PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION

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1 PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION 1 Awarding Institution: University of Exeter 2 School(s)/Teaching Institution: School of Biosciences 3 Programme accredited/validated by: 4 Final Award(s): MSc Medical Informatics (C777); Diploma in Medical Informatics (D777) 5 Programme Title: Medical Informatics 6 UCAS Code (if relevant): None (Taught PG programme) 7 NQF Level of Final Award(s): M level 8 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group: N/A 9 Date of Production/Revision: Programme variant of MSc Bioinformatics (C542) (originally approved in April 1999; latest revision June 2007) 10 Programme Structures and Requirements, Levels, Modules, Credits and Awards The programme starts in October of each year. The MSc programme consists of six months of taught modules and a six-month research project. MSc students must take eight of the following modules: BIOM501-BIOM504, BIOM510, SOCM966 or BIOM506 (90 credits), together with BIOM507 (30 credits) and BIOM308 (60 credits) 180 credits in total. Diploma students must take the following seven modules: BIOM501-BIOM504, BIOM510, SOCM966 or BIOM506 (90 credits) and BIOM507 (30 credits) 120 credits in total. MSc/MRes BIOM502 Bioinformatics Tools & Techniques (15 credits) BIOM503 Introduction to Molecular Biology (15 credits) BIOM504 Biological Sequence Analysis & Structural Bioinformatics (15 credits) BIOM510 Quantitative Research Methods in Health (15 credits) BIOM509 Professional Skills (15 credits) BIOM507 Research Methods in Bioinformatics (30) BIOM508 Masters Research Project in Bioinformatics (60) And BIOM506 Genomics, Transcriptomics and Proteomics (15 credits) or SOCM966 Introduction to Genomics in Society (15 credits) Diploma BIOM , BIOM510, SOCM966 OR BIOM506, BIOM507

2 11 Educational Aims of the Programme AIMS The aims of the MSc and Diploma are: 1. to provide students with a detailed and comprehensive overview of computational and scientific developments in medical informatics, including novel data storage and handling techniques, experimental design methods, pattern search techniques through Perl, web authoring and programming through Java and related tools; 2. to enable students to critically assess and evaluate novel computational and statistical methods for use in medical informatics, including genetic algorithms and pattern recognition techniques, information systems; 3. to cover current uses of medical informatics in biotechnology so that students can see how bioinformatics is applied to the medical, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries; 4. to provide students with the knowledge so that they are able to assess and evaluate ethical issues related to medical informatics, including argumentation and discourse forms, philosophy of science, ethical frameworks; 5. to enable students to critically assess and evaluate future technologies for medical informatics. In addition, the MSc research project will give students an opportunity to undertake a substantial, individually motivated and practically oriented piece of work which allows them to apply their knowledge to real-life problems in the biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology domains as well as to apply biologically inspired computational techniques to computational and engineering problems. Many of the projects will be research-based, industry-based or industry problem-oriented. There is also scope for major theoretical breakthroughs in generic methods for protein folding prediction, novel machine learning techniques for biosequence data, and novel database management and storage techniques. See for further information.

3 12 Programme Outcomes (a) Subject knowledge and skills MSc Students: After completing a six month project on a medical informatics topic, students will have a deep knowledge of this aspect of medical informatics. This experience will prepare them for a future research career in the medical informatics/bioinformatics field. The taught course will ensure that they have a solid background in the tools and techniques of medical informatics so that they can critically evaluate research in this ever-changing field. They will be expert tool users, able to apply their knowledge to learn apply new tools rapidly. Diploma Students: Diploma students do not undertake a research project (but do complete a substantial subjectspecific literature review within the framework of the Research Methodology module) and so, while they have research experience in medical informatics, it is not at the depth of the MSc students. While diploma students are prepared for jobs in the field of medical informatics, this qualification is not aimed at making them independent researchers. The taught course will ensure that they have a solid background in the tools and techniques of medical informatics so that they can critically evaluate research in this ever-changing field. They will be expert tool users, able to apply their knowledge to learn apply new tools rapidly. (b) Core academic skills MSc and Diploma Students All students will have become experts at using the internet as an information resource. They will be able to critically analyze and evaluate the scientific literature. Students will be able to design and carry out experiments and to follow scientific method. Students will have successfully given written and oral presentations of their work. (c) Personal and key skills MSc and Diploma Students Students will have successfully managed their own learning. Students will have managed their time successfully. Students will have worked effectively both as a team and individually. (d) Confirmation of conformity with the relevant subject benchmark statement, or rationale for non-conformity Currently there are no subject benchmarks for this taught PG programme, but the programme will conform to any that are introduced.

4 13 Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods The assessment policy for the programme is strongly related to the programme s teaching and learning policy. Students receive formative feedback from various in-lecture and workshop exercises throughout the delivery of a module. Every module, except for Introduction to Genomics in Society (HPSM966), is assessed by at least two forms of assessment either during the module or at the end of the module. Students therefore receive continuous feedback as they progress through the programme and receive feedback on whether module objectives have been achieved. This allows students to better manage their own learning. Successful completion of a module s assessments ensures that students are adequately prepared for material later in the programme. Any referrals will be held in April or May and will require students to submit pieces of work, which demonstrate that they have achieved the required learning outcomes of failed modules. As assessment is continuous throughout the course, there is therefore no formal period of examination. With regard to the research project, which is written-up as a research paper for a named scientific journal, the assessment policy is innovative and has received favourable reaction from students, supervisory staff and research councils. The preparation of a journal article summarising the research undertaken, rather than a traditional dissertation, is designed to test the student s core academic skills. The assessment strategy for each module is explicitly stated in the full module descriptions given to students. Group and team skills are addressed within modules dealing with specialist and advanced skills, and adequate preparation for team skills is achieved through the Generic and Transferable skills module delivered early in the programme.

