MSc in surgical technology
Authors: Ragavan Navaratnam
Publication date: 22 Sep 2012
Who is it for?
This postgraduate degree offered by Imperial College London is aimed not only at surgeons hoping to further their knowledge in the subject but also at healthcare professionals interested in the fields of surgery and technology—for example, operating department practitioners and theatre staff.
When did you do it?
I did this course at the start of my core training year 1, opting to do the course part time over two years.
Why did you do it?
I decided to study for an MSc relevant to my chosen field of specialisation to enhance my CV before applying for higher surgical training. The MSc in surgical technology gave me an opportunity to learn and explore new and different aspects of modern surgical practice and to gain a better understanding of the potential future direction of the specialty. Having had limited research experience before doing this course, I found the dissertation element of the degree useful, giving me the opportunity to design, conduct, and write up a research project.
What does it involve?
This masters degree aims to enhance doctors’ knowledge of the technology that is currently in use and of new advances on the horizon. Students will acquire a critical understanding of the issues involved in the application of modern technology to clinical surgery and of new technological challenges faced by the clinician.
The degree programme consists of seven core modules, one optional module, and a dissertation. Each module is a self contained, intensive five day course comprising lectures and practical sessions. Topics covered in the modules include artificial organs and life support, robotics, endoscopy and new technology, minimal access surgery, and surgical skills. There is also a core module in biomedical statistics, which is useful for the upcoming dissertation.
The optional modules allow students to move away from traditional science and explore topics such as healthcare communication, education, law, and ethics.
This masters degree can be taken either part time over two years or full time over one year. For part time students the modules are held over a week at the St Mary’s campus of Imperial College in Paddington, London.
Students develop a research project in conjunction with a supervisor and can tackle any topic of interest. A list of supervisors is available at the start of the degree course.
How much does it cost?
For home and European Union students, the one year full time MSc costs £5000 and the part time course costs £2500 a year. For international students, the fee is £28 500.
Is there an exam?
Five of the core modules and the research module are assessed through an essay, typically 3000 words, and an in-course component, typically a presentation. Each module accounts for 8% of the final mark.
Full time students have an exam at the end of the year; for part time students there are two exams, one at the end of each year. This accounts for 12% of the final mark. The research project and dissertation account for 40% of the final mark.
Was it worth it?
This course was worthwhile. Although doing a part time MSc while working full time was daunting, I enjoyed learning about future innovations in my specialty. The research skills I gained will be useful throughout my career. The course enabled me to develop skills in presenting scientific material to peers and doing literature reviews and helped me to prepare for publications. I believe that I have gained knowledge, new skills, and competencies and increased my chances of securing a higher surgical training post.
Careful consideration should be given to finances and time commitment before starting this course. The full time course can be completed in one year, but that leaves little opportunity to generate income to cover living and other expenses. The part time course requires not only commitment but also a lot of hard work.
Contact the course director, Krishna Moorthy, at email@example.com or go to www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/teaching/postgraduate/surgicaltechnology/.
Competing interests: None declared.
Ragavan Navaratnam core trainee year 2, general surgery
Broomfield Hospital, Essex, UK
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