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The MSc in Biomedical Engineering at Keele is a multidisciplinary course that will prepare you for an exciting career across a wide range of areas of engineering in medicine, be that in academic or industrial research, the medical devices sector or in the clinical arena. The course is professionally accredited and suitable for people with both engineering and life science backgrounds, including medicine and subjects allied to medicine.
Course Director: Dr Ed Chadwick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Studying Biomedical Engineering at Keele
The course will cover the fundamentals of engineering in medicine, introduce you to the latest developments in medical technology, and expose you to the challenges of working with patients through clinical visits. Learning and teaching methods include lectures and demonstrations from medical and engineering specialists, practical classes using state-of-the-art facilities and seminars with leading national and international researchers.
Graduate destinations for our students could include: delivering non-clinical services and technology management in a hospital; designing, developing and manufacturing medical devices in the private sector; working for a governmental regulatory agency for healthcare services and products; undertaking further postgraduate study and research (PhD); pursuing a university-based, academic research career; or providing technical consultancy for marketing departments.
Full-time study will see the course completed in 12 months; part-time study will allow you to complete it over two years.
Course Accreditation by Professional Body
The course is accredited by the Institute for Physics and Engineering in Medicine, whose aims are to ensure that graduates of accredited programmes are equipped with the knowledge and skills for the biomedical engineering workplace, be that in industry, healthcare or academic environments. Accreditation gives you confidence that the course meets strict suitability and quality criteria for providing Masters-level education in this field.
About the department
Now delivered through the Keele Medical School and the Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, the course dates as far back as 1999, when it was established in partnership with Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics at the University Hospital. Most teaching now takes place in the Guy Hilton Research Centre, a dedicated research facility located on the hospital campus. The medical school is one of the top-ranked in the UK, and the research institute has an international reputation for world-leading research.
The centre was opened in 2006 and offers state-of-the-art equipment for translational research including newly-developed diagnostic instruments, advanced imaging modalities and additive manufacturing facilities. Its location adjacent to the university hospital ensures that students experience real-world patient care and the role that technology plays in that. Students also have access to advanced equipment for physiological measurement, motion analysis and functional assessment in other hospital and campus-based laboratories. The School embraces specialists working in UHNM and RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital Oswestry, covering key medical and surgical subspecialties.
The course runs alongside its sister course, the MSc in Cell and Tissue Engineering, and an EPSRC and MRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training, ensuring a stimulating academic environment for students and many opportunities for engaging with further study and research.
Aims of the Course
The aim of the course is to provide multidisciplinary Masters level postgraduate training in Biomedical Engineering to prepare students for future employment in healthcare, industrial and academic environments. This involves building on existing undergraduate knowledge in basic science or engineering and applying it to core principles and current issues in medicine and healthcare.
Specifically, the objectives of the course are to:
provide postgraduate-level education leading to professional careers in biomedical engineering in industry, academia and a wide range of healthcare establishments such as medical organisations, medical research institutions and hospitals;
provide an opportunity for in-depth research into specialist and novel areas of biomedical and clinical engineering;
expose students to practical work in a hospital environment with hands-on knowledge of patient care involving technological developments at the forefront of the field;
introduce students to exciting new fields such as regenerative medicine and novel technologies for physiological monitoring and diagnostics.
We welcome applications from people with a first or second-class degree (or equivalent) in engineering, physical or life sciences, medicine, or professions allied to medicine. We also welcome enquiries from people with other professional qualifications acceptable to the University.
For international applicants, an English language IELTS score of 6.5 is required.
For the MSc route, students are required to successfully complete 120 credits of Core and Elective modules and a 60-credit research dissertation.
Engineering for Medical Applications*
This module will cover the fundamentals of mechanics, electronics and electromagnetism necessary to understand the application of engineering principles to medicine and biology. This will enable students from varying backgrounds and career paths to transition into the advanced topics covered in the core and specialist modules in biomedical engineering. In addition to the lectures, students will take part in a workshop-based project to apply the theory they have learned to practical measurement.
*Students may be able to gain a waiver if a sufficient level of prior learning can be evidenced.
Human Anatomy and Physiology*
This module gives students the fundamental knowledge in human physiology and anatomy allowing them to understand structure and function of major tissue types and organs. Students from differing backgrounds will be brought up to a basic level of understanding such that they can progress onto more advanced topics in future studies. The module is intended to set the foundation in a biological context to support the advanced topics in other modules.
*Students may be able to gain a waiver if a sufficient level of prior learning can be evidenced.
This module draws in the basic principles of biological sensing within the research and clinical environments. Device design and engineering principles are discussed, with hands-on assessment of several devices commonly used within clinical practice. Students will gain an appreciation for sensor device and/or biological test selection, based on patient sampling methods, accuracy and time restraints/requirements. A number of anatomical structures will be evaluated focussing on their use to measure physiological properties, such as auditory and renal systems. Instrumentation used by medics to assess such systems will be discussed in detail. A series of lectures and tutorials will bring the student to a level at which they can evaluate the selection options for physiological measurement usage.
Medical Equipment and Technology Services Management
This module will give students insight into the technology management processes used in clinical settings that allow healthcare provider to make the best use of their resources. They will learn about the role of clinical engineers in ensuring the safe and effective management of medical equipment and the benefits and obligations of the various stakeholders operating within the clinical governance framework.
