We are writing to you because you currently hold an offer from us to commence study on the MSc in Genomic Medicine in October 2020. We want to give you as much up-to-date information as possible on our planning and preparations for the new academic year. We will be delivering multi-mode teaching in the Autumn term. This means that you will have the option of attending some on campus teaching, as well as a remote teaching component, for example, e-learning activities. If you are unable to travel to campus for the Autumn term multi-mode delivery, all on campus teaching will also be delivered remotely and where possible will be synchronous with the attendance students, so you have an opportunity to work with all of your classmates. 

INSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES 

All on campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current Public Health advice from the UK Government, Imperial College London guidelines on social distancing and any additional health and safety measures. In the event that there is an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be forced to suspend on-campus activity. This may be in connection with either national or local requirements. Since we will already be delivering the taught elements of your programme remotely to some students as part of the multi-mode format, we will continue to be able to deliver these elements to all students remotely. 

The College will deliver your programme to ensure the approved learning outcomes are met and will take steps to make alternative arrangements in any extreme circumstances where this is not possible. The College is also developing community building activities to support the multi-mode experience for students. 

College-wide induction and enrolment activities will operate in a remote format at the start of the academic year and there will be no requirement to visit the campus in-person to begin your studies. 

The NHLI induction for all Masters programmes in the Institute will take place online on 8 October 2020 and further details will be provided nearer to the start of the programme. 

SOCIAL COHESION 

Most of our Autumn term will be delivered online. This will require you to have access to a computer and a reliable internet signal for most days of the term. The programme will start in the first week of October 2020 and we have planned online induction sessions in the first week for you to meet us, your fellow students on the programme, and your tutors. 

These induction sessions will also be an opportunity for you to familiarise yourselves with the online platforms and tools we will be using in the year, and for all of us to set expectations around the programme and online/on campus learning and teaching. 

Throughout the year, we will continue with these opportunities to socialise and feel part of our MSc cohort. To this effect, we will organise several online group work sessions, some with our group tutors, as well as regular social events. 

PROGRAMME CONTENT AND DELIVERY 

For the past five years, our MSc has been delivered in a “blended” learning format, meaning that for each one month long module, three weeks are normally delivered online and one week is usually delivered on campus. We have reviewed the programme’s learning outcomes and can confirm that no changes will be required as a consequence of moving to the multi-mode delivery format. 

As a student on the Genomic Medicine programme, you will be studying either on a “full-time” or a “part-time” basis. 

o Full-time students will complete their degree in one year and will sequentially complete the various Core modules, Optional modules and the Research Project. 

o Part-time students have to start with the Fundamentals module (see below) but after that are free to take other modules to suit their schedule, usually spread out over two years. 

Irrespective of your selected mode of study (e.g. full- or part-time), or whether the module will be taught fully online or through the blended route with on campus teaching, there are some activities that will have to be conducted “synchronously”, meaning that you will either have to be present online or in person at specific times to work through group discussions, journal clubs etc. For those of you who cannot attend the on campus teaching, you will have online access to all those materials, so you will not miss teaching content. Or, if there is College suspension of on campus activity, all elements will be delivered remotely. 

We would usually expect part-time students to book study leave for the on campus classes (around one-week per module). We would strongly recommend that part-time students plan to book study leave for Week 2 of the module (or Week 3 for Genomics and the Patient) to enable you to attend the synchronous classes in this week (either online or on campus). For full-time students who work on a part-time basis, we would also expect you to arrange your rota so that that you are available to attend all synchronous classes in Week 2 (or Week 3 for Genomics and the Patient) of the module. In each of the e-learning weeks of the taught modules (usually Weeks 1, 3 and 4) students are expected to complete between 20-40 hours of independent and directed study per week. 

Please refer below to details on the delivery of each module. You will receive a programme timetable for the 2020-21 academic year shortly. 

MODULES OVERVIEW 

Autumn Term 

  • The Pre-sessional Primer 

This is a short refresher course that is intended to help you “get up to speed” on genetic and genomic concepts. It is fully online, is not for credit and the embedded tests can be taken as many times as you like. You will be sent a link to this in September 2020. 

Three taught modules run in the Autumn term, the pre-requisite ‘Fundamentals of Human Genetics and Genomics’, the ‘Omics Technologies and their Application in Genomic Medicine’ and the ‘Genomics of Common and Rare Inherited Diseases’ modules. 

  • The Fundamentals of Human Genetics and Genomics module (October 2020) 

The ‘Fundamentals’ module will be delivered in a ‘blended’ mode of delivery in October 2020 (with the option of being completed fully online for students unable to travel to campus). All on campus and virtual ‘synchronous’ activities for this module will be scheduled in Week 2 of this module (12-16 October 2020). This module also includes digital literacy skills training including how to search for scientific resources and a College Library induction. An introduction to the Graduate School Professional Development courses for Masters students is also planned. 

