MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
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Programme Design 

A clear postgraduate ethos, with strong emphasis on student presentations and interactive discussion with tutors and their research groups.

Research themes, introduced through lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory-based research projects, are together designed to develop student’s appropriate analytical skills and understanding and to give practical experience in a wide range of relevant laboratory techniques. Students also have the opportunity, throughout the year, to attend a wide variety of research seminars (both within the Queen’s Medical Research Institute and across the University of Edinburgh) on topics across a very broad spectrum of biomedical research and to take part in transferable skills courses, local journal clubs, research clinics and public science outreach.  

The programme has three components:

  • Students undertake two 20-week laboratory projects (October to March, then April to August), usually in one of the research themes within a laboratory of the Centre for Reproductive Health, elsewhere in the QMRI or Edinburgh Research Community, often linked through the MSc by Research in Biomedical Sciences. Please ensure that you are aware of the city wide campus from which projects will be drawn from which may not necessarily be hosted at the QMRI. These projects, which are the main assessed components of the programme, are specifically designed to provide students with practical experience of a wide range of up-to-date research techniques in cellular and molecular biology. They also permit students to gain critical appraisal and scientific writing skills. Before commencing their second research project, students prepare a research proposal and project plan for this second project in the form of a grant application, which is also an assessed component of the programme. Students carry out their research project and then write up the results as their second project report, to be submitted by mid-August for assessment towards the MSc by Research in Reproductive Sciences.
  • In the first two semesters (September - February) students attend a series of teaching lectures and seminars on module-based themes to give them a broad insight across the reproductive sciences field. They also attend a series of research seminars and clinics, and participate in student-led tutorials and journal clubs.
  • A variety of short transferable skills courses are time-tabled to be available concurrently with the Programme throughout the year. These include Delivering Effective Presentations, Scientific Writing, Basic Statistics and Effective Project Planning.

Semester 1 - Mid September to Mid December

  • lecture and tutorial series
  • Core lab skills (2 weeks) and generic scientific skills
  • First 20-week research project
  • Scientific writing exercise

Semester 2 - Mid January to April

  • Lecture and tutorial series
  • Complete first research project
  • Second research project proposal
  • Start second research project

Summer - May to August

  • Complete second research project

Student Assessment ~ The weighting of the different assessed components of the MSc by Research in Reproductive Sciences programme is outlined below:


Assessment weighting
Research Project 1 80 credits

Average over first two components (Research Project 1 and Research Proposal for Project 2) *

< 40% - Fail

40-49% - proceed to Diploma.

> 50% - Pass - proceed to Project 2
Research Proposal for Project 2 20 credits  
Research Project 2 and including presentation 80 credits

< 40% - Fail

40-49% - Diploma

> 50% - Pass.

> 60% average overall for all components = Merit.

> 70% average overall for all components = Distinction.

 ** Students scoring >50% will proceed to the second project. 

Diploma in Reproductive Sciences will be awarded to students failing to progress, or electing not to proceed, beyond the submission of the research project proposal or whose cumulative mark for the year is between 40-49%. The student would then be required to carry out an additional piece of assessable work for the remainder of the summer term e.g. a literature review or an essay, and would then be awarded a Diploma in Reproductive Sciences.


Project Proposal and Dissertations 

The MSc by Research in Reproductive Sciences programme has the following advantages:

  • It gives students insight into a variety of research areas;
  • The research projects also serve as a vehicle for students to gain confidence and experience in the generic skills associated with research including information technology, statistical techniques and communication of experimental results.
  • It enables graduates of the programme to assimilate rapidly into a PhD project, bringing to it more mature perspectives and a broader range of experimental and professional skills than is possible under the standard three year programme.

If you have any queries about this programme of study, please email with Reproductive Sciences in the title.