Medical Device Design Principles
Students will gain an understanding of the systems engineering approach to medical device design, including the role of ergonomics in the design of safe and reliable medical devices. Students will learn the importance of standards and regulations for medical device design and gain an overview of aspects of the mechanical, electrical and software components of medical devices.
Biomedical Signal Processing
In this module students will learn the fundamentals of signal and image processing and learn to apply theory to practical examples of biomedical signals. They will use an advanced software package to assist in the analysis of biomedical signals, and learn to interpret complex signals in the context of physiological function.
Experimental Research Methodology
The Experimental Research Methodology Module gives students the skill set that is required for their development in a scientific career; from learning how to take notes in research seminars allowing them to write a comprehensive literature review in that area, to making sure they are efficient with their time in written examinations by giving them the chance to mark practice questions and decide where the marks should be given. The module brings together elements of professional development that should not be overlooked. A range of seminars, workshops and taught classes are timetabled during which students will have the opportunity to learn first-hand a range of skills necessary for them to achieve their best in their Masters programme. Classes on statistics will further support students in other theoretical and practical aspects of their course.
This module offers students an applied perspective on biomechanics at an advanced level. To support the theoretical concepts taught within the module across a number of different tissue types, a practical understanding is also given through an experimental workshop. Assessment is taken through a write-up of the practical session and a final unseen written examination.
This module encompasses a multidisciplinary approach to the field of biomaterials, with a view of materials from their physical and chemical properties to how they interact with biological tissues during implantation. Students will learn how assessment of materials is made within the clinic and how material properties can be altered/ engineered to produce better biomaterials.
Analysis of biological processes is of the utmost importance for many research, clinical and industrial processes. This module delivers a lecture and workshop series spanning the basic design and engineering concepts of biosensors to the use of these for in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo biological assessment. Students will be able to understand the design constraints of biosensors and the limitations of current technologies. State-of-the-art research is discussed throughout the module to bring in new concepts of the most recent advances in this area.
Nanomagnetics in Nanomedicine
Within the emerging field of nanomedicine a sub-field of nanomagnetics is playing a major role in the development of new technologies for the assessment and therapeutic treatment of biological tissues. This module delivers a series of lectures from multidisciplinary experts working at the interface of physics and biology. Theoretical concepts of nanomagnetism are given, through to the discussion of state-of-the-art research in this field.
Introduction to Medical Imaging
In this module, students will be introduced to a range of medical imaging modalities, and will learn the physical principles underpinning them. They will gain insight into the clinical applications of various imaging modalities, and understand the risks and radiation protection standards applied to them.
Students on this module will gain systematic knowledge on the interrelationship between mechanics and cell biology, and gain some insight into the application of cell biomechanics in cell/tissue engineering and biomedical engineering. They will have the opportunity to apply constitutive models to experimental data and be given an overview of modern techniques for both clinical and in vitro cell biomechanics.
Stem Cells: Types, Characteristics & Applications
This module draws upon the research within the field of stem cell biology to build a knowledge-base from basic principles to therapeutic use of stem cells. As this is a fast-paced field with state-of-the-art research being competitively conducted worldwide, the module brings in the most recent up-to-date information being supported by basic concepts. The lecture series is delivered by leading academic researchers, with practical laboratory work cementing the delivery of taught elements.
Bioreactors and Growth Environments
The Bioreactors and Growth Environments Module is delivered as an intensive course over 3-4 days. The course covers the design and functionality of all bioreactor aspects for use in regenerative medicine. This includes the construction and different methods used to assess different sorts of tissue types grown within the bioreactors. Students will be informed about the growth environments for engineering tissues for transplantation, as well as being introduced to the subject of quality standards for growth environments in tissue production.
Cell and Tissue Engineering
In a rapidly expanding area of research and industrial interest, cell and tissue engineering promises to change the way clinicians deliver therapies and treat disorders of various kinds. Students will gain evidence based knowledge in cell and tissue engineering concepts, and learn current techniques for applying and evaluating stimulus to cells. They will be introduced to current concepts and methods in cell and tissue engineering.
Molecular Techniques: Applications in Tissue Engineering
This module covers all major aspects of current methods used for the analytical assessment of biological tissues. State-of-the-art techniques are taught, from the basic principles through to a laboratory-based practical for hands-on training. Students will be given advanced training from academic researchers who have links into clinical evaluation of patient samples. This will allow student to appreciate the complexity and diversity of methods used within both research laboratories and clinical pathology.
The dissertation is an opportunity for students to undertake laboratory based research in their chosen topic and should demonstrate their understanding of the field via applications in healthcare. During the dissertation period, the student will be assigned a project supervisor, having agreed a research project in discussion with research institute staff. The location for the project may be the research institute, hospital or with an industrial partner.
Teaching and Assessment
Teaching and Learning Methods
The course is taught through subject-centred lectures and seminars, supported by tutorials and practical exercises. Collaborative learning and student-centred learning are also adopted giving widespread opportunity for group work and individual assignments. Students are required to conduct extensive independent study, and this is supported by full access to two libraries, online journal access and a suite of dedicated computers for exclusive use by MSc students on the course. In addition, students are supported by the guidance of a personal tutor within the department, as well as having access to university-wide support services. This includes English language support where appropriate.
Modules will be assessed by a mixture of assessment methods, including lab reports, essays, and presentations, and final examination. This ensures the development of a range of transferrable employability skills such as time management and planning, written and verbal communication and numeracy as well as technical and subject-specific knowledge. The project dissertation forms a major component of the student’s assessed work.
Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate programme.