5 12 & 13 Programme Outcomes and Teaching, Learning & Assessment Methods On successfully completing the programme, a graduate should be able to demonstrate: A Subject knowledge skills (as defined above) Teaching/learning methods and strategies Lectures, workshops, online materials and course multimedia CDs. Each module also has a core text or set of research papers which provides in depth coverage of the subject and goes beyond the lectures. Assessment Assessment methods include essays, closed book MCQ tests, exercises in problem solving, use of the Web for tool-based analysis, database searching and investigation, mini-projects and individual (BIOM501, BIOM507, BIOM508) and group (BIOM501) presentations. B Core Academic Skills (as defined above) Teaching/learning methods and strategies Formal training is done through the transferable skills modules, but the students will continue to develop these skills throughout the course, especially in the project module. Assessment Assessment of these skills comes throughout the course as part of the module assessments, all of which test some aspect of core academic skills. The final assessment of the students core academic skills are the project deliverables a journal paper and oral presentation. C Personal and Key Skills (as defined above) Teaching/learning methods and strategies Formal teaching of Personal and Key Skills is primarily through the transferable skills module and the research project, though all modules train students in managing their own time and learning. Assessment

6 Effective management of time and learning are essential for a student to deliver a good project and so the student will develop these skills during the course with this aim in mind.

7 14 Support for Students and Students Learning The University Library maintains its principal collections in the main library buildings on the Streatham and St Luke s campuses, together with a large library at Camborne School of Mines and a number of specialist collections in certain Schools. The total Library collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions. Information Technology (IT) Services provide a wide range of services throughout the University including open access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Additionally, some Schools have their own dedicated facilities. Helpdesks are maintained on the Streathan-4 St Luke s and CSM campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University s campus network. It is University policy that all Schools should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors for their students. A University-wide statement on such provision is included in the University s TQA Manual The University provides a wide range of student support services including: - Student Counselling Service - Study Skills Service - Student Advice Centre (Guild of Students) - International Office - Student Health Centres - Nursery (Streatham campus) - Chaplaincy - English and Foreign Language Centres - Disability Resource Centre Every student receives the personal and academic support of the Director and Deputy Director. The students are located in the Bioinformatics Laboratory for the majority of their programme, where close working relationships are formed. The Director and Deputy Director discuss student progress after each assessment to identify potential problems and to offer further guidance and support to students. Module leaders and deliverers adopt a tutorial role during the delivery of blocked modules. Individual project supervisors offer tutorial, academic and technical support once students move on to the research element of the programme. Additionally, the Bioinformatics Laboratory (which accommodates both the Bioinformatics and the Medical Informatics masters programmes), situated in the Hatherly Building, has its own specialist 24-hour computing facilities, with one machine per student, as well as an in house library containing most of the required texts for various modules, available for short-term loan. The main University Library and IT Services are also available to students, as are Guild support services. Students elect two members to serve on the Bioinformatics/Medical Informatics inter-school Board of Studies (consisting of all staff who teach on the programme and chaired by the Director), which fulfils the role of a student-staff liaison committee and meets every term to discuss issues of quality control, quality assurance, programme revisions, student feedback and future directions. Minutes of the Board of Studies are sent to the Teaching Committees within each of the contributing Schools. Student progress is maintained on a spreadsheet, and students can receive an up-to-date record of their achievements (marks subject to approval by the Board of Examiners) at any stage for job application and monitoring purposes. The University Careers Advisory Service provides expert advice to all students to enable them to plan their futures, through guidance interviews, psychometric testing, employer presentations, skills events, practice job interviews and CV preparation

8 15 Admission Criteria The programmes are available to graduates in any science discipline (minimum entry qualification is a 2(ii), or equivalent). Applications from graduates in non-scientific disciplines will be considered, provided that (a) their first degree contains a significant empirical component (e.g. data analysis, mathematical modelling, experimental design and construction) and project, and (b) such graduates have attained a 2(i) or equivalent on their first degree. 16 Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards Each academic programme in the university is subject to an agreed School assessment marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures. The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the external examiner appointed for the programme. Their responsibilities are described in the University s code for External Examiners and include both access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. Attendance at the Board of Examiners and the provision of an annual report are both required. Clear procedures are also in place for the monitoring of these annual reports at both School and University level. See the University s TQA manual for details of these processes (http://www.ex.ac.uk/admin/academic/tls/tqa/). 17 Indicators of Quality and Standards The University and its constituent Schools draw on a range of data in their regular review of the quality of provision. The annually produced Performance Indicator Dataset details admission, progression, completion and first career destination data, including comparisons over a five year period. 18 Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards The University has procedures in place for regular review of its educational provision, including the annual review of both modules and programmes which draw on feedback from such sources as external examiner s reports, student feedback, student achievement and progression data. In addition, subject areas are reviewed every three years through a subject and programme quality review scheme that includes external input. These procedures are recorded in codes of practice contained in the TQA manual. There is a Board of Studies, which meets every term and during the research project phase (4 meetings a year), that monitors teaching quality, including student feedback and student progression dfb/teaching/progspec7

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