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School of Biotechnology

MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine

Course Code:
DC739 (Full-Time) & DC740 (Part-Time)
Course Type:
Postgraduate
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
Full-Time
Part-Time
Duration
1 Year Full-Time & 2 Years Part-Time
+353 (0) 1
700 5961

The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine is a blended-learning programme that details how diagnostics and therapeutics are revolutionising healthcare and medicine by providing the right person with the right therapy at the right time.

Recent advances in the understanding of normal and diseased states has led to revolutionary new treatments for conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and inherited diseases. Furthermore, advances in science and technology have resulted in the development of new biomedical assays to (a) diagnose diseases and conditions more accurately (b) classify disease more precisely (c) approach treatment more individually and (d) identify who is at risk of developing a disease or condition.

Such advances in diagnostics and therapeutics have ushered in an exciting new era known as Precision Medicine, which refers to prevention and treatment strategies that takes patient variability into account (people’s genes, environment and lifestyles) by providing the right patient with the right medicine at the right time. As an example, the treatment of several cancers have shifted away from the “One-Size-Fits-All” approach of treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) to a more focused and tailored strategy where targeted therapies are matched according to the molecular profile of a patient’s tumour. In this situation, variations in the sequence, structure or expression of that person’s DNA, RNA or protein (i.e. biomarkers) are analysed using clinically-validated diagnostic assays (commonly referred to as Companion Diagnostics) and used to stratify patients so that those who are likely to benefit from these therapies are identified and treated, while who are unlikely to benefit (and may experience unnecessary side effects) can receive alternative treatments.  Similarly, molecular diagnostic assays are increasing used to predict the outcome of a patient’s disease (prognosis), and therefore medical treatments can be tailored accordingly.    

The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine was established in 2018 as Ireland’s first postgraduate course in precision medicine. It was also one of the first courses worldwide to deliver structured module-based training at postgraduate level on the latest advances in diagnostics and therapeutics and their relevance for precision medicine.   

The programme is aimed at:

  • Life scientists (including newly qualified graduates)

  • Professionals from the diagnostics, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries

  • Medical Practitioners (including General Practitioners and clinicians-in-training) 

Who wish to:

  • Develop and broaden their knowledge of how new therapies including targeted therapeutics, cell-based therapies and gene modulation technologies are revolutionising the treatment of diseases such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and inherited diseases

  • Understand how the integration of diagnostics and therapeutics are changing the landscape of healthcare and medicine through Precision Medicine

  • Pursue a career in the biomedical diagnostics, biomedical science and biopharmaceutical industries

  • Develop/consolidate their research skills with a view to undertaking further research (e.g. PhD or MD)

  • Develop their critical analysis skills and enhance their professional development

‘The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine is a thoroughly enjoyable course that provides students with up-to-date knowledge on current targeted therapies used in cancer and inflammatory diseases. This course expands on fundamental principles of biology while also exploring novel targeted therapies. This course provided me with the requisite knowledge to pursue a PhD in inflammatory disease, directly relating to the research project which I undertook as part of this course. Participating in this program was the best decision I have ever made. 10/10 would do again!’ 

'I always wanted to find a programme that connects cancer, auto-immune and genetics-based diseases altogether at once and how individuals differ in their diagnosis as well as in their response to a certain drug. I was really satisfied of the outcome gained after I accomplished the MSc degree in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine and I feel ready to face the coming stages in my scientific journey with high confidence. I highly recommend this course for everyone who wants to pursue a career in precision medicine, diagnostics or biopharma.' 

‘I was unsure of what my next step should be, whether it be to move directly into the work-force after my undergraduate degree, or to try to hone my skills by taking on a masters course. It did not take long into the Diagnostics and Precision Medicine MSc to realise that I had made the right choice. Throughout the year I have learned so much that I didn't even know existed, new breakthrough therapies that have changed how cancer is treated, a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease, and how these mechanisms can be targeted to treat patients in a more effective and more specific way. I always knew that biology was what I would end up doing, but after taking this masters course, I realise that I have only scratched the surface and that there is still so much more to learn. To anybody on the fence about undertaking a masters degree, I would strongly recommend that you do!’ 

‘This masters course was extremely interesting and exceeded my expectations. I am extremely happy with my choice of masters, delivering up-to-date lecture content. The mix of pre-recorded and live lectures really benefited my learning. I would 100% recommend this course for anybody looking to gain valuable insight into how precision medicine is taking over and transforming the lives of sick patients all over the world. I look forward to utilising all the skills I have gained particularly over the last year doing this masters in my science career going forward.’ 

‘I would highly recommend this MSc to anyone! This course allowed me to take my scientific knowledge to the next level and has allowed me to secure a job in the diagnostic field before even graduating. The course is highly interesting, flexible and very well run. As scientists, we understand that diagnostics and treatment methods must be precise and accurate. I’m so glad I chose to become educated in this area!’

The programme is delivered via a hybrid approach of face-to-face teaching and online delivery of modules, together with hands-on experience in a research laboratory.

