Clinical Embryology MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
October 2024
Delivery type
Blended learning
Duration
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) in a biological or related science.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component
UK fees
£20,500 (Total)
International fees
£20,500 (Total)

Course overview

The university of leeds distance learning clinical embryology course has a reputation for training students to advanced their clinical embryology careers to senior roles within the sector.

There have been some changes to the programme structure. Course Search was revised on 2 February 2024 to reflect these changes.

The MSc in Clinical Embryology is a 24-month part-time distance-learning programme.

Embarking on the MSc in Clinical Embryology at the University of Leeds is the start of an exciting and rewarding journey. The programme commences with an introductory workshop in Leeds at the beginning of the first year allowing students to establish connections with their tutors, academic and support staff as well as their fellow students. These workshops serve to provide a comprehensive induction to the University's systems and facilities, and offers additional guidance sessions that will be integral to your success as a distance-learning student of the University of Leeds.

After the workshop, the programme's academic content is delivered online through the University’s virtual learning environment, MINERVA. To aid your independent study we provide you with access to our library of recorded lectures and electronic journals, as well as online module material and textbooks in our digital learning environment.

The majority of the programme operates asynchronously, offering significant flexibility for those balancing work commitments. A small number of synchronous online sessions are also scheduled throughout the course.

These are arranged at convenient times for students in diverse time zones. They will include drop-in sessions, tutorials, assessments, and presentations.

As this is a distance-learning programme, it does not offer practical training in clinical embryology, but it does provide the theoretical knowledge behind the techniques.

The course is structured in a series of sequential compulsory modules, each of which is released according to a specific timetable. This allows for a systematic progression through the course material. Through these modules you’ll develop your knowledge of both the theory and practice of clinical embryology.

Year 1

Initially, the programme aims to consolidate and develop an in-depth understanding of core reproductive sciences that underpin human reproduction, fertility, andrology and embryology. Next, the programme will explore the routine laboratory practices of clinical andrology and embryology, as well as the design, management and efficient running of an ART laboratory.

Year 2

Next, the programme progressively covers more specialised topics including micromanipulation techniques such as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT). You will also explore the latest advancements in cryobiology and its applications to gamete and embryo freezing and fertility preservation. Alongside this, you will gain valuable insights into the ethical and legal frameworks and controversies surrounding assisted reproduction in humans.

The final module in the MSc programme is the research project proposal. Here you will undertake a theoretical research proposal in an area of your choosing. This project proposal focuses on a novel area of hypothesis-driven investigation within the area of clinical embryology, allowing you to display your mastery of the subject and highlighting your expertise. You’ll write a persuasive research proposal in a subject area relevant to clinical embryology. The subject is chosen by you and will focus on an original area of investigation. We know from previous course graduates that the research project proposal provides a superb springboard to advance your research career, demonstrating your value to employing institutions.

This research module aims to give you useful experience of hypothesis-driven research, including:

  • critical evaluation of published literature in the chosen field of study
  • collation and justification of the project itself
  • research methodology and resources needed
  • statistical methods
  • report writing and scientific presentation

On completion of the MSc programme, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Detailed specialist knowledge and breadth of knowledge of Clinical Embryology, andrology, assisted reproduction technologies, reproductive sciences and appropriate application of this knowledge.
  • Mastery in the understanding and critical evaluation of the academic literature and opinion in clinical embryology and allied areas of reproductive science, drawing on a range of perspectives and making reasoned judgements based on available information.
  • Critical evaluation of current clinical practice and techniques, methods and approaches used for patient treatment in Clinical Embryology. This includes the development of good practice and quality assurance procedures and developing understanding of scientific and procedural insights relevant to day-to-day practice in the laboratory.
  • Awareness of the key ethical issues and regulatory frameworks that are relevant to the discipline and how to work appropriately with regard to these requirements.
  • Global and cultural insights to acknowledge and appreciate diversity and international differences that are related to the field of clinical embryology and to engage with social, political, economic, legal, environmental, and technological perspectives.
  • The ability to identify novel areas of research, to construct hypotheses and devise research plans and proposals to test and evaluate these ideas and communicate scientific information, plans and ideas confidently.

