Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Applied Genomics


This module will provide a framework for the ethical understanding of medical genomics and gives an opportunity to explore the ethical, legal and social issues involved in genomic testing and the wider implications for the patient and their families.

Course Description

The module aims to provide a framework for ethical understanding of medical genomics.

Students will be provided with a platform of ethical understanding from which to consider issues of human confidentiality, autonomy, disclosure, informed consent and natural justice. Upon this platform, students will consider the impact of genomic technologies on individual lives and those of demographic and ethnic groupings. The social implications of the availability of genetic testing and screening will be considered, especially in the context of reproductive technologies. Finally students will be provided with a legal framework for patenting of genetic information as well as the use of genetic data for research, diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Outline Of Syllabus

  • Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) for genomic medicine – confidentiality, autonomy, disclosure, informed consent, natural justice
  • Effects of opportunistic predictive, incidental or uncertain-significance results
  • Impact of genomic testing on individuals, and demographic and ethnic differences
  • Social implications of genetic testing and screening, particularly in the context of human reproduction
  • Legal aspects of genomic information in relation to diagnostic, therapeutic, and research use and patenting of genomic information and tests
  • Obtaining ethical approval for research projects
  • Specific ELSI issues as applied to clinical pathways.

Additional information

Type of Course

CPPD Module

Course Options

CPPD (15 credits)

Mode of Study





Part Time

University Providers

Imperial College London, Newcastle University, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, University of Exeter, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton


Start Date 1Start Date 2
University of Birmingham June 2017TBC
Newcastle UniversityTBC
University of ManchesterTBC
University of SheffieldTBC
Imperial College LondonTBC
Queen Marys University of London / University College LondonTBC
St George’s, University of London / King’s College LondonTBC
University of CambridgePlease check with university
University of SouthamptonTBCTBC
University of ExeterOctober 2017

Please check the university providers websites for more detailed information about start dates, length and mode of study.

Funding Rules

Funding is limited to NHS healthcare professionals working in England from the full range of professional backgrounds and groups (such as medicine, nursing, healthcare scientists and technologists).  For those interested in CPPD modules, university entry requirements may include criteria around existing understanding and minimum English language requirements.

The Genomics Education Programme are limiting funding to a maximum of 3 stand alone modules in any one academic year. If your intention is to build up credits for a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert), a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) or to gradually work towards a full Master’s, please apply for funding from the Masters in Genomic Medicine.

Not all universities offer the same CPPD modules. Please check with your preferred university to obtain details of the programme modules, entry criteria and timing before going through the funding application process.

The funding application process in full

To apply for HEE-funded CPPD modules in Genomic Medicine you will need to first apply to the Genomics Education Programme for funding to cover the module fees and you will also need to go through the CPPD module application process with your chosen university.

CPPD module applications will need to be made directly to the individual university concerned, according to their own criteria and processes.

The process for applying comprises 6 steps. Please complete all of steps 1 to 4 to ensure your application is dealt with as quickly as possible.

  1. First, check that you are eligible for HEE Master’s funding according to the funding rules outlined above.
  2. You should then decide which of the universities you will be applying to. A full list university providers are identified below. Click on their logos for more information.
  3. You should discuss your proposed application, as well as your application for HEE funding with your line manager.
  4. Having secured your manager’s approval to undertake the Master’s module(s), you should complete the appropriate university application process in addition to the HEE funding application.
  5. HEE Genomics Education Programme will assess completed funding applications within two weeks of receipt of your managers approval. Funding decisions will be made by the Genomics Education Programme team and ratified by the Senior Responsible Officer.
  6. If funding is approved, HEE Genomics Education Programme will inform:
    1. The applicant
    2. The employer
    3. The relevant training lead within the applicant’s HEE Local Education and Training Board
    4. The applicant’s NHS England Genomic Medicine Centre (where applicable).

Frequently Asked Questions

The NHS trust that employs me is not part of a designated Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC). Can I still apply for funding?


I have been awarded funding, started the programme but I am unable to complete the programme. What are my options?

Funding is awarded for the period specified in the application form and there is no automatic ability to defer completion of the programme. You should speak to your preferred University provider in the first instance about your situation and also contact the Genomics Education Programme team regarding funding.

You may choose to reduce the workload of your programme by switching from a full MSc to a Diploma or Certificate. See the relevant pages of this website for more information or contact your course provider.

How much study time is required to undertake this programme?

Study time will vary across the delivery partners. You are advised to visit your preferred University website site for more information or to contact the relevant course lead. Most modules generally involve approximately 5 days of face to face teaching, followed by between 2-4 weeks of independent study and assessment preparation.

A distance learning option is provided at Queen Mary University of London.

Can I build up my CPPD modules to a full Master’s, PGDip or PGCert qualification?

The process and ability to do this will be dependent on your preferred University and you should contact them to discuss available options.

Is there any funding provision for students due to complete after September 2018?

Our current funding programme runs until 2018 and all taught modules must be completed by the end of September 2018 to be eligible for HEE funding. Research modules must be completed by the end of March 2019. Courses must also be completed within the time limits stated for each course. You can defer your course if required as long as you complete by the above dates but please be aware that universities may not be able to offer a place at a later date due to demand. Please take this up with your course provider and let us know if you defer your place for any reason.

I am eligible but have been refused a commissioned place – why?

This may be due to the following potential reasons:

  • The University you have applied for has used up all its commissioned allocations
  • The total number of available national commissions have been fully allocated
  • We are now applying controls to the commissioned places based on healthcare profession roles to provide some equitable access across professions on a national scale
I am not eligible for a HEE funded commissioned place – can I self-fund?

This should be discussed with your preferred University

Do you have to have the university place confirmed before you submit an application for funding?

No – as long as the programme start date for your preferred University falls within the specified academic year for the funding application period.

I work for an organisation that provides services to the NHS – am I eligible to apply?

Yes – please provide details in the additional information section of the funding application form.

University Providers

The logos below indicate the university providers that are ready to receive applications for this course. Follow the links provided to begin your university application process.

Imperial College LondonNewcastle UniversityUniversity of BirminghamUniversity of CambridgeUniversity of ExeterUniversity of ManchesterUniversity of SheffieldUniversity of Southampton