Cancer Genetics & Genomics
This 11-month programme contains a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous material and is delivered virtually so can be completed anywhere in the world. The programme is interdisciplinary, with the minimum requirement being a degree in a relevant healthcare or biomedical subject. A strong background in basic science is encouraged, and eligible learners should be working at a senior level in a research role or healthcare discipline involving the care of patients with cancer.
Upskill in this growing area
- Learn how to use genomic testing to inform treatment decisions and optimise patient outcomes.
- Understand how to make more informed screening recommendations for higher risk individuals.
- Gain the skills to correctly interpret results from germline, tumour and liquid biopsy tests to inform treatment planning and patient management.
- Understand the ethical and legal considerations when using genomic technology.
Hear from experts in the field
Throughout the duration of the programme, you will learn from a dedicated clinical tutor who will lead weekly tutorials and who will facilitate and moderate discussion board forums for specific elements of the programme.
You will also hear from experts in the field of Cancer Genetics and Genomics as well as having the opportunity to attend the annual live webinar which will provide access to national and international speakers.
Is this course for you?
The programme is aimed at individuals working at a senior level in a research role or healthcare discipline involving the care of patients with cancer.
This programme is also suitable for:
• Medical Oncologists and doctors with an interest in this area or who are training in this area
• Surgeons and surgical trainees
• Radiation Oncologists or doctors training in this area
• Obstetricians/Gynaecologists with an interest in cancer or those in training in this area.
• Pathologists – involved in molecular tumour testing or those interested in genetics
• General Practitioners interested in cancer care
• Public health doctors with an interest in cancer care
• Nurse specialists working in Oncology or cancer care
• Genetic Counsellors
• Clinical Scientists interested in the area of cancer genetics or doctors involved in genetic research
• Paediatricians working with cancer patients
The weekly tutorials will be facilitated by Aisling Hegarty, M.Sc, Research Nurse Manager/PhD Scholar.
Aisling is a specialist breast cancer research nurse with the Endocrine Oncology Research Group at Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre. Working closely with the Breast Family History Clinic in Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre, Aislings’ research is focused on patients with inherited mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Ethics and Law.
What you will learn
You will gain an enhanced understanding of the impact of germline and somatic genetic variation in development, progress, and treatment of cancer, in a programme developed and delivered by recognised experts in the field. You will develop competence and confidence in the recognition, counselling, consenting and testing of patients with germline predisposition to cancer, as well as the interpretation and critical analysis of tumour-based genetic testing and liquid biopsy.
On completion of this programme, you will be able to:
• Explain the molecular mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis
• Discriminate between clinically actionable and non-actionable?germline and/or somatic variants
• Create a plan for investigation in individuals with features suggestive of cancer predisposition syndrome
• Appraise technical aspects and limitations of different genetic testing technologies
• Justify the use of genetic counselling and testing in patient care
• Evaluate the medicolegal and ethical implications of genetic testing
Format of course delivery
This distance learning programme contains six modules with asynchronous and synchronous learning material.
The asynchronous material includes clinical scenarios, guidelines, videos and tutor moderated discussion board forums, while the synchronous material will involve weekly live virtual tutorials led by a dedicated clinical tutor. These tutorials will complement and augment the online material.
Module 1: Fundamentals of DNS Structure, Repair and Variation.
This module enables Learners to advance their knowledge in how our genome is packaged and maintained, and the impact of genomic variation.
Module 2: Molecular Basis of Cancer
This module enables learners to advance their knowledge in the roles of proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, the genomic evolution of cancer, DNA repair mechanisms and the difference between tumour mutation burden, microsatellite instability and mismatch repair deficiency.
Module 3: Genetic Counselling and Practical Considerations for Genetic Testing
This module enables learners to advance their knowledge in Genetic Counselling and the clinical and scientific skills (interpretate molecular tests, appraise medical literature and clinical guidelines) as well as the supportive skills (psychosocial aspect of diagnosis) required.
Module 4: Variant Interpretation
This module enables learners to advance their knowledge in interpretation germline and somatic variants and the different frameworks that have been developed to standardise the approach to variant interpretation in different contexts
Module 5: Inherited Cancer Predisposition
This module enables learners to advance their knowledge in the different cancer predisposition syndromes, the non-malignant features of cancer predisposition syndromes and the differential diagnoses for heritable cancer predisposition.
Module 6: Ethics, Consent and Confidentiality
This module enables learners to advance their knowledge in interpretation germline and somatic variants and the different frameworks that have been developed to standardise the approach to variant interpretation in different contexts.
Exam: July/August 2024.
Mandatory attendance of at least 85% is required for the live tutorials.
Minimum requirements for general learning:
Prospective learners are required to hold an honours degree (level 8) in a relevant healthcare or biomedical subject or equivalent and be members of a relevant professional body.
Minimum requirements for discipline-specific learning:
Medical doctors are required to be at consultant or medical specialist level. Nurses must be working at clinical nurse specialist level or have at least 2 years postgraduate experience working in cancer genetics or hereditary cancer clinics. Other prospective learners are required to hold an honours degree (level 8).
Minimum experiential requirements (if applicable):
Applicants must have 3 years or more experience in a healthcare or research setting.
Minimum language proficiency requirements:
Applicants whose first language is not English may be required to provide evidence of the following level of English language proficiency:
• High B2 on the (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) CEFRL when awarded by a recognised awarding body.
• An average score of 6.5 on the overall components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and a minimum of 6.0 in each band on the Academic Version.
RCPI’s policies and procedures related to Admissions are outlined in:
Recognition of Prior Learning:
There is currently no recognition of prior learning for this programme.
You can access the relevant policies and procedures from our website.
• Recognition of Prior Learning Procedure
• Access, Transfer and Progression Policy
• Access, Transfer and Progression Procedure
• Appeals Policy
• Appeals Procedure
Protection of Enrolled Learners
RCPI has procedures in place for the protection of enrolled learners. You can access the information on this through the policy and procedure from our website.
Protection of Enrolled Learner Policy
Protection of Enrolled Learner Procedure
When you are registering for the Postgraduate Certificate in Cancer Genetics and Genomics you will be asked a series of 3 questions
Question 1 - Minimum requirements for general learning
Question 2 - Minimum requirements for discipline-specific learning
Question 3 - Minimum experiential requirements
Once all criteria has been met you will receive a confirmation email.
For more information, please read our Admissions Policy.
This is an 11-month programme which will award a 30 ECTS Postgraduate Certificate in Cancer Genetics and Genomics on successful completion.
In order to obtain the full award, learners must complete asynchronous material, individual reading hours, live weekly tutorials, end of module assessments and a final summative assessment. The total number of learner hours for this programme is 750 hours.
Mandatory attendance of at least 85% is required for the live tutorials.
Virtual tutorials will take place every Wednesday evening from 5pm - 7pm on zoom.
The Certificate will commence with an induction on Wednesday 13th September with live tutorials starting Wednesday 20th September 2023.
Start Date: September 2023.