MSc Course Details  IBGRL-MSc70.gif (2196 bytes)
                                                                
 

 

Background
Aims and Objectives of the Course
Facilities in Bristol
Course Structure and Awards
Timetable Options
TTS-A - The Principles of Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences
TTS-B - The Application of Transfusion and Transplantation Science
TTS-C - Transfusion and Transplantation Science in Action
TTS-D - Research Methods and Biostatistics
TTS-E - Research Project
 

Background

This course is arranged jointly by the University of Bristol Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences. The proposal to establish this course arose in 1996 when a faculty of 20 colleagues identified a need for formal training in this area of clinical medicine both within Europe and also in developing countries. Transfusion and transplantation practice is widely regarded as being of the highest standard in the UK; NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is regarded as second to none. Bristol is the ideal location for the course because the city is host to the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory, NHSBT Filton Blood Centre, the University of Bristol Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences. Bristol hospitals are internationally renowned centres for kidney, cornea and haemopoietic stem cell transplantation. These organisations provide a core of excellence in the city from which students can benefit. 

 

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Aims and Objectives of the Course

The course provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas: 

  • The scientific principles of immunology, microbiology, haematology and medical technology which underlie the practice of transfusion and transplantation.
  • How these principles are applied to contemporary clinical and laboratory practice both for service provision and research.
  • The evidence for use, and limitations of, the common procedures used in the diagnosis and management of patients and donors.
  • The principles of quality management
  • The principles of health and safety management
  • Ethical issues in transfusion and transplantation
  • Biostatistical methods
  • Use of the library, the Internet and other research and educational tools
  • Systematic literature review, literature search strategies and the principles of meta-analysis.
  • The principles of research methods

Intellectual skills and attributes of students will be developed so they will be able to 

  • Critically review published papers, summarising and analysing the findings
  • Plan, conduct and report a programme of original research with a defined aim and a structured design that addresses this aim
  • Apply biostatistical methods to problems arising in transfusion and transplantation.
  • Recognise when a process or test is out of control, suggest possible reasons for this and select an appropriate solution from a range of alternatives
  • Have a basic knowledge of other disciplines related to transfusion and transplantation science in order to be able to integrate information into a wider context
  • Evaluate and question current practices in terms of cost, health benefit, regulatory requirements and feasibility

Practical and transferable skills of students will be developed so they will be able to:

  • Plan and execute safely a series of experiments
  • Analyse experimental results and determine their strength and validity
  • Give scientific presentations to a small group
  • Use the scientific literature effectively
  • Take notes effectively
  • Communicate effectively in writing and verbally
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and statistical software packages
  • Work as a member of a team
  • Learn effectively and independently in the spirit of critical enquiry
  • Manage resources and time

The course is not a clinical course and there is no access to or contact with patients.

 

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Facilities in Bristol

The course is based at the new Filton Blood Centre. The Academic Centre has a fully-equipped lecture room, a dedicated computer suite for e-learning and a well-stocked library. Laboratory facilities are available for some of the practical classes.

The Filton Blood Centre is to the north of the city of Bristol and is a new building, the largest blood processing centre in the world. The building is the home of the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences and the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory. 

The main University of Bristol campus is in the centre of Bristol about 8km south of Filton Centre. There you will find the main University medical library and Student's Union. Students are able to use the sporting, leisure and cultural facilities available at the University. Students are also able to use the library facilities at Southmead Hospital (3km).

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Course Structure and Awards

Three options are available: Master of Science degree in Transfusion and Transplantation Science, Postgraduate Diploma in Transfusion and Transplantation Science and Postgraduate Certificate in Transfusion and Transplantation Science. 

Five course units are available. Units A, B and D are taught units, unit C is a practical unit and unit E is a research project. For the MSc, all five units are mandatory and must be passed. For the award of Diploma, successful completion of units A, B, C and D is mandatory. For the award of Certificate, successful completion of units A and B is required.

Timetable Options

The three awards can be studied either on a full-time or part-time basis. 

The full time option extends over one year (three terms for MSc, two terms for Diploma and Certificate) of study in Bristol. The taught Units are studied in the Autumn (October - December) and Spring (January - March) terms, with one ten week block in each term. The project Unit E is completed in the Summer (June - August) term. 

