Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells - Novel Therapies

Facilitating state-of-the-art education in next generation therapies for scientists and clinicians.

Award titles

MSc

Duration: 1 year full-time
ECTS: 90 credits
(including PG Cert)

Postgraduate Certificate

Duration: 4 months full-time
ECTS: 30 credits
(standalone course)

Key information

Start dateOctober 2021

Register your interestApply now

Overview

Our programme in Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells provides state-of-the-art education in next-generation therapies, training you in translational research and rapidly-developing topics in advanced therapeutic medicines.

You will acquire transferable and research skills including knowledge of ethical and regulatory legislation, commercialisation strategies and intellectual property and patent protection.

A major focus is training in translational research illustrating all steps required to progress novel therapies from bench-to-bedside and towards drug licensing. It is the provision of teaching in all three areas of advanced therapeutic development which makes our programme unique.

The programme runs successfully through a combination of educational materials and opportunities to interact online alongside more traditional teaching methods. This blended format of delivery consists of teaching sessions (face-to-face or made available online), live webinars, discussion fora, formative and summative assessments administered through our virtual learning environment, and a range of resources to facilitate self-study and progression. This allows for much of the programme to be studied remotely if required.

This programme provides academic and laboratory research training in three key areas (streams):

  • Gene and Nucleic Acid Based Therapies
  • New Horizons in Pharmacology
  • Regenerative Medicine

Throughout the programme we will give you the opportunity to acquire real-life skills through presentations, debates, journal clubs and data analysis. Our assessments are varied and authentic, which means we assess skills that you will need to develop successful careers. In the advanced modules of the MSc,  we will give you the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of bioinformatics and their application in biology, and you will get the opportunity to take part in interdisciplinary team events to generate ideas for public engagement activities, or research projects

Study programme

This programme is made up of two progressional levels (PG Cert and MSc), and you can apply to either level in the first instance. Read more about how this works under 'Choosing your course' in the how to apply section.

If you choose the Postgraduate Certificate, you study four core modules with the option of returning to complete an MSc.

If you choose the MSc, you take the same core modules as Postgraduate Certificate students, as well as choosing a speciality to pursue in greater depth, through a further advanced specialist module and a six-month research project.

Careers

The main purpose of this programme is to facilitate state-of-the-art education in next generation therapies for scientists and clinicians, who will be equipped to significantly contribute to these rapidly expanding fields.

Our programme in Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells prepares you for careers in industry, PhD study, positions within the NHS and financial sector.

Meet our students

Hear from Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells students and graduates on the National Heart and Lung Institute website or you can talk to our students online.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

There are limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses. See what changes we may make and how we will tell you about them.

Find out more about potential changes

Structure

MSc

Core modules

You take all four core modules below.

Evidence, Information, Communication

Module Leaders: Professor Uta Griesenbach and Dr Fouzia Khan

Covers development of key skills related to information retrieval, interpretation of scientific claims and communication or feedback. Discusses key principles related to experimental design, statistical data analysis and ethics related to conducting research in animals and humans. Provides foundation knowledge related to gene therapy, regenerative medicine and pharmacology including relevant molecular techniques.

Core Studies in Gene and Nucleic Acid-Based Therapies

Module Leader: Professor Uta Griesenbach

This module teaches fundamental concepts underpinning the rapidly growing field of gene therapy. An introduction to human genetics and genomics which forms the basis for development of gene and nucleic acid-based therapies. Includes:

  • lectures on monogenic and complex diseases, the complexities of genotype/phenotype correlations, key principles of gene regulation and suitable animal models to mimic human disease
  • an introduction to ethical considerations related to gene therapy
  • an understanding about strength and weaknesses of commonly used viral and non-viral vectors and vector production methods.
Core Studies in Regenerative Medicine

Module Leaders: Professor Sara Rankin and Dr Tristan Rodriguez

Provides key concepts in the area of regenerative medicine, from the basic understanding of stem cells and regeneration, including the experimental models used to study their application to disease, to an overview of how regenerative approaches are applied in human studies and clinical trials. This module will also involve developing a strategy for engagement with the public in the research, ethics and clinical translation of regenerative medicine.

