BSc (Med Sci) & BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Specialist Course 4: Molecular Pathology MED4043

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course is intended to demonstrate how recent advances in genomics and molecular technologies can help elucidating the disease processes so that future clinicians are better equipped to make decisions on disease management based on the scientific evidence and to participate in research. It will focus on topics which are of central importance in delivering precision medicine to patients, i.e., understanding of molecular pathology of disease, provision of molecular diagnoses, and research of drug targets and biomarkers. 


On average approximately 6 x 1.5 hour sessions per week in Semester One, and 2 x 1.5 hour session per week in Semester 2.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Actively enrolled in an MBChB or BDS and normally have successfully completed at least the first 3 years.  Exceptionally, some external students from specific partner institutions may join the course after completion of two years of MBChB or BDS (or equivalent); however award of the intercalated degree will be withheld until they have subsequently completed the required number of additional credits (or equivalent) at their home institution.

Recommended Entry Requirements

Will normally be placed within the top 50% of the year and have demonstrated good academic progress.

Excluded Courses



BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Core Course

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Research Project

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Statistics



65% written examination in April/May

35% review essay completed during 2nd semester

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to provide students with an introduction to:

■ the molecular mechanisms important in the regulation of normal physiological processes and in diseases;

■ the underlying principles of genomics and molecular technologies relevant to molecular pathology research and diagnosis;

■ and the processes of drug discovery, clinical trials and biomarker identification.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Compare and contrast normal and disease conditions via detailed explanation of the biological processes of gene regulation, the origins and consequences of molecular alterations at genetic, protein and cellular levels.

2. Critically evaluate the applications, principles and limitations of molecular techniques relevant to molecular pathology diagnosis and research.

3. Appraise the processes of drug discovery and clinical trials, and their relationship to identification of biomarkers used in disease stratification and personalised medicine.

4. Critically discuss the utility of specific molecular tests, and assess the ethical issues surrounding the molecular pathology research and diagnosis.

5. Assess the importance of the multidisciplinary team approach in implementing molecular pathology in the clinics.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.

Attendance of at least 80% of lectures and tutorials is mandatory along with active participation in the seminar and other teaching opportunities.