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One year, full-time

Application Deadline

Applications for 2024 entry open in November


St George's, University of London

UK, EU and non-EU (international)

citizens may apply

Start dates

September 2024

About this course

Biomedical scientists work at the cutting edge of research and medicine, helping to solve some of the most threatening diseases and conditions facing mankind. 

The key to life, reproduction is a fascinating, complex process that does not always go to plan. According to NHS, around one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, while one in eight pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Each year in England, one in 47 babies is born with a congenital anomaly – anything from cleft palate or limb defect to heart conditions or spina bifida.

This Reproduction and Development specialist pathway – one of few of its kind in the UK – focuses on the science behind reproduction, embryo formation and fetal development. Studying the interplay between genes and physiology during these processes and the complications that can arise, your research will seek solutions to improve fertility, and identify, treat or manage birth defects.

You will learn about the genetic basis of birth defects and the underlying molecular mechanisms, which will allow improved diagnosis, genetic screening and counselling for the affected families. You will also learn about events during early pregnancy when the placenta forms, disruptions of which results in pregnancy disorders, such as pre-eclampsia.

Course highlights

Established in 1752, St George’s, University of London is the UK’s specialist health university, and we are the only UK university to share our campus with a major teaching hospital, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is both on the clinical frontline for a diverse local community and a centre of excellence for specialist conditions.

When you study this course with us you will have:

  • access to specialist expertise in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory research within both the University and the hospital.
  • the opportunity to spend up to 9 months on a research project working directly alongside high-calibre leading researchers, respected within their fields.
  • access to a cutting-edge special equipment dedicated to biomedical research including a range of imaging analysis options which enable you to image histology samples, cells and molecules of all varieties, and model organisms using light, fluorescent and electron microscopy systems.
  • access to specialist facilities to help you develop strong research knowledge and skills, including tissue culture, handling of clinical specimen, flow cytometry, gene cloning and protein techniques, microbiological techniques and animal experimentation, among many others.
  • the chance to learn numerous valuable transferrable skills including critical appraisal, problem-solving, latest research techniques, utilization of large data, and understanding of the legal and ethical aspects of clinical research.
  • the common postgraduate framework modules from the Healthcare Research Skills and Methods PgCert, enabling the transfer of prior-learning credits and the option of step-wise progression.

Want to know more?

Find out more about postgraduate study at St George’s, University of London by registering to receive our introductory email series.

Entry criteria

To be considered for this course, you will need to:

  • meet the entry criteria
  • write a personal statement
  • provide two suitable references

Undergraduate degree or equivalent

You should have or be expected to achieve, a minimum of a second class degree (2:2). For healthcare graduates, a pass is required. All degrees must be awarded before 1 August on the year of entry.

We welcome applications from individuals from a range of backgrounds, including humanities, science and healthcare.

We may invite you to interview if are unable to make a decision directly from your application. If you are invited for an interview you will be asked to write a short paper (no more than half a page) on a subject associated with biomedical research.

Alternative professional qualifications, or previous related experience, may be considered and we encourage you to apply.

International qualifications

We accept equivalent qualifications gained in other countries and use UKNARIC to assess. Please see our International Student Support pages for more information.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at

English Language

This is a Group 2 course.

Full details can be found on our English Language requirements webpages.

Personal statement and references

You will be asked to outline your reasons for applying for the course in a brief personal statement on the application form. You will also need to provide two satisfactory references.

Go to the Apply tab for more information.

Course structure

There are three core modules:

  • Research Methods (15 credits)
  • Statistics/Practical Data Analysis (15 credits)
  • Research Project Planning and Management (15 credits)

These are common to all pathways, and most of teaching will take place in the autumn term.

The specialist modules (30 credits) are specific to each of the five pathways and will run from September till February. The journal clubs (critical appraisal of papers) led by students themselves with guidance from the tutors will run from October until March. The Research Project module will start in October and runs until July/August. Students will present a poster in July and submit a final dissertation in August.

The core modules provide advanced training in the practice of biomedical research across a broad range of laboratory and computer-based biomedical science, while the specialist module prepares you to conduct high-calibre in-depth research in your chosen research field.

Unlike many other courses, our Research Project offers a chance to spend up to 9 months working as part of an active research team. This may provide an opportunity to work with clinical samples or staff on our hospital sites. For example, one past research project studied first trimester placenta cells to identify future indicators of pre-eclampsia, while another analysed the mutation of gonadal genes which to provide new insight into what causes a failure to initiate or complete puberty naturally. Other projects offered opportunities to work with animal models (mouse, zebrafish) to enhance our understanding of congenital disorders and identification of mutated genes through sequencing of patient DNA samples.


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Research methods (15 credits)

This module looks at a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research study designs and approaches, their advantages and disadvantages. We focus on good research practice, designing studies using tools and approaches to minimise bias and maximise scientific rigour. 

Statistics or Practical Data Analysis (15 credits)

You are introduced to modern data analysis techniques and statistical approaches so that you can critically analyse and interpret quantitative and qualitative data and make inferences from the results when undertaking your research project.

