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Institution / University College Dublin /

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Course Overview
Technological advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have led to a greater range of clinical applications, such that MRI is now a core imaging modality in contemporary healthcare. This course encompasses current technological developments in MRI, providing a platform for discussion of physical principles, scanning techniques and clinical practice issues.

This course aims to foster the personal and professional development of the postgraduate radiographer by encouraging students to build on appropriate undergraduate study and existing clinical skills in MRI further their knowledge and practical expertise in this area.

Who Should Take This Course?
The Graduate Diploma MRI programme is designed for radiographers who wish to provide high quality healthcare by deepening and broadening their knowledge and expertise in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Applicants should normally have at least one year post-qualification experience as a radiographer, and be working in an MRI department over the duration of the course.

What Will I Learn?
Course Description
The Graduate Diploma MRI programme will develop the expertise of radiographers working in the field of MRI, broadening their knowledge of standard MR applications, and developing communication skills and critical thinking.

Programme content builds on undergraduate study and existing clinical practice skills to enable radiographers to become experts in MR imaging. During the Technology of MRI modules, students will evaluate the physical principles underpinning MR image generation together with the factors influencing equipment and pulse sequence selection and manipulation within the clinical setting.

Practice-based modules address the spectrum of current standard applications of MRI in the central nervous, musculoskeletal and vascular systems, together with applications in the abdomen and pelvis. This provides the knowledge-base for students to evaluate MR scanning protocols and resultant image appearances for diverse clinical indications, and to justify clinical decision-making.

Since this Graduate Diploma programme confers clinical competence, there is an emphasis on the integration of theory and practice to enable students to develop practical MR scanning skills and manage MR service provision within the clinical department. During the course, students must undertake a minimum of 700 clinical hours to gain the requisite specialist clinical skills in MR scanning.

The programme encourages radiographers to apply a critically questioning approach to the evidence base for MR imaging practice and fosters both the development of decision-making and problem-solving skills.

How / Where Will I Learn?
The Graduate Diploma MRI programme leads to a UCD Level 4 award (equivalent to NQAI Level 9) and takes 12 months to complete. The programme encompasses a flexible modular course structure, with emphasis placed on integration of academic and clinical components in the pursuit of clinical competence. The programme is currently offered once every two years.

Students benefit from a blended learning approach that integrates lecture attendance, class discussions, image appraisal tutorials, practical tasks, e-Learning activities and self-directed learning. These teaching and learning strategies are designed to encourage autonomous personal and professional development within a supportive framework.

Course Features
• Accredited by the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy (IIRRT).
• Addresses theory and clinical practice issues in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
• Delivered by national and international experts.
• Accommodates working professionals through flexible programme delivery.

Entry requirements

Am I Eligible For This Course?
Criteria for standard entry applicants
• This programme is open to any radiographer with at least one year post-qualification experience and Department of Health approval to practise radiography in Ireland, or Health Professions Council approval to practise radiography in the UK and Northern Ireland.
• All candidates must undertake a minimum of four months clinical work experience in MR scanning prior to commencing the course, and provide documented evidence of this by completing the Pre-course Clinical Declaration Form.

• Candidates must arrange their own clinical placement and provide evidence of an agreement to spend approximately 700 hours (20 weeks) gaining practical experience in MRI over the duration of the Graduate Diploma programme.

• Candidates are required to nominate a suitably qualified clinical supervisor to oversee their clinical experience and must provide these details to the Academic Programme Director during the first week of the course.

• Provided it is formally evidenced, prior practical MR scanning experience may be taken into account in partial fulfilment of the course requirement of a minimum of 700 clinical hours necessary to facilitate the attainment of clinical competence. