Professor Peter Barnes talks about allergy research at Imperial College

Having successfully completed the PG Cert you have the opportunity to continue your postgraduate studies in allergy by studying for the MSc.

The MSc in Allergy consists of eight modules:


Year 1 - three core modules which comprise the PG Cert:

  • Scientific basis of allergy 
  • Diagnosis and treatment of allergy 
  • The cutting edge of allergy

Year 2 - a choice of four out of six taught modules:

  • Food allergy
  • Allergic gastrointestinal disease
  • Allergic rhinitis and hayfever
  • Allergic airways disease and asthma
  • Allergic skin disease
  • Paediatric allergy

Year 2 or 3:

  • A research project leading to dissertation

Modules, Dissertation, Competencies

Modules for MSc

Each of these optional modules includes three days of face-to-face teaching (two days of lectures, tutorials and workshops and one optional day of clinic attendance) followed by four weeks of structured e-learning tasks which are all available on the web for distance learning.


Food allergy - 13 and 14 November 2017

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will cover both food hypersensitivities and intolerances and will develop the skills to discriminate the physiological differences between them. It will promote knowledge and practical skills in the dietary and nutritional management of hypersensitivity and intolerance reactions to foods and investigate potential new strategies indicated by research programmes for their treatment and possible prevention. Assignment submission date: 11 December 2017


Allergic gastrointestinal diseases - 15 and 16 November 2017

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will cover normal structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract and how this altered by allergic disease. It will develop knowledge of the immunological and physiological mechanisms of a range of allergic gastrointestinal diseases, including both IgE and non-IgE mediated hypersensitivities and promote competence in their recognition and current management as well as investigate potential future strategies indicated by current research. Assignment submission date: 8 January 2018


Allergic rhinitis and hayfever - 19 and 20 February 2018

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will cover normal nasal physiology and anatomy and how this is altered by allergic disease. It will develop knowledge of the immunological and physiological mechanisms of nasal disease and promote competence and practical skills in its diagnosis and assessment as well as informing the selection of treatment regimens. Current research themes with a potential impact on diagnosis and treatment will be explored. Assignment submission date: 26 March 2018


Allergic airways disease and asthma 21 and 22 February 2018

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will cover the normal structure and function of the lung and how this is altered by allergic disease. It will develop knowledge of the immunological and physiological mechanisms of airway disease and provide experience in the skills and techniques required to diagnose and monitor respiratory problems and deliver appropriate management plans in both adult and paediatric situations. Current research themes with a potential impact on diagnosis and treatment will be explored. Assignment submission date: 23 April 2018


Allergic skin disease - 4 and 5 June 2018

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will cover the normal structure and function of skin and how this is altered by allergic disease. It will develop knowledge of the immunological and physiological mechanisms of allergic skin conditions and promote competence and practical skills in their recognition and management. Current research themes with a potential impact on diagnosis and treatment will be explored. Assignment submission date: 2 July 2018


Paediatric allergy - 6 and 7 June 2018

(12 CPD credits from the Royal College of Physicians)

This module will address the areas of allergy that require specific knowledge of paediatric processes including immune mechanisms, diagnostic techniques, management and family issues. Specific topics will include: The Allergic March, infant wheeze, food allergies and intolerances in early life, eczema and early differential diagnosis, paediatric allergic gastrointestinal disease, child protection issues and general paediatric problems presenting in an allergy clinic. Assignment submission date: 23 July 2018

Dissertation project

The research project can either be carried out wholly in year 2 or over years 2 and 3 depending on time available for study. The module commences in September following the completion of the PG Cert and comprises training in research methods and statistics structured to enable you to design, conduct and present a research project by Dissertation. Through completion of an MSc thesis, you will have gained experience in research methodology and techniques, the design of a research project, data analysis and presentation, literature searching, critical appraisal and presentation of work for publication and at scientific and clinical meetings. In addition, you will have studied an in-depth allergy research project within your working environment.

Projects can either be carried out at Imperial College or at your own institution provided appropriate supervision can be established. An Imperial College based on-site supervisor will be identified to oversee the project and to make sure it stays on track. Supervisors will be confirmed at the beginning of the course and regular meetings with the on-site supervisor are essential to monitor progress.

Students will be required to present their project proposals (in written format) before the commencement of the project and these will be approved by the Programme Director.

Projects can be laboratory or community-based or be a systematic review of an area having implications for allergic disease.

Assessment will be by both presentations of the written research Dissertation and a viva voce in September of the second or third year. Students will be required to give notification of submission by June of the year they wish to submit.

Competence standards

At the end of the course of studies students will have attained the following knowledge-based competencies (competence standard/outcome):

Competence standardOutcome
Ability to attend lectures, seminars and workshops Knowledge base extending well beyond the directly taught programme
Ability to form logical, reasonable conclusions and make sound recommendations based on available and new scientific and clinical research data Knowledge of how to distill and summarise published data and act on the findings
Ability to respond to written material, critically, effectively and efficiently Knowledge of the processes of synthesis and critical evaluation of scientific information
Ability to undertake work with high level of initiative and commitment to the task at hand Knowledge of the general principles and practices of professional codes of conduct
Ability to contribute fully in a range of roles both individually and as part of a team, recognise and respect the contributions of other team members to promote successful teamwork Knowledge of the type of roles, adaptability and flexibility that are required to perform effectively in a variety of settings
Ability to write group or individual assignments up to a standard which may be considered for publication in professional journals  Knowledge of a variety of methods of communicating scientific information to a range of audiences in written and oral form
Ability to prepare, process, and interpret data using statistical tools and packages Knowledge of data collection, analysis and interpretation using a range of software
Ability to apply scientific and clinical concepts to the development of new ideas Knowledge of how to extend current concepts into new areas of investigation
Ability to make decisions in complex areas of practice Knowledge of how to investigate and manage difficult disease
Ability to perform and interpret common diagnostic tests for allergic disease Knowledge of practical tests and understanding of results in the development of management plans
Ability to present a patient situation to peers, other professional workers and relatives Knowledge of how to use communication skills in a variety of settings
Ability to prioritise, anticipate and refer to higher levels when necessary Knowledge of when to seek advice and assistance
Ability to use Information and Communications Technology Knowledge of how to identify appropriate technologies in assisting communication and dissemination
Ability to manage resources and time and exercise initiative and personal responsibility Knowledge of how to take personal responsibility for the delivery of set tasks and the development of new ideas
Summary of the table's contents