Emphasis is placed on the language and logic of statistical investigation, and not on formulae or calculations, building your confidence in interpreting and discussing the methods and statistics in biomedical, healthcare and clinical research and other scientific literature.

Research project planning and management (15 credits)

This module prepares you for conducting and managing a research project and includes ethical, legal, safety and time management aspects of research. You will learn how to identify and appropriately address any ethical and legal issues in your project, as well as safety issues when working with hazardous substances, organisms or equipment. This will also include lectures on writing up scientific work.

Reproduction and development (30 credits)

This pathway module begins exploring the science of reproduction and covers various aspects of women’s health, including normal sexual differentiation, endocrine disorders, hormonal control of fertility, pregnancy and contraception. It covers embryonic development and disease with an emphasis on molecular mechanisms and human congenital disorders.

You will be introduced to experimental techniques, terminology, model organisms and the use of transgenic mouse technology. The module will also provide you with insight into how new sequencing technologies and ‘omics’ methodologies are helping to decipher the cellular mechanisms involved in reproduction and development. 

While studying this module, you will learn how to appraise and critically evaluate scientific papers, through a series of journal club sessions and presentations. Appraisal of scientific literature is essential in guiding your own research strategies and objectives, as well as peer reviewing other researchers’ works in your specialist area, for example, reviewing manuscripts submitted for publication in scientific journals.

Research project (105 credits)

This is the main module of our MRes course. Dissertation projects will involve the assembly, analysis and interpretation of substantial research data, primarily lab generated, although some projects may involve metanalyses of theoretical data. You will have the freedom to choose from a wide-ranging list of projects, and to work in a vibrant research environment with world-renowned researchers. You may also work with their PhD students or postdoctoral scientists within the collaborative research group to gain insight and experience over the course of your project.

Teaching and learning

At St George’s, you will benefit from working as part of a small, close-knit team. Students, clinicians and researchers work happily and effectively together, and you will be welcomed into our small specialist research community, with all the advantages that brings for personal input and development.

During the first term you will meet potential supervisors to familiarise yourself with the research activity within each pathway and to identify an appropriate project. Project titles and areas for research will be identified by module leaders and will relate to the pathway selected. Broadly speaking, your topic should be within the fields of biomedical sciences, healthcare, or health services and use appropriate scientific methods. You will choose your research project and start with laboratory work from mid-October, completing your research by the following August.

Teaching for core modules is concentrated in the autumn term, while teaching for specialist modules takes place over the year. Throughout this time, you will either be attending lectures or laboratory sessions on most days of the week.

Teaching is delivered through a variety of methods, such as lectures, course-specific seminars and small group sessions. You will also participate in self-directed study and wider reading, as well as individual and group practical sessions. The self-directed component of your course includes the in-depth study of an area of interest, developing research and presentation skills, and gaining insight into possible careers.

Our expertise

For over two centuries, St George’s has been at the forefront of developing new and innovative solutions to enhance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. We enjoy a global reputation as experts in population health, infection and immunity, and molecular and clinical sciences thanks to our four world-class research institutes – Molecular and Clinical Science, Population Health Research, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education and Infection and Immunity.

In recent months, clinicians and researchers from across the University and Hospital have been leading urgent public health studies and trials into Covid-19 as part of the Oxford Vaccine trial and testing different treatments as part of the national recovery trial. St George’s is also leading on studies to develop rapid antibody tests for the disease and understand whether pregnant mothers can pass coronavirus onto their babies in the womb.

Our Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit (ADREU) has been actively involved in the development, regulatory approval and implementation of rapid diagnostics for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a worldwide public health concern, with the ever-growing threat from AMR impacting on treatment and disease management. Professor Paul Heath and Professor Mike Sharland are currently working on global projects to tackle the threat of AMR, including a study focused on newborn babies, since their immune system is not yet fully developed, and therefore they are particularly vulnerable to infection.

Assessment methods

Assessments are designed to help you with preparation for your dissertation. They help you review published work critically, use appropriate experimental design, and analyse experimental data. They also enable you to develop scientific writing and presentation skills.

All modules are assessed through written assignments or an oral presentation, with the exception of the statistics module which is assessed via examination. Following the research project, you will be asked to present a poster on your research.


Originally established in 2007, our Biomedical Science Pathways have been growing in strength and reputation ever since, and provide excellent preparation for either a PhD and research within an academic or industrial setting, or a career in the biomedical and medical sector.

The course provides excellent preparation for PhD study, which around a fifth of our students complete here at St George’s or elsewhere, and this can lead to a research career within academia or pharmaceutical industry.

Alternatively, on completion, you could pursue a career in the biomedical and medical sector in roles where some research background is required but not necessarily at PhD level. This may include job opportunities as research support staff, technicians, medical laboratory assistants, specialist services provision, equipment operators and laboratory management.

This course is also effective in accelerating the development of your career in healthcare and NHS. 


St George’s University of London is the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research. We share our site with a major London teaching hospital which is both on the clinical frontline for a diverse local community and a centre of excellence for specialist research.

