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

MSc Human Clinical Embryology & Assisted Conception

  • Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Study Abroad: No
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • UCAS: P052111
TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Are you interested in IVF, and the science of 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).

MSc Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception is an established taught Masters course which provides a robust and wide ranging education in human clinical embryology and ART, while helping you to develop high level laboratory skills in various aspects of reproductive medicine.

The emphasis of the course is on humans, and offers practical experience in handling and preparing sperm.

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

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

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 Special 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

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

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical lab classes
  • Group work
  • Self-directed learning

The course consists of seven taught modules and a research project. There are a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, discussion and journal clubs as well as self-directed study. Through our Guest Lecture Series, you will also receive expert seminars from world leaders in the field. The research project will be carried out in either the research laboratory or 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 Kay, Dr Sarah Martins Da Silva, Dr Steven Gellatly, Dr Therish Moodley, and honorary staff member Dr David Mortimer.

Beginning with an intense clinical orientation, this course helped to mature my scientific mind-set, and prepared me to perceive, think, and act like an Embryologist. These skills were further sharpened by the experiences shared by each of the distinguished external speakers.

If you give your 100%, then Human Clinical Embryology & Assisted Conception will do the rest for you – just like it helped me get a co-publication in human reproduction along with my degree.


Navin Desai
2015 Graduate and Senior Clinical Embryologist, Fertility Associates, Auckland, NZ

How you will be assessed

  • Practical and written examinations
  • Coursework
  • Written essays
  • Lab reports
  • Case study presentation
  • Thesis
  • Journal clubs

What you will study

The Masters is taught over three semesters with seven modules. These core modules provide a comprehensive education in the fundamentals of embryology and ART. Masters students need to attain 180 credits over these seven modules:

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

In this module you will learn the terminology and concepts of basic statistics – such as central tendency, variability, normal distribution, frequency and probability. This will enable you to apply and interpret the results of descriptive and inferential statistics.

Number of credits: 30

This module will provide you with postgraduate level knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts and issues involved in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) - at both a scientific and clinical level. You will be introduced to endocrinology and human genetics, and their application to reproductive medicine.

Number of credits: 15

This module will enable you to become proficient in the application of basic laboratory practices to andrology and clinical embryology, with an emphasis on independent thought, and a research-orientated approach to the practice of assisted conception.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 25

This module will cover the major clinical and laboratory issues involved in running a successful ART centre. You will be taught by embryologists regarding various aspects of laboratory management, including process and equipment validation, procurement of sperm and oocytes, and laboratory accreditation.

Number of credits: 20

This module will enable you to gain the knowledge and understanding of complex clinical concepts and controversial issues involved in ART, including how many embryos to transplant, long term risks of treatment, social egg freezing, biomarkers and reproductive tourism. You will be allocated a patient to follow through a treatment cycle and consider all the different aspects of their care.

Number of credits: 15

In this module, you will advance your laboratory skills through practical sessions, such as by inseminating oocytes, and culturing and grading embryos. To maximise your learning experience you will perform each practical in a group of 3 or 4 students.

Semester 3

Number of credits: 60

This module marks an important stage of your degree, and gives you a valuable opportunity to show that you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to organise and conduct an independent research project. Your chosen project will be undertaken with the supervision of experienced and well established researchers within the University.

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 in 7 couples have fertility issues, with IVF accounting for approximately 2% of all births in the UK, and up to 6% in some EU countries.

Following successful completion of the MSc, students could apply for a training position in ART for example in embryology and/or andrology. Alternatively, the course would provide 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.

Tarah Waters

Since graduating from the MSc course in 2016, I have been working as a trainee embryologist and research assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

I was particularly well supported by the staff in my aspirations to work abroad and even as an alumni I have received valuable guidance which I am very thankful for. The programme was such a diverse learning experience - we were able to study the scientific background of assisted reproductive techniques and how this translates into routine clinical practice, along with new technological advancements and their ethical implications.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dundee and would recommend the course to those interested in pursuing a career in such an exciting and fast-developing field.

United Kingdom

Tarah Waters

Morven Dean

The course allowed me to develop a real in-depth understanding of fertility and assisted conception both clinically and academically.

Delivered in a unique way with exposure to the closely connected assisted conception unit in Dundee, I received relevant experience in an assisted conception setting whilst expanding my understanding of treatments available. A series of guest speakers, continuous discussions and theory based learning, as well as practical experience in research methods has left me up to date with current and future developments in this exciting field.

The course has prepared me well for progressing into the next steps of my career and I would highly recommend it.

United Kingdom

Morven Dean

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 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £18,000 per year of study
Rest of UK students £18,000 per year of study
International students (non-EU) £27,100 per year of study
Fee statusFees for students starting 2020-21
Scottish and EU students £18,900
Rest of UK students £18,900
International students (non-EU) £28,455
See our scholarships for International applicants

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students will increase by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge. You can find out more information about making your application when you click Apply Now below

  Degree Course Code
Apply nowHuman Clinical Embryology & Assisted Conception MScP052111

Course Contact

Professor Christopher Barratt
+44 (0)1382 383398