  • The ‘Omics Technologies and their Application in Genomic Medicine (November 2020) and the Common and Rare Inherited Diseases (December 2020) modules 

The ‘Omics Technologies’ and the ‘Inherited Diseases’ modules will be taught in a fully online mode of delivery in November and December 2020 respectively. All virtual ‘synchronous’ activities (including workshops and journal clubs) for the ‘Omics Technologies’ module will take place in Week 2 of this module (9-13 November 2020). All virtual ‘synchronous’ activities (including computational workshops and journal clubs) for the ‘Inherited Diseases’ module will take place in Week 2 of this module (7-11 December 2020). 

Spring Term 

  • Elective A Optional modules (January 2021) 

Students may choose one module from the two listed below: 

o Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Applied Genomics, Optional 

o Genomics and the Patient, Optional 

  • Molecular Pathology of Cancer and Application in Cancer Diagnosis, Screening and Treatment, Core Module (February 2021) (delivered in collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research) 


  • Elective B Optional modules (March 2021) 

Students may choose one module from the four listed below: 

o Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Medicine, Optional 

o Economic Evaluation in Human Genomics, Optional (delivered in collaboration with Brunel University London). 

o Genome-Based Therapeutics, Optional 

For these six modules above we are currently planning for delivery in their usual blended format (with three weeks of e-learning and one week of on campus teaching) starting in January 2021. Should access to campus be limited in the Spring term, the modules will be delivered entirely online with similar timelines to those modules planned in the Autumn term and with multiple levels of online interaction (discussions, tutorials and assessment briefings). 

  • Professional and Research Skills, Optional (March 2021) 

This is already an entirely online e-learning module and we do not anticipate any major changes to the teaching on this module. 

Summer Term 

  • Application of Genomics in Infectious Disease, Core Module (April 2021) 
  • Bioinformatics, Quality Control, Analysis and Interpretation of Sequencing Data, Core Module (May 2021) 

We are currently planning for delivery of these two modules in their usual blended format (with three weeks of e-learning and one week of on campus teaching) starting in April 2021. Should access to campus be limited in the Spring term, the Module will be delivered entirely online with similar timelines to those modules planned in the Autumn term and with multiple levels of online interaction (discussions, tutorials and assessment briefings). 

  • Research Project (June-September 2021) 

You will complete a 14-week full-time or one-year part-time research project as part of the MSc. We anticipate offering our usual very wide range of Genomic Medicine projects. At present, these can be laboratory-based, clinically-based, computer-based or literature-based. Should access to campus be limited in the Spring term we expect to have a considerable number of computational and literature-based projects available for students to pursue online. 

If you choose a clinically-based project which requires in-person presence on campus and there is suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19, you will be offered the following options: 

I. switch to an alternative project capable of being completed remotely (depending on how much of your project has already been completed), 

II. exit the programme with an alternative exit award (e.g. Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma), subject to meeting the required number of credits for that award 

III. extend your registration and complete your project on-campus at a later date. The College will not charge any additional tuition fee in respect of completion at a later date, but you will be responsible for your own living costs. Where you are living in College accommodation, we are unable to guarantee your accommodation beyond your original completion date. 

Please note: If you are an international student and require a Tier 4 / Student visa in order to study in the UK, you will be responsible for any visa application fees which may be incurred should your programme length be extended. Full support and guidance on visa and immigration issues is provided by our International Student Support Team (www.imperial.ac.uk/study/visas). 

ASSESSMENTS 

The majority of assessments on our programme are currently written coursework assessments that are submitted and evaluated online; as such, there are no on-campus formal written examinations. In two of the three cases where oral presentations are part of the final assessment (part of the Genome-Based Therapeutics, Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Medicine, and part of the Research Project modules) we already have mechanisms in place for to administer online presentations. We are evaluating one of the oral assessments within the Genomics and the Patient module to adapt it to the online evaluative format. Our Virtual Learning Environment enables remote submission. We therefore anticipate very few changes to assessments overall. 

PROGRAMME LENGTH AND LOCATION 

Any scheduled on site teaching will be delivered mainly at our Royal Brompton campus, and potentially at South Kensington and Hammersmith campuses in the Spring and Summer terms, depending on what restrictions are in place. We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised. 

STUDENT EXPERIENCE 

Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Imperial has been working with your Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience under all eventualities. We identified key pillars of the wider student experience: academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities. Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services, considering current social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our website. As always, should you have any questions, please contact us at genomic@imperial.ac.uk and we will be delighted to talk to you and clarify any point that might still appear unclear. 

Thank you for choosing Imperial as the institution to undertake your postgraduate studies. We are enthusiastic about you joining our outstanding student body, and look forward to welcoming you in the Autumn, whether in person or online! 

Prof Edwin R. Chilvers, Head, NHLI 

Prof Mike Lovett, Programme Director, MSc Genomic Medicine 

Dr Louise Blakemore, Senior Teaching Fellow, MSc Genomic Medicine