You’ll study in a clinical and academic research setting with like-minded individuals, mixing with the many different healthcare professionals you will go on to work alongside throughout your career.

We also have the latest research equipment and resources including state-of-the-art advanced bio-imaging technology and cutting-edge laboratory facilities. 

We have a range of specialist health and academic facilities to support your learning, listed below. 


Our teaching laboratories are fully fitted with equipment for biological, chemistry, biomedical, molecular biology and pharmacy practicals. This includes microscopes, spectrophotometers, DMA amplifiers, organ baths and specialist glassware. We also have audio visual equipment installed, so that microscope images can be projected on to large screens. Furthermore, the students will have on their disposal tissue culture facilities, flow cytometry, use of pathogen containment facilities and well animal research facilities.

Image Resource Facility (IRF)

First established in 1979, the IRF has developed to encompass Light Microscopy, Electron Microscopy, and sample preparation for both, all housed in a single department providing a range of imaging analysis options and the expertise to compliment them. Users of the IRF have the ability to image histology samples, cells and molecules of all varieties, and model organisms such as zebrafish using any of the light microscope, slide scanning, or electron microscope systems we maintain, supported by experienced staff at all stages of analysis.

Dissecting room

The dissecting room is where present and future healthcare professionals and scientists in the hospital and University learn or refresh their anatomy knowledge directly from the human body, through access to cadaveric material and models, and plastinated (preserved) specimens.

Pathology museum

Our on-site museum houses a collection of over 2,000 pathological specimens, including a number of original specimens donated by Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie in 1843. This space is used for small group tutorials by students across all of our courses as an educational tool to help you understand the mechanisms of disease.

Library and learning technology

Our modern health sciences library offers a wide range of books, e-books, academic journals and other resources to support you. You will also have access to online resources, such as the Canvas virtual learning environment

and our Hunter discovery service to help you find the information you need. The library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and comprises silent, quiet and group learning areas, as well as four group discussion rooms.

IT facilities

We have five computer suites housing 260 workstations. Three of these suites are accessible 24 hours a day. It’s easy to find a free space with our handy real-time computer locator. We also have 75 self-service laptops available. Free Wi-Fi covers the whole campus, including all accommodation. You can use these resources to access your course materials, discussion boards and feedback through Canvas.

Student support

Whether you are an existing healthcare professional, returning to education after a break or joining us after graduating from an undergraduate degree, we want to ensure your experience is positive from the outset. At St George’s, you’ll be welcomed by a multicultural student and staff body of different ages, ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds, all with one thing in common – an interest in healthcare, science and medicine.

Students frequently tell us they greatly appreciate the diversity of our student and staff body, as well as the patients who access healthcare services in the borough of Tooting. The University attracts a substantial number – over two-thirds – of ‘mature’ students, aged 21 or over when they start; many have family and caring responsibilities.

We offer a full range of academic support and student services across all institutes, departments and faculties, some of which are listed below. We take pride in offering a transformative educational experience underpinned by cooperation and collaboration between staff and students.

Personal academic tutor

On arrival, you will be allocated a personal tutor – someone with whom you can have regular contact, who you ask questions and discuss problems with, both academic and personal. The main purpose of a personal tutor is to monitor your progress, pick up and help you resolve any problems, whether academic or welfare related. Even if they don’t have the answer they will point you in the right direction towards the best people to deal with specific problems.

Induction programme

The main goal of induction is to make sure that you are set up for your studies and start to feel part of the University and our community. As well as course-specific activities, we run an online ‘Get Started’ module which provides lots of information about social and enrichment activities, student safety, wellbeing and learning support, including study skills, a library induction and guidance about our careers and employability services. Additional information is provided for international students.

Student Life Centre

Our Student Centre team can help you with every aspect of student life: finances, accommodation, exams and assessment, academic procedures, admissions, international queries, disability and wellbeing, even finding your way around – whatever it takes to make you feel at home. Each course has a designated contact within the student centre to link to and your personal tutor can signpost you to relevant support, including a confidential counselling service.

Careers service

Our careers service works to support current students and recent graduates to find and maintain the career of their dreams. We work with careers tutors from each course area to ensure that careers activities specific to your programmes and future profession come to you.

Fees and funding

In this tab you will find the financial information for this programme of study, including available financial support and scholarships.

Tuition fees

2023 UK (home): £15,000

2023 International (including EU): £26,000

Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course (unless stated). Fees for second and subsequent years are likely to increase annually in line with UK inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI-X). They will not normally increase by more than 5 per cent each year, except when the rate of inflation is significantly more than that projected in the preceding year.

Additional costs

We do not expect students to incur any extra costs over and above those that we have advertised on the course page. To get the most from your studies, you will need your personal computer or laptop (Windows 10 or Mac OS) and an internet connection in your home. Find out more about technology requirements associated with online learning.


We have a range of funding opportunities available for students. You may be eligible for the following.

Find out more on our fees and funding webpages.

Apply now


One year, full-time

Application Deadline

Applications for 2024 entry open in November

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