Core Studies in New Horizons in Pharmacology

Module Leaders: Dr. Anne Burke-Gaffney and Dr Coen Wiegman

Pharmacology is instrumental in the discovery of future medicines to alleviate or cure disease. This module covers key aspects of pharmacology from traditional medicinal plants to modern day medicines. Stages of the drug discovery and development process will be discussed. Also, the steps involved in taking potential novel therapies from the laboratory to the market will be explored.

Optional modules

You choose one optional module from the list below.

Advanced Studies in Gene and Nucleic Acid-Based Therapies

Module Leader: Professor Uta Griesenbach

Gene therapy-based medicines are 21st century advanced therapeutics and will revolutionise the treatment of many inherited and acquired diseases. This module covers gene and nucleic acid-based therapies to an advanced level. Includes discussion on development of gene transfer agents and vectorology, disease-specific applications of gene therapy and genome editing, discusses the development of licensed gene therapies as well as challenges related to manufacturing, commercialisation and reimbursement of this class of novel therapeutics.

Advanced Studies in New Horizons in Pharmacology

Module Leaders: Dr. Anne Burke-Gaffney and Dr Coen Wiegman

Britain leads the world in pharmacology though rigorously applied traditional principles and in adoption of new technology from all fields of science in a truly interdisciplinary way. This module covers how conventional and new drug therapies are used in the treatment of human disease including, but not limited to, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. An on-going, horizon-scanning approach is adopted throughout the module to identify the very latest innovations in pharmacology and related disciplines. 

Advanced Studies in Regenerative Medicine

Module Leaders: Professor Sara Rankin and Dr. Tristan Rodriguez

Covers the state-of-the-art scientific approaches and technologies being utilised in the field of regenerative medicine, with special focus on the cardiac, respiratory and nervous systems. With an emphasis on translational research, this module will also involve discussion of the clinical trials undertaken in the regenerative medicine field, providing learning about proper trial design and data analysis.

Research project

Module Leader: Professor Uta Griesenbach

You will join a world leading research group at Imperial and will be supervised by academic supervisors. You will complete an extensive six-month research project related to the course content. You will have a choice between dry-lab and wet-lab projects pending on your interests and career aspirations.

The research project culminates in a written project report of approximately 10,000 words and an oral presentation.

Postgraduate Certificate

Core modules

You take all four core modules below.

Evidence, Information, Communication

Module Leaders: Professor Uta Griesenbach and Dr Fouzia Khan

Covers development of key skills related to information retrieval, interpretation of scientific claims and communication or feedback. Discusses key principles related to experimental design, statistical data analysis and ethics related to conducting research in animals and humans. Provides foundation knowledge related to gene therapy, regenerative medicine and pharmacology including relevant molecular techniques.

Core Studies in Gene and Nucleic Acid-Based Therapies

Module Leader: Professor Uta Griesenbach

This module teaches fundamental concepts underpinning the rapidly growing field of gene therapy. An introduction to human genetics and genomics which forms the basis for development of gene and nucleic acid-based therapies. Includes:

  • lectures on monogenic and complex diseases, the complexities of genotype/phenotype correlations, key principles of gene regulation and suitable animal models to mimic human disease
  • an introduction to ethical considerations related to gene therapy
  • an understanding about strength and weaknesses of commonly used viral and non-viral vectors and vector production methods.
Core Studies in Regenerative Medicine

Module Leaders: Professor Sara Rankin and Dr Tristan Rodriguez

Provides key concepts in the area of regenerative medicine, from the basic understanding of stem cells and regeneration, including the experimental models used to study their application to disease, to an overview of how regenerative approaches are applied in human studies and clinical trials. This module will also involve developing a strategy for engagement with the public in the research, ethics and clinical translation of regenerative medicine.

Core Studies in New Horizons in Pharmacology

Module Leaders: Dr. Anne Burke-Gaffney and Dr Coen Wiegman

Pharmacology is instrumental in the discovery of future medicines to alleviate or cure disease. This module covers key aspects of pharmacology from traditional medicinal plants to modern day medicines. Stages of the drug discovery and development process will be discussed. Also, the steps involved in taking potential novel therapies from the laboratory to the market will be explored.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • It has been great to learn from leading academics whilst also being afforded the opportunity to attend guest lectures delivered by world-leaders in the field of regenerative medicine."