A programme designed for the working professional

The Leeds Clinical Embryology programme is designed to allow the working professional to study while remaining in full-time employment. The course is part-time, and the schedule is designed to be manageable for working individuals.

Staff expertise and support

Our academic staff have many years of professional and research experience in the field of clinical embryology and reproduction. Their diverse specialisations, ranging from reproductive biology to assisted reproduction technologies, underpin the uniqueness of the course at Leeds. Their insights and guidance will significantly enrich your learning experience. The programme is supported by staff members who have many years of experience in assisting distance-learning students.

International community

An integral highlight of our programme is the international network it offers. Our students connect with practitioners and fellow learners worldwide, fostering an enriching exchange of ideas and perspectives and allowing mutual sharing of expertise. This global network can be instrumental in shaping your career path and broadening your understanding of international practices in clinical embryology.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

The programme is hosted by the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine within the School of Medicine, which fosters a rich, interdisciplinary teaching and research environment.

Groundbreaking research

Our faculty members are involved in world-leading research in fundamental and clinical research in areas related to gametes and preimplantation embryos, epigenetics, in vitro growth and maturation of oocytes, fertility preservation, uterine biology, and placental biology, among other areas. This pioneering academic environment will help position you at the forefront of advancements in the field of reproductive science.

Facilities

Support for distance learning students

Our students are given University IT accounts and access to our advanced Virtual Learning Environment (MINERVA). This digital platform, designed to foster dynamic learning and communication within the programme, serves as an essential tool throughout your academic journey. Through Minerva, students access the programme modules and the associated online content. Students are also in contact with academic staff, tutors and support staff via email and online sessions.

Comprehensive access to library resources

As a student on this programme, you gain complete access to the extensive resources of the University of Leeds library. This includes a wide range of relevant journals in clinical embryology and human assisted reproduction, reproductive science and biology, in addition to other relevant areas of biomedical science. From research papers and reviews to e-books, these resources are accessible remotely (electronically), offering you the utmost flexibility in furthering your learning.

Student Support Services

A comprehensive range of support services is offered by the University to help your journey as a student.

Course details

Building on your existing knowledge and experience, the course offers advanced learning and establishes good practice in clinical embryology and the field of assisted reproductive technologies.

Through a series of compulsory modules, you’ll develop your knowledge of both the theory and practice of clinical embryology. You’ll develop scientific and procedural insights that you can take straight into your day-to-day practice in the laboratory.

For your research project proposal (Module 6), you’ll write a persuasive research proposal in a subject area relevant to clinical embryology. The subject is chosen by you and will focus on an original area of investigation. We know from previous course graduates that the research project proposal provides a superb springboard to advance your career, demonstrating your value to employing institutions.

This research module aims to give you useful experience of hypothesis-driven research, including:

  • critical evaluation of published literature in the chosen field of study

  • collation and justification of the project itself

  • research methodology and resources needed

  • statistical methods

  • report writing and scientific presentation

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

The MSc programme will comprise the following six compulsory modules as below.

Year 1

Fundamentals of Clinical Embryology (45 Credits) - This module builds a firm foundation in reproductive biology and the science of human reproduction that is fundamental to clinical embryology and assisted conception. The module covers the physiology, cellular and molecular biology and genetics of the processes of gametogenesis, fertilisation, embryo preimplantation development, implantation and pregnancy.

Additionally, the module covers reproductive endocrinology and discusses the causes and treatments of male and female subfertility and associated reproductive pathologies.

IVF and Embryo Culture (35 Credits) - This module will provide the student with a wide-ranging overview of the topics which are fundamental to embryology. The intention will be to build on students' knowledge to provide an extensive and detailed comprehension of the running of an IVF laboratory and service.