  • All taught components from the classroom in DCU including lectures, tutorials and workshops are recorded and made available through DCU's online platform Loop to enable flexible learning (44.2% of the programme content).
  • Three modules on the programme are delivered online by our colleagues at Arizona State University (ASU) and are supported at DCU with tutorials (22.5% of the programme content), culminating in 66.7% of the programme available online.
  • The remaining 33.3% of the course is dedicated to the research project which consists of a 12-week laboratory-based project (Option 1) or Masterclasses in Precision Medicine (Option 2). The laboratory-based masterclasses run over 2-3 days per week over a 3-week period and also include computational approaches and online activities.

This approach was designed to:

  • Enable students to study at a time and place that suits them (students can come to class to attend lectures in DCU if they are delivered from the classroom or students can attend remotely online).
  • Enable students to revise their curriculum by having access to their recorded lectures/tutorials and slides at any time.
  • Enable industry, medical and healthcare professionals to attend the programme remotely while continuing to work in full-time employment. Professionals working in full-time employment may also be able to undertake their research project in their place of work if working in a relevant industry (subject to terms and conditions).

Assessment is through continuous assessment and primarily consists of submission of assignments and short assessments throughout the year. Formal written examinations are not used for assessment of student learning.

 

View the current course structure

‘The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine is a thoroughly enjoyable course that provides students with up-to-date knowledge on current targeted therapies used in cancer and inflammatory diseases. This course expands on fundamental principles of biology while also exploring novel targeted therapies. This course provided me with the requisite knowledge to pursue a PhD in inflammatory disease, directly relating to the research project which I undertook as part of this course. Participating in this program was the best decision I have ever made. 10/10 would do again!’ 

'I always wanted to find a programme that connects cancer, auto-immune and genetics-based diseases altogether at once and how individuals differ in their diagnosis as well as in their response to a certain drug. I was really satisfied of the outcome gained after I accomplished the MSc degree in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine and I feel ready to face the coming stages in my scientific journey with high confidence. I highly recommend this course for everyone who wants to pursue a career in precision medicine, diagnostics or biopharma.' 

‘I was unsure of what my next step should be, whether it be to move directly into the work-force after my undergraduate degree, or to try to hone my skills by taking on a masters course. It did not take long into the Diagnostics and Precision Medicine MSc to realise that I had made the right choice. Throughout the year I have learned so much that I didn't even know existed, new breakthrough therapies that have changed how cancer is treated, a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease, and how these mechanisms can be targeted to treat patients in a more effective and more specific way. I always knew that biology was what I would end up doing, but after taking this masters course, I realise that I have only scratched the surface and that there is still so much more to learn. To anybody on the fence about undertaking a masters degree, I would strongly recommend that you do!’ 

‘This masters course was extremely interesting and exceeded my expectations. I am extremely happy with my choice of masters, delivering up-to-date lecture content. The mix of pre-recorded and live lectures really benefited my learning. I would 100% recommend this course for anybody looking to gain valuable insight into how precision medicine is taking over and transforming the lives of sick patients all over the world. I look forward to utilising all the skills I have gained particularly over the last year doing this masters in my science career going forward.’ 

‘I would highly recommend this MSc to anyone! This course allowed me to take my scientific knowledge to the next level and has allowed me to secure a job in the diagnostic field before even graduating. The course is highly interesting, flexible and very well run. As scientists, we understand that diagnostics and treatment methods must be precise and accurate. I’m so glad I chose to become educated in this area!’

Graduates will find employment in industry, clinical, healthcare and academic environments. This includes the diagnostics and biopharmaceutical industries, life science and clinical trials companies, as well as academic research centres.

In addition, our graduates have also gone on to pursue further research (e.g. a PhD) as well as gaining entry to Graduate Medicine programmes. 

Requirements

  • For admission to the MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine candidates must have a primary degree that equates to an NFQ Level 8 Second-Class Honours, Grade 1 Award (H2.1) in a Life Science, Pharmaceutical, Medical or Chemical discipline.   
  • In addition, candidates who hold a primary degree (NFQ Level 8), with a Second-Class Honours, Grade 2 Award (H2.2) in one of the relevant degrees and with industrial experience will be considered. 
  • International candidates who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy the University of their competancy in the English language.  More information about DCU's English language requirements can be found here.

 

Fees

Full time

EU Status Fee
€7,500 per annum
Non EU Fee
€14,500 per annum

Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
5 Credit Module €407/Dissertation (30 credits) €2,443/Part time capitation fee €170
Non EU Fee Part time
5 Credit Module €713 /Dissertation (30 credits) €4,278/Part time capitation fee €170

Next Steps

To apply for this programme:

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here.  Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.

  • Provide Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable.

  • Please upload a CV, with details of relevant experience, under the "Supplemental Items & Documents" section.

  • A brief Personal Statement outlining your background and motivation for applying to this programme.

  • If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements.  Please see link http://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml.

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until:

  • Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2023.

  • Closing date for EU applicants is 31st July 2023.

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU are advised to apply as early as possible.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Queries

Queries from EU applicants should be directed to postgraduateadmissions@dcu.ie 

Queries from non EU applicants should be directed to internationalapplications@dcu.ie

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2023.