MSc Clinical Biochemistry / Overview

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:

Unit code MEDN61800
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Division of Medical Education
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit will equip students with a detailed understanding of the biochemical consequences of common disorders of the major endocrine glands (adrenal medulla, endocrine pancreas, pituitary gland, etc). This will include a comprehensive appreciation of the key role hormones play in the regulation of tissue/organ function and whole body homeostasis. This unit will also supply students with the knowledge of the methodologies available to monitor endocrine function and the understanding and skills to enable them to evaluate and interpret data obtained using these tools. 


The unit aims to:

  • provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the common disorders of the major endocrine organs of the body.

  • equip students with an in depth appreciation of the role biochemical investigation plays in the assessment and diagnosis of patients with common endocrine disorders.

  • enable students to interpret biochemical data obtained from the investigation of endocrine function.


Teaching and learning methods

This unit employs a range of teaching and learning approaches including: lecturers, tutorials, case studies/presentations, flipped learning and data analysis and interpretation exercises. Initially the involvement of e-learning will be restricted to online formative assessments. However, the goal is to generate on-line teaching material to support the face to face teaching. The online material will support the acquisition of knowledge and understanding by promoting problem-based learning through interactive material, exercises and self-assessment tools.


Knowledge and understanding

Students will have or be able to:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the synthesis, secretion, metabolism and modes of action of hormones

  • Knowledge and understanding of the clinical and laboratory investigation of common endocrine disorders

  • Describe the use of negative feedback systems and dynamic function tests to differentiate primary and secondary endocrine disorders

  • Understand the design, operation and performance of the approaches used to measure hormones

  • Understand the causes, classification and investigation of diabetes mellitus

  • Describe the design, operation and performance of the laboratory and point of care methods employed in the screening, diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes mellitus.

Intellectual skills

Students will have or be able to:

  • Critically analyse and interpret data obtained from the biochemical investigation of endocrine function.
  • Critically analyse and interpret data relating to the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes mellitus.
  • Critically compare, contrast and evaluate the performance of new and established analytical technologies for the assessment of endocrine function and the investigation and diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
  • Employ critical thinking and reflection to formulate appropriate strategies for the diagnosis of common endocrine disorders, including diabetes mellitus based on the biochemical investigation of endocrine function.

Practical skills

Students will have or be able to:

  • Retrieve, manage and collate information from primary and secondary sources.

  • Present information clearly in the form of verbal and written reports.

  • Communicate complex ideas and arguments in a clear, concise and effective manner.

  • Manage personal workload and objectives to achieve optimal personal performance.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will have or be able to:

  • Effectively utilise a range of information sources including information technology / health informatics.

  • Demonstrate capacity for self-learning and independent thinking and utilise problem solving skills.

  • Demonstrate effective communication skills (verbal and written).

  • Be able to set priorities and link these with effective time management.

  • Critically evaluate their personal performance both as an individual and within a team.

  • Demonstrate skills in working collegiately and effectively with others as a member of a team.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Marks will be provided online within 3-4 weeks of assessment deadline.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Philip Macdonald Unit coordinator
Helen Jopling Unit coordinator

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