Year 2

Micromanipulation (15 Credits) - This module focuses on the practices and genetic and epigenetic concepts of micromanipulation techniques, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT). It provides students with the theoretical knowledge of the principles underpinning these intricate procedures, which are instrumental in treating many forms of infertility.

Cryobiology and Cryopreservation (15 Credits) - This module provides a comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of cryobiology and cryopreservation as applied to gametes, embryos and gonadal tissues. Students will explore the science behind these techniques and their use during assisted conception and for fertility preservation in patients at risk of fertility loss as a result of exposure to gonadotoxic treatments from genetic causes.

Ethics and Law for Embryologists (10 Credits) - This module will explore the issues surrounding assisted conception in terms of the law and ethics of the technologies available. The importance of the HFEA and the HFE Act (1990) will be emphasised as will the implications of the Code of Practice for embryologists. Patient issues will be explored such as confidentiality, patient contact, counselling and informed consent. Ethical, cultural and religious aspects and reactions to infertility treatments will also be discussed.

Research Project Proposal in Clinical Embryology (60 credits) - In this module students will create a theoretical, hypothesis-driven research dissertation that addresses a key research question in reproductive science, clinical embryology, andrology or assisted reproduction technologies (ART) in the form of a research project proposal. Students will apply their accumulated theoretical knowledge and skills from prior modules to develop a novel, cutting-edge research proposal of their own choosing.

Students will conduct an extensive literature review and design an experimental plan in theory to address their research hypothesis and will analyse potential outcomes of the research. This module highlights the student’s mastery in clinical embryology, and their in-depth understanding in an area they are passionate about.

The module showcases the student’s knowledge of research relevant to the field, their skills in critical analysis, and their ability to evaluate, interpret and communicate scientific data. Projects will be mentored by a project tutor who will help students with their research project proposal.

Learning and teaching

We ensure that students, regardless of their geographic location, are fully integrated into the academic fabric of the University of Leeds and feel connected with their fellow students. Our approach to teaching and learning is designed to be fully inclusive and geared towards fostering a strong sense of community and belonging among our students.

The programme commences with an introductory workshop in Leeds at the start of the first year, allowing students to establish connections with their tutors, academic and support staff as well as their fellow students.

After the workshop, the programme's academic content is delivered online through the University’s virtual learning environment, MINERVA, using a blend of asynchronous self-directed learning and synchronous online sessions. To aid your independent study we provide you with access to our library of recorded lectures and electronic journals, as well as online module material and textbooks in our digital learning environment.

We encourage active learning through interactions, group discussions and team working opportunities, as well as problem-based learning sessions and case studies. This approach will enhance your existing knowledge and equip you with the skills needed to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.

Our students benefit from a diverse teaching team comprising experienced academics ranging from lecturers to professors, industry professionals, and trained postgraduate researchers. This mix of educators ensures exposure to an array of perspectives, and connections to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Our cohorts tend to mostly comprise international students, providing an enriching multicultural learning environment. Group work and collaborative learning opportunities are designed to capitalise on this diversity, enhancing students' learning experience and fostering global connections and collaboration.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Assessment

A range of assessments are used on the programme such as essays, presentations, team and individual projects, individual presentations, Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) and multiple-choice questions. The assessments used require students to critically evaluate topics, and to form and express evidence-based opinions across a range of subjects.

The variety of assessments used are fair and inclusive, and will test different aspects of your ability to draw from both your existing practical experience and your academic knowledge. This will help you to develop and demonstrate your transferable skills and build confidence in your ability to communicate on defined subject areas.

The range of assessment types used helps students develop skills relevant to their career and develop skills in critical evaluation, assessing evidence, formulating informed opinion and performing presentations. Through this multi-faceted approach to learning, teaching and assessment we aim to develop broad understanding in the field of clinical embryology, reproductive science, embryology, andrology and assisted reproduction technology, while fostering an inclusive and active learning environment.

