The course runs over a period of one year, from October to September, incorporating the three University terms: Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. Fundamental reproductive science and laboratory methods/practical skills are taught in the first term (Michaelmas) over five discrete modules. Applied and clinical aspects are delivered in the second term (Hilary) over a further set of five modules. Each module is delivered over a period of one to three weeks and together, the ten modules comprise the ‘core content’ of the course. The third term (Trinity) is extended to allow sufficient time for a high quality research project.
TERM 1 (MICHAELMAS), OCTOBER TO DECEMBER
The first term is planned to ensure that students gain core knowledge in the fundamental principles of reproductive science and the application of essential laboratory techniques. Course material is presented in the form of five modules:
- Essential Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Laboratory Methods and Practical Skills
- The Mammalian Reproductive System
- Fertilisation and Early Embryogenesis
- Embryonic Development and Pregnancy
During the term, students will be expected to write two essays, sit a practical skills assessment and write up the results of practical classes. At the end of the term, students will sit a qualifying examination (online multiple choice format). Students are required to pass this exam to proceed with the remainder of the course.
TERM 2 (HILARY), JANUARY TO MARCH
The second term aims to provide students with advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of infertility and ART. Material is presented in the form of five further modules:
- Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
- Assisted Conception: Skills and Techniques
- Micromanipulation in ART
- Infertility and ART: Developments and Current Issues
During the second term, students will be expected to write up the results of their practical classes and undertake a library-based extended essay. During this term, students will learn micromanipulation/injection/biopsy techniques using a variety of species.
Students will sit an examination (short essay format) at the beginning of the third term, allowing time over Easter for revision. The examination will be based upon the modules presented during the second term.
TERM 3 (TRINITY+), APRIL TO SEPTEMBER
The extended third term is predominantly devoted to a research project which is expected to involve approximately 12 - 14 weeks of experimental work based within the department and the wider university. Results are to be written up and submitted as a dissertation of no more than 10,000 words. Students will present the results of their research project to a departmental audience by way of a short talk and will prepare a poster presentation which will form the basis of a short oral examination.