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MSc Molecular Medicine

Why we're great

  • Use our state-of-the-art facilities to explore topics such as computational biology and functional genomics
  • Network with the technology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as other employers
  • Undertake practical and bioinformatic work that provides valuable experience for your career

Course options2017-18

Duration: 1 year
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Biological Sciences (School of)
Fee (Home/EU): £6,125
Fee (International): £15,950
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Molecular medicine is transforming the way we understand and treat human diseases, from cancers to neurodegenerative disorders. Combining contemporary medical studies with biochemistry and molecular biology, this rapidly advancing area creates a bridge between the subjects, and draws on other fields such as physics, chemistry, biology and medicine.

This course examines how normal cellular processes are affected by disease. You gain an understanding of the core foundations of molecular medicine, studying the topics most relevant to the real world, and how this science may be used in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

You learn about and appraise the approaches that can be used to address global health problems, including cancer as well as genetic and infectious diseases. The foundations that support investigations of molecular disease mechanisms and the search for new diagnostic tools and treatments will be laid, as you explore topics including:

  • Gene and protein technology.
  • Synthetic biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Genomics

This course has a very high proportion of practical and bioinformatic work that provides valuable experience for your career. This includes our optional module Creating and Growing a New Business Venture, which challenges you to think creatively and increases your value to organisations, including small enterprises, which are a growing part of the biopharmaceutical sector.

Your research project is a major component of your course, in which you perform novel laboratory and/or bioinformatic research in one of our academic laboratories or (subject to approval) carry out research in an industrial or hospital setting.

Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.

“The Department of Biological Sciences were brilliantly informative, supportive and organised. I was able to spend a lot of time in the laboratory, both during practical classes and whilst on placement at Cancer Research UK. As a direct result of this placement I was able to secure my current position as a Research Assistant at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.”

Marisa Di Monaco, MSc Molecular Medicine 2015

Our expert staff

As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. You benefit from our academics’ wide range of expertise and research on important national and international problems using cutting-edge techniques.

The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Recent investment has provided modern facilities for functional genomics, computational biology and imaging biological systems. On our course you have the opportunity to:

  • Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
  • Conduct your research alongside academics and PhD students in shared labs
  • Learn to use state-of-the-art research facilities, from protein purification, to cell culture and imaging, to molecular modelling

Your future

Contribute to a growing industry and gain the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in biomedical research and industry, or continue your studies further in postgraduate science and medical degrees.

Advances in molecular medicine will continue to drive growth of new services and products in health care, biomedical and pharmaceutical organisations and companies, and our graduates are well placed to take advantage of employment opportunities in the life science, biotech and pharmaceutical industries and hospitals.

Many of our Masters students progress to study for their PhD, and we offer numerous studentships to support our students in their studies.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

Your Research Project is the most substantial piece of work you will complete as part of your degree. A chance to focus on one chosen topic in depth, you develop skills in experimental design, problem solving and the analysis and interpretation of data. You are also expected to effectively articulate your ideas and findings, enhancing vital skills in presentation and communication.

Explore the features and properties of proteins, and examine how they are related to function, as well as their wider role within important biological processes. Getting hands-on, you produce, isolate, purify and characterise proteins with biotechnological potential, as well gaining valuable experience in obtaining and analysing proteomic data.

The development of techniques to manipulate and analyse nucleic acids has revolutionised the study of biology, and provided the key driver for massive expansion in biotechnology. You explore the major tools used in gene technology and gain a practical understanding of how they are used, as well as the molecular techniques that can be used to explore biological questions. Gain an understanding of the impact of gene technology and synthetic biology and explore the applications of genome scale methods for studying gene expression in biotechnology and molecular medicine.

Get industry-ready. You are encouraged to think critically about the wider implications of molecular medicine, and gain an understanding of some of the key factors to be considered when translating a biological idea into a marketable technology. You explore some of the most relevant and contentious topics in Molecular Medicine, and develop a range of of transferable professional and research skills. Both of these activities are designed to effectively equip you for a successful career in Molecular Medicine.

The sequencing of the human genome is one of the biggest achievements of this century. Nowadays, genomics is leading to major advances in biotechnology and molecular medicine, such as enhanced diagnostic tools, better vaccines, improved treatments for disease, and better detection of pollutants. In this module, you gain an understanding of current genomics approaches, including genome sequencing and comparative genomics. You also learn how to study your own genomic data, using state-of-the-art computational resources.

The study of human genetics is one of the fastest moving areas of scientific research today. Get to know some important emerging themes from the human genome sequence into the emerging fields of epigenetics and non-coding RNAs. You examine variations in genome sequence and structure in human populations, and consider the evidence for selection in human populations. Consider the evolution of the X chromosome and its regulation by the process of X-inactivation. You also investigate the significance of imprinting and epigenetics in human disease.

The aim of this module is to provide you with current knowledge and understanding of cancer. We will discuss general aspects of cancer biology (cancer statistics and risk factors, origins and multistage nature of cancer, metastasis and angiogenesis). The identification and isolation of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and the mechanism of action of their products will be analysed. We will explore cancer molecular biology and signalling pathways in cancer. We will discuss cell cycle and apoptosis and their role in the maintenance of normal cell populations and in the emergence of cancer. The principles of some of the current approaches in cancer therapy will be discussed.

Acquire critical and transferable skills associated with the creation and growth of new business ventures. You focus on the development process from start up to early stage growth of new ventures, new small businesses spin offs from large firms, and especially innovative, technology-based firms. You study opportunity identification, self-efficacy, ideas generation, bricolage and bootstrapping, developing business models, networking, marketing, and finance.

The module describes the fundamental principles of cell signalling and communication in the context of development, health, biological stress, and disease. You explore the biochemistry of signal transduction, control, integration, and signal processing as implemented by biological systems, and consider the newly developed tools of post-genomic biology.

Teaching

  • We teach using a combination of lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, independent reading and research projects
  • Teaching is based in our laboratories and in the field

Assessment

  • Our modules are assessed by a combination of exams, essays, verbal/visual presentations and written reviews

Dissertation

  • Each student is assigned a supervisor to provide guidance on their research project
  • Carry out novel laboratory and/or bioinformatic research in one of our academic laboratories or (subject to approval) in an industrial or hospital setting
  • During the latter stages of your project, you compile a detailed report (in scientific paper format) including a literature review

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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