We believe this approach will not only equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge for enhancing your career prospects and mobility in this sector, but also instil a sense of belonging and community among our students.

For students undertaking the MSc, the preparation of an original, research project proposal will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on the knowledge and skills you have acquired across the programme. This module will help you to delve deeper into a chosen area of reproductive science, embryology or assisted reproduction in order to assess your understanding of research methods and experimental technique in your chosen topic of study.

Applying

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) in a biological or related science or equivalent qualification.

We will also consider applicants with appropriate or accredited experience within an embryological laboratory.

You should be employed in a laboratory practising clinical embryology and with an employer who supports you in allowing time for study.

You must also have access to email and the internet.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Applications are considered on the basis of the applicant’s qualifications and experience. Applications may close before the deadline date if numbers accepted reach capacity.

The deadline to submit an application is 30 June 2024.

It may be possible to submit an application after this date. Please contact the admissions team to discuss this further

You will need a reference indicating managerial consent in support of your application including indication that you are employed in a laboratory practising clinical embryology and that you have the appropriate time for study. The reference should be provided on a headed document with either a stamp from the institution or an electronic signature.

You will be asked to submit a minimum of one paragraph outlining your reasons for wishing to undertake the course, and details of relevant experience. You should demonstrate through the supporting statement how the course will be of direct benefit to your personal and professional development.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

School of Medicine Taught Postgraduate Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Medicine

Contact us

School of Medicine Postgraduate Admissions

Email: pgmed-admissions@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Fees

UK: £20,500 (Total)

International: £20,500 (Total)

You must pay your fees at the beginning of each year. For sponsored students, the fee is split into two equal payments made at the beginning of each academic year in September. If you are paying your fees personally, you can pay in four equal instalments, if you prefer. This means you would divide the normal two payments in half again so that one quarter of the total fee is paid in September and one quarter in February of the first year, then one quarter in September and in February of the second year. No other instalment arrangements are possible.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

The fees above are for the whole course including all academic costs associated with the two workshops and attendance at a workshop dinner at these workshops.

The fees do not include travel costs to attend the workshops, nor the six nights’ residential accommodation that is required to attend each of the workshops (we can send you information about local hotels on request).

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

There are no scholarships available specifically for this course.

Career opportunities

The MSc Clinical Embryology programme is committed to providing a transformative educational experience that prepares you for successful career progression. This internationally recognised qualification provides enhanced academic and professional development opportunities for practitioners of clinical embryology.

You'll gain a breadth of knowledge that will give you confidence in your subject and skills that can be transferred to the workplace. You'll also get the opportunity to network with an international group of ART practitioners, which is important for exchanging ideas on clinical practice and for career networking.

The course intake comprises embryologists, clinicians, reproductive technicians and reproductive scientists who are typically in full-time employment when starting the programme. Enhancing mobility and success in the workplace are ingrained in the course. We aim to uphold the academic excellence and integrity that has made the University of Leeds' clinical embryology postgraduate programmes so highly respected in the field.

The enhancement of academic understanding of clinical embryology gained through the course provides improved prospects for promotion in the workplace or mobility to other positions. This has allowed many former students to move on to more senior positions, including several laboratory directors. Some former students are now directing policy in the field of Clinical Embryology. Other students have gone on to open their own Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) clinics.

Research Activity

Many former students have become research active, presenting works at conferences and adding an additional dimension to their existing careers. Other students are active council or committee members of scientific and clinical societies in reproductive science.

Further Study

The programme has also been used as a springboard for further study. A number of students have gone on to do post graduate research degrees (such as a PhD), which are increasingly important in the field.

Alumni profile: Rafiqal Bhuiyan

I am Dr Rafiq from Bangladesh. I am a medical graduate and I completed an MSc in Clinical Embryology (Distance Learning) at the University of Leeds.
Find out more about Rafiqal Bhuiyan's time at Leeds