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Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception


Infertility is a common problem with approximately 1 in 7 couples of reproductive age being diagnosed as infertile - equating to 72.5 million people globally - and there is an increasing demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART). This course will provide a robust and wide ranging education in human clinical embryology and ART.

Professor Barratt, Programme Director of the new programme MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception has been confirmed as one of the lecturers at the forthcoming Campus Workshop "From gametes to blastocysts – a continuous dialogue" to be held in Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 7-8th November 2014. This programme is organised by the ESHRE Special Interest Group Embryology.

Why study Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception at Dundee?

The MSc in Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception is a new taught masters programme which has been designed to provide a robust and wide ranging education in human clinical embryology and ART (assisted reproductive technology). Students will gain a systematic understanding of clinical embryology and ART whilst developing high level laboratory skills in various aspects of clinical embryology, andrology and ART.

The emphasis of the course is on humans and clinical ART/embryology and offers practical experience in handling and preparing HUMAN gametes.

The University of Dundee has excellent clinical links and a close working relationship with the NHS and students will benefit from a scientifically rigorous programme with teaching drawn from experienced embryologists, scientists and clinicians.

A key benefit of the programme is that it offers a unique opportunity to gain substantial exposure to an NHS IVF clinic (NHS Tayside). This will allow students to observe the practice and management of a working IVF clinic and benefit from teaching by staff involved in ART, and will be of considerable benefit for those wanting a clinical based career. The NHS Tayside IVF clinic has recently benefitted from a substantial investment in its facilities which has created a high quality clinical environment.

The blend of scientific, practical skills and the integration with an NHS facility giving students first hand experience and exposure to the workings of an NHS IVF clinic will provide students with an excellent base to enter a career in ART either in a clinical or research setting.

In addition to the academic programme, students will undertake two courses run by the Association of Biomedical Andrologists in the course of their MSc: this will provide students with an internationally recognised professional qualification. The cost of registering for these will be included in the MSc fee.

Who should study this course?

The course is ideal for those who might want a career in ART e.g. in embryology and/or andrology. Alternatively the MSc would be an ideal preparation for undertaking a PhD or applying for a research position. Clinically qualified graduates wishing to specialise in reproductive medicine and would also benefit from the programme.

Related courses

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff based in the School of Medicine.

The MSc is taught on a full-time basis, over a year period (September to August).

How you will be taught

The MSc is full time programme (September to August) and will consist of 5 taught modules and a research project. The course consists of a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, discussion and journal clubs as well as self-directed study. The research project will be carried out under either in the research laboratory or in the IVF clinic.

What you will study

The course is divided into 6 modules:

  • Module 1: Fundamental science   (Semester1)
  • Module 2 Advanced Applied laboratory skills in ART (Semester 1 and 2)
  • Module 3: Statistics (Semester 1)
  • Module 4: Running a successful ART laboratory and clinical service (Semester 2).
  • Module 5: Clinical Issues and Controversies in ART (Semester 2)
  • Module 6: Research Project (Semester 3)

How you will be assessed

Taught module 1 (Fundamental Science) will be assessed by essay (x2) and an examination.

Module 2 (Advanced Lab Skills) is assessed by a practical examination and written reports (50% each).

Module 3 (Statistics) is assessed by 60% examination, 40% coursework.

Module 4 (Running a successful ART laboratory and clinical service) is assessed by essays (x2) and presentations (x2) (50% each).

Module 5 (Clinical issues and Controversies in ART) is assessed by an essay (85%) and presentations (15%)

Module 6 (research project) will be assessed through literature review (consists of 8% of the research project component) and the presentation of a thesis (which will constitute 92% of the research project component of the program).


Due to the increased demand for infertility treatment there has been a substantial growth in the demand for high quality laboratory and clinical staff in this area.

Approximately 1:7 couples are infertile and IVF is the predominant treatment for infertility contributing ~2% of the births in the UK and up to 5% in some EU countries. IVF is a rapidly growing field and as an example of this the number of cycles treated in the UK has increased by almost 30% in the last 4 years (

Following successful completion of the MSc students could apply for a training position in ART e.g. in embryology and/or andrology. Alternatively the MSc would be an ideal preparation for undertaking a PhD or applying for a research position. Clinically qualified graduates would gain valuable skills to enable them to specialise in reproductive medicine and assume responsibility within an ART clinic.

Entry Requirements

1st or upper second class hours degree (lower class honours degrees will be considered under exceptional circumstances ) in the field of biological, biochemical or biomedical sciences. Doctors will also be accepted with an MBChB (or equivalent).

English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5, with minimum of 6.0 in any component (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Home/EU Overseas
2014-15 £15,000 £20,000

Sources of Funding

The School of Medicine is not currently offering any school scholarships.

Other sources of funding for postgraduate students can be found on our Scholarships webpage.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

How to Apply

Apply online via UKPASS

You must read the information regarding how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Due to the practical nature of the course places are strictly limited. Once a candidate has completed and submitted an application, these are assessed by the course review team. Where appropriate, interviews will then take place and subject to satisfactory progress, offers of places will be made. Formal offers will not normally be made before end of March 2014.

Programme Director

Professor Christopher Barratt
Centre for Oncology & Molecular Medicine
Division of Medical Sciences
College of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Ninewells Hospital & Medical School

Telephone: 01382 383398 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 383398 (from outside the UK)


Postgraduate Admissions

Admissions and Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 384 384 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384 384 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 385 500 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 385 500 (from outside the UK)