• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Medicine
  • Study Mode: Full Time

A taught MSc in Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception within the context of a large NHS IVF centre.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception at Dundee

A key benefit of the programme is that it offers a unique opportunity for students to gain substantial exposure to an NHS IVF clinic (NHS Tayside).

Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception at Dundee

The MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception is an established taught masters course 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. Students will benefit from a scientifically rigorous programme with teaching drawn from experienced embryologists, scientists and clinicians.


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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.

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

There is a clinical component to this course. This semester we are closely linked to the Assisted Conception Unit at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, and have regular opportunities to shadow the laboratory and clinical staff, as well as following patients through their treatments. These experiences have been particularly valuable as they give us a real insight into the running of the clinic and expectations of patients.

The Guest Speaker Lecture Series has been an especially interesting addition to the course and has given us an opportunity to meet and discuss current research with experts in the field. We have been given talks and workshops by some of the world's leading reproductive scientists and clinicians such as Dr Lars Bjorndahl, Dr Linda Lefievre and professor Bhattacharya as well as product manufacturers such as Eppendorf and Vitrolife.


Odai Alqawasmeh
current student, Human Clinical Embryology & Assisted Conception

Who should study this course?

The course is ideal for those who might want a career in ART for example 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 would also benefit from the programme.

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

John & Kirsty share their IVF treatment story. This is why we teach Human Clinical Embryology at the University of Dundee.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

The programme is led by Professor Christopher Barratt who is Head of the Reproductive Medicine Group at the University of Dundee as well as a clinical scientist with NHS Tayside. Academic staff also include Dr Vanessa KayDr Sarah Martins Da Silva and Dr Steven Gellatly. 

How you will be assessed

  • Module 1 - Essay (1x; 25%), Multiple Choice Questions (50%) and Short Answer Questions (25%)
  • Module 2a and 2b - Laboratory Skills - Practical exam at the end of each semester (25% each) and a lab report each semester (25% each).
  • Module 3 - Examination (100%)
  • Module 4 - Business plan (50%) and Equipment Validation report (50%)
  • Module 5 - Essay 50% and Case Study Presentation (50%)
  • Module 6 - Poster (15%), Journal Club Assessment (5%) and written thesis (80%)

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)

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 (www.hfea.gov.uk).

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.

I was one of the first students to graduate with an MSc in Human Reproduction from Dundee University, and am now four years into a successful Embryology career. The course provided me with a solid understanding of fertility and assisted conception – both in theory and in practice – and the ability to effectively design, execute and troubleshoot research projects independently. The department’s interactive environment promoted exciting debate and discussion, and the guidance and support I received from both university and clinical staff was second to none. This is a fascinating field to study under any circumstances, but you will have an extra special time at Dundee Medical School.

Erica Foster

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).

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2018-19
Scottish and EU students £17,600 per year of study
Rest of UK students £17,600 per year of study
Overseas students (non-EU) £26,400 per year of study

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.

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the How to Apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course Code
Apply NowHuman Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception MScP052111

Course Contact

Professor Christopher Barratt
+44 (0)1382 383398