be obtained from the Student Support Team (


Student Support and Guidance

Academic Appeals, Complaints, Conduct and Discipline

Academic Appeals

  • Students have a right of appeal against a final decision of an Examination Board, or a progress committee, or a graduate committee or equivalent body which affects their academic status or progress in the University.
  • Students thinking of appealing should first discuss the matter informally with an appropriate member of staff, in order to better understand the reason for the result or decision and to determine whether the matter can be resolved informally by the School prior to making a formal appeal.
  • Should you wish to proceed to a formal appeal, this must be submitted within the timeframe outlined in the Academic Appeals Procedure to the Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail:
  • The Academic Appeals Procedure (Regulation XIX) and associated documents, including the form on which formal appeals should be submitted, can be found at

Student Complaints

  • The University’s Student Complaints Procedure (Regulation XVIII) and associated documents, including a complaints form, can be found at
  • The University has separate procedures to address complaints of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or victimisation - see
  • Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first (see the procedure). Formal complaints should be submitted on the relevant form to Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail:

Conduct and Discipline of Students

The University Library has produced online resources to help students in avoiding plagiarism and academic malpractice at:

Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first. Students can submit complaints to the Head of Teaching, Learning & Student Experience, Kerry Mycock (, for the School to respond to.


Mitigating Circumstances

Grounds for mitigation are unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances that could have, or did have, a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of a student. Possible mitigating circumstances include:

  • significant illness or injury;
  • the death or critical/significant illness of a close family member/dependant;
  • significant family crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress; and
  • absence for public service e.g., jury service.

Circumstances that will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation include:

  • holidays, moving house and events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected;
  • assessments that are scheduled close together;
  • misreading the timetable or misunderstanding the requirements for assessments;
  • inadequate planning and time management;
  • failure, loss or theft of a computer or printer that prevents submission of work on time; students should back up work regularly and not leave completion so late that they cannot find another computer or printer;
  • consequences of paid employment (except in some special cases for part-time students);
  • exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness or supported by medical evidence; and
  • disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment which has not been recorded by the invigilators.

If you feel there are circumstances in which you may be adversely affecting your performance on the course or in examinations, you should inform your Programme Director and/or Academic Advisor as soon as possible.

You can then complete a Mitigating circumstances form which can be sent to you by the Programme Administration Team. Requests must be accompanied by appropriate, independent, third-party supporting or collaborative documentation, which will be subject to verification.

If the information, and details of the mitigating circumstances, are considered to be highly confidential, you should submit these in a sealed envelope attached to the Notification of Mitigating Circumstances Form, together with the supporting documentary evidence. Mitigating Circumstances Panels have full regard for the confidentiality of any application they receive.

Mitigating Circumstances forms and evidence must be submitted before the release of any results deemed affected i.e. cannot be submitted once the mark and feedback for the piece of work deemed affected have been released to students. Retrospective mitigation cannot be considered without a credible and compelling reason for not being submitted earlier.

A mitigating circumstances panel will meet to discuss any requests for mitigation. The Panel will determine whether there is substantiated evidence of circumstances eligible for mitigation. It will then decide whether the circumstances will have had or could have had an adverse effect on the student's performance, and, if so, it will judge how significant the effect was likely to have been. If the Mitigating Circumstances Panel judges that the effect was or would have been significant, the mitigation request will be approved. Mitigation requests may be approved for a specific assessment or more general impairment over a number of assessments, or for both. If a mitigation request is approved, this will be noted at the Examination Board who will determine how to apply it, given the student's assessment results.

Following the Examination Board students will receive confirmation of the outcome of their mitigation request.




It is the expectation of the University that postgraduate taught students pursue their studies on a continuous basis for the stipulated duration of their programme. However, it is recognised that students may encounter personal difficulties or situations which may seriously disrupt or delay their studies. In some cases, an interruption or extension to your programme of study may be the most sensible option.

Students who wish to interrupt the programme or extend to write up the dissertation should initially discuss their plans and reasons with the Programme Director.

Students should also provide documentary evidence when appropriate, for example, doctor’s letter, sick note etc.

An application must be submitted to the Programme Director who will either support or reject the request. The form will then be submitted for consideration to the School Interruptions Panel who will make the final decision.

The forms required for formal application are available from the Student Support Team.


Students who are considering withdrawing from the programme should discuss this either with the Programme Director and, if in their dissertation year, with their research supervisor, and make the application by formal letter.

Students may liaise directly with the Programme Administration Team who will communicate this information directly to the Fees and Records Departments of the University.