The part-time option extends over two or three years. There are two 2-week blocks in the Autumn Term and two 2-week blocks in the Spring Term of each of the first two years. In year three the students complete a research project (Unit E) at their place of work. Students on the two-year part-time course have an intensive final year because the research project Unit E must be completed at their place of work in addition to the normal part-time timetable.

Final examinations are held in April. The final oral presentation of the research project is in August.

The part-time option is intended primarily for employees of the NHS and NHSBT. Overseas applicants will normally be offered only the full time option. The course runs from October each year and the total number of students admitted to the course each year is limited to 16 students.

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Details of the Course Units

TTS-A - The Principles of Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences

This Unit provides the basic science that underpins the applied and clinical aspects of transfusion and  transplantation sciences encountered in the other units. 

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The Unit is taught mainly by informal lectures given by Faculty or visiting expert lecturers. This is supported by weekly tutorials and revision sessions. There is also a weekly formative assessment comprising a short-answer test on the topics covered during the week.

Methods of Assessment

Assessment for the Unit comprises two 2500 word assignments (20 marks each), an essay question examination (2 hours) (40 marks) and a short essay / multiple choice examination (1 hour) (20 marks).

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TTS-B - The Application of Transfusion and Transplantation Science

This Unit will provide the essential knowledge needed to apply the basic science covered in Unit A to contemporary clinical and laboratory practice both for service and research. 

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The Unit is taught mainly by informal lectures given by Faculty or visiting expert lecturers. This is supported by weekly tutorials and revision sessions. There is also a weekly formative assessment comprising a short-answer test on the topics covered during the week.

Methods of Assessment

Assessment for the Unit comprises two 2500 word assignments (20 marks each), an essay question examination (2 hours) (40 marks) and a short essay / multiple choice examination (1 hour) (20 marks).

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TTS-C - Transfusion and Transplantation Science in Action

The Unit seeks to exploit Bristolís unique ability to provide access to centres of excellence, including labs with major research programmes in transfusion and transplantation sciences, and labs involved in routine provision of transfusion and transplantation services. This practically-based module will place students in research and routine laboratories at the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences, the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory, the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Bristol Blood Centre. The Unit will expose the students to a wide range of research activities and state of the art diagnostic services. The Unit will help the students identify and prepare for a research project later in the academic year. 

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The Unit comprises practical sessions presented as hands-on practicals or demonstrations. Some of these practicals will take place in a teaching lab, others will involve groups of 3 or more students spending time in a research or service lab where various techniques and procedures will be described and demonstrated. 

Students will also participate in a Journal Club where experience in speaking to a small audience will be gained. 

Methods of Assessment

Assessment for the Unit comprises writing up the practical sessions in a log-book.

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TTS-D - Research Methods and Biostatistics

This unit provides the principles of basic and intermediate statistical methods that are required to design a research study, interpret published data and to analyse new data generated from clinical and laboratory research. Project Management and Preparing a Grant Application are also studied.

Methods of Teaching and Learning

The Unit comprises two full weeks of study. The Unit is taught mainly by informal lectures and practical sessions given by Faculty or visiting expert lecturers. This is supported by end of  week tutorial and revision sessions.

Methods of Assessment

Assessment for the Unit comprises two assignments of 2000 words (25 marks each) and a written examination (50 marks).

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TTS-E - Research Project

The unit enables students to develop an appreciation of the nature of biomedical research and the scientific method. The unit therefore complements the taught aspects of the course.

Methods of Teaching and Learning

Full-time students will spend around 3 months full-time during the summer term undertaking a short research project. Each project will  be supervised by an experienced research scientist from the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences, the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory, the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine or the Bristol Blood Centre. Students will be encouraged to discuss the available projects with the supervisors in order to select a project for investigation. Tutorials will provide support and guidance in areas such as hypothesis setting, experimental design, research statistics, scientific writing and project regulations (research ethics, health and safety). 

Part-time students will undertake the project over the course of their final year. This will be in their place of work providing that the project selected and facilities available are approved and adequately supervised.

Methods of Assessment

The Unit will be assessed by an assignment comprising a review of the literature pertaining to the chosen project (20 marks). The project work itself will be written up in the form of a Thesis, incorporating the literature review as an introduction. The Thesis (excluding literature review) will contribute 60 marks. Finally the student will defend the Thesis by giving an oral presentation to Faculty, the External Examiner, supervisors and other students (20 marks).

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