    Qasim Majid

    Student

    Critical reviews
  • Discussions
  • Ethical debates
  • Journal clubs
  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Presentations
  • Problem solving workshops
  • Research project
  • Tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Data analysis
  • Examinations
  • Journal clubs
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Poster and oral presentations
  • Practical write-ups

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in an appropriate subject.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply

How to apply

Application deadlines

We will start considering applications in October. We consider applications in batches and make a proportion of offers at a set point each month, starting from November.

It takes four to six weeks to process an application and make a decision. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to interview.

Please note that there is not a set application deadline for this course but we strongly encourage candidates to apply before 1 July.

Choosing your course

This course is divided into two progressional levels of study:

  • PG Certificate (PG Cert)
  • MSc

Each level of study has its own separate entry point; you can apply to either level in the first instance.

Read more about Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and MSc degrees

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

For 2021–22 entry, we are introducing a pilot application fee for our Master's courses. This helps cover some of the administrative and staffing costs associated with processing the large volume of applications we receive.

This fee will be £80 per application and not per course. 

We will waive the fee for any applicant – Home or Overseas – who demonstrates that they are experiencing financial hardship.

There is no application fee for Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or PhDs. The fee for MBA applications to the Imperial College Business School is £135. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees and funding

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

MSc

Full fee - £12,600
Top-up fee* - £6,300 

Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert)

Full fee - £6,300

* If you have already completed one of the above qualifications and are moving on to the next level of study, e.g. you've already completed the PG Cert and want to study the PG Dip, you will only need to pay the top-up fee for the course you’re applying for.

 You may apply to enter this programme at either level of study.

If you enter the MSc, without having studied the PG Cert, then you will pay the full fee listed for the MSc.

If you enter at the PG Cert level and return in future academic years to complete a higher award, you will pay the top-up fee advertised in the year of your return, instead of the full fee for your chosen course.

If you continue uninterrupted from one award to the next, you will pay the relevant top-up fee, plus any annual inflationary increases applied to the entry fee. This applies to applicants who originally entered for an MSc. This does not apply to those who have completed a PG Cert and are re-entering for a higher award.

The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value for April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

You could be eligible for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government if you apply for the MSc in the first instance.

PG Cert students are not eligible for the Master's loan since this programme is not worth 90 ECTS credits, which is one of the eligibility criteria for this loan.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

MSc

Full fee - £36,700
Top-up fee* - £18,350

Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert)

Full fee - £18,350

* If you have already completed one of the above qualifications and are moving on to the next level of study, e.g. you've already completed the PG Cert and want to study the PG Dip, you will only need to pay the top-up fee for the course you’re applying for.

You may apply to enter this programme at either level of study.

If you enter the MSc, without having studied the PG Cert, then you will pay the full fee listed for the MSc.

If you enter at the PG Cert level and return in future academic years to complete a higher award, you will pay the top-up fee advertised in the year of your return, instead of the full fee for your chosen course.

If you continue uninterrupted from one award to the next, you will pay the relevant top-up fee, plus any annual inflationary increases applied to the entry fee. This applies to applicants who originally entered for an MSc. This does not apply to those who have completed a PG Cert and are re-entering for a higher award.

The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value for April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

If you exit the course with an award and return following a break, you will pay the top-up fee advertised in the year of your return.

You could be eligible for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government if you apply for the MSc in the first instance.

PG Cert students are not eligible for the Master's loan since this programme is not worth 90 ECTS credits, which is one of the eligibility criteria for this loan.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2020-21 entry, the maximum amount was of £11,222. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

You must apply for the MSc in this course in order to be eligible for a Postgraduate Master's Loan.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Find out more about our scholarships to see what you might be eligible for.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Microbiome

Got a question?

Enquiries
Sarah Fort (Course Administrator)
T: +44 (0)20 7594 8979
E: noveltherapies@imperial.ac.uk

Read more about the NHLI and our research in the National Heart and Lung Institute.

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