Occupational Health

Occupational Health is a specialised area of medicine concerned with the way in which an individual’s health can affect his or her ability to do a job and to study and conversely how the work environment can affect an individual’s health. Their aim is to promote the physical, mental and social well-being of students and to reduce the incidence of ill-health arising from exposure to work place hazards.

The service provides confidential services to protect the health of staff and students at The University of Manchester.


Counselling Service

The counselling service is available for all students. It is free and consists of a team of professional counsellors. The service provides confidential counselling for anyone who wants help with personal problems affecting their work or well-being.

The service is open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday all year round except public holidays.


Fitness to Practise

Postgraduate students at The University of Manchester who are qualified health or social care professionals (e.g. doctor, dentist, nurse, social worker) registered by a healthcare or social care regulatory body (e.g. General Medical Council, General Dental Council, Nursing & Midwifery Council, Social Care Council) are expected to behave at all times in a way that is consistent with the recommendations or code of practice of the relevant professional regulatory body.

Postgraduate students need to be aware that in the event of misconduct, dishonesty, unprofessional behaviour, or other behaviour or illness (e.g. mental health illness) that raises the possibility that the student’s fitness to practise may be impaired; the University has a duty to protect the public and to inform the relevant professional regulatory body. This means, for example, that where a student has been found to be dishonest (e.g. plagiarism, collusion, falsification of research data or other forms of cheating) the matter may be reported by the University to the relevant professional regulatory body.

Students who are dishonest not only risk failing to be awarded the intended degree, but also place at risk their whole professional career.

Further information on Fitness to Practise related matters can be found online:

Disability Advisory and Support Service

The University of Manchester welcomes students with a disability or specific learning difficulties. The University has a Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS), who can supply further information, and staff will be pleased to meet you, by prior arrangement, to discuss your needs. Staff will liaise with your School to make the necessary arrangements for your support during your time in Manchester. The office can also provide a copy of the University's Disability Statement, 'Opportunities for Students with Additional Support Needs at the University of Manchester' which sets out the policy and provision for students with a disability.

DASS is located on the 2nd Floor of University Place (see Campus Map)

  • Email:
  • Phone 0161 275 7512; Text 07899 658 790 (only for d/Deaf students);
  • Website:
  • DASS are open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday


Students Union Advice Centre

The Students Union has advisors who can help with any matter ranging from finances to housing and beyond.


University Careers Service

As a postgraduate the demands on your time can seem overwhelming. The University careers service can make your life easier by offering a range of services designed to help you. Advice and support for Postgraduates include:

    • Help with CVs and applications, practice interviews and psychometric tests
    • Drop in quick query advice service
    • Personal Career consultations targeted to your needs
    • A range of postgraduate employability training opportunities
    • 24-hour access to up to date information, advice, vacancies and details of forthcoming events, including a specifically designed section for postgraduates available through our website:
    • Information on Job opportunities and vacancies through our fortnightly vacancy paper bulletins


Monitoring attendance and wellbeing of students

In order to monitor their progress, students will have regular, scheduled meetings with their academic advisor. Progress forms should be completed at these meetings. These meetings are in addition to the research project supervisory meetings between the student and supervisor, of which there should be a minimum of 10 per academic year.

Students are required to attend ALL lectures.

Attendance monitoring will take place during ALL sessions. It is your responsibility to make sure you have signed the register. Postgraduates are also expected to sit ALL examinations and coursework tests for their degree programme and to submit ALL coursework assignments by the deadline specified.

Attendance is monitored in conjunction with Regulation XX – Work and Attendance of Students.

Absences supported by medical or other appropriate information will not normally be counted towards the assessment of unsatisfactory attendance. Any absences must be supported by a Mitigating Circumstances Form and supporting evidence.


A-Z of Student Services

The A-Z of Services can be found on the My Manchester website or here.

Here you can find more information on a wide range of topics such as library services, disability support and careers advice.


IT Services Support Centre online
Details of what IT support is available and how to access it can be found on the FBMH eLearning Support page.
Login to the Support Centre online to log a request, book an appointment for an IT visit, or search the Knowledge Base.
Telephone: +44 (0)161 306 5544 (or extension 65544).  Telephone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In person:  Walk-up help and support is available at the Joule Library, Main Library or Alan Gilbert Learning Commons:
Use Support Centre online for support with eLearning, from where you may make a request, or search the Knowledge Base.

For IT and eLearning support visit:

Blackboard, the University's 'virtual learning environment', will be used for online teaching.

What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a web-based system that complements and builds upon traditional learning methods used at The University of Manchester. By using Blackboard you can

  • view course materials and learning resources,
  • communicate with lectures and other students,
  • collaborate in groups,
  • get feedback
  • submit assignments
  • monitoring your own progress at a time and place of your own convenience.

Training in the use of software
The Faculty eLearning team have produced a short introduction to Blackboard for new students.  The recording is hosted in two places: the Video Portal and on YouTube:

The recording is just over seven minutes long and covers most of the commonly used tools in Blackboard.


Religious Observance

The University supports a wide range of religions and will make every effort to support students in observing their religious beliefs.

For centrally timetabled examinations, key dates are to be noted in terms of formally notifying the University on dates in which undertaking assessment will be affected by religious observance. Please contact the Student Support Team with details of any assessments and teaching that may be affected.


Religious Observance and Looking after yourself and your patients during Ramadan 

Policy on Religious Observance:

Library Facilities

Library facilities are available across campus including the Stopford Building.

Photocopying is available in The University of Manchester Library. It is important that you abide by the regulations concerning the copying of copyright material.

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state of the art study and learning centre in the heart of the Oxford Road campus boasting an onsite café, an impressive atrium providing a social meeting space with wifi access and flexible study spaces and environments throughout the building. The Learning Commons is open to students and staff of the University and is open 24/7 during term time.

Additional support for your studies is available through My Learning Essentials.

Royal Literary Fellows (Writing Support)

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has two ‘Writing Fellows’: Sarah Jasmon and Frances Byrne, who are funded by The Royal Literary Fund.

The Writing Fellows provide students with free and confidential one-to-one advice on effective writing, including writing essays, lab reports, literature reviews or other coursework. Students can sign up for a one-to-one tutorial (up to 50 minutes) to help you:

  • plan your study time
  • focus your reading for essay, dissertation or thesis writing
  • express your ideas more clearly
  • answer grammar and punctuation questions
  • discover reading to improve your writing and editing skills
  • increase your writing skills with the aim of improving your grades
  • improve any academic writing – essays, reports, dissertations, etc.


Students can make an appointment during term-time with one of the Fellows by emailing them directly. Their availability and contact details are listed below:

Writing Fellow Availability Contact details
Sarah Jasmon Monday & Tuesdays
Frances Byrne Wednesday & Thursdays


Online Skills Training Resource

The Faculty has developed a skills training resource to support you through your postgraduate taught programme. This online material should supplement the assessed learning material and activities undertaken in your taught programme.

Accessing the online skills resource
You can access Blackboard through the My Manchester portal ( The skills training resource is available in an academic community space available to all registered PGT students in the Faculty through Blackboard.

If you cannot see these units in your Blackboard please contact your Programme Administrator.

Full details of all these resources can be found in the introduction to each unit. These resources have been designed to give you formative feedback on your progress through them. If you experience any problems and would like to talk to someone please contact your Programme Director. If you have questions about referencing and how it applies to your own work, please contact your Programme Director or dissertation supervisor/module lead.

Research Methods* This course is spilt into 2 units that cover introductions to study design and dissertation skills. It has a number of online quizzes where you can test your knowledge.
Introduction to Statistics* The course provides a valuable foundation for understanding and interpreting biostatistics. It aims to provide you with the fundamentals of quantitative analysis.
Presentation Skills This short interactive unit is designed to help you to enhance your presentation skills. Regardless of whether you are presenting in public, preparing for conferences, an oral examination or more informal settings this unit will give you the tops tips to improve your delivery. The course also includes a unit on influencing effectively, alongside the presentation and poster information.
Qualitative Research Methods* This unit has been designed to give you an introduction to Qualitative Research.

 * NOTE: the material in this online resource is for reference and formative learning purposes only. In some of your taught programme you may be required to undertake assessed course units for Research Methods, Qualitative Research or Statistics. If your programme involves taught units then you should refer to the Blackboard material relating to that course unit. Please contact your Programme Administrator if you are unsure which material relates to your assessed work. You will still be able to refer to the online skills resource in later years.


University Proofreading Statement

If a student chooses to approach another person to proofread their written work or seeks to use the services of a proofreading service or agency, they must take account of the following principles:

  • it is the responsibility of students to ensure that all work submitted is their own, and that it represents their own abilities and understanding. Any proofreading of work that is undertaken by a third party must not compromise the student’s own authorship of the work;
  • proofreading undertaken by a third party must not take the form of editing of text, such as the adding or rewriting of phrases or passages within a piece of student’s work;
  • proofreading undertaken by a third party must not change the content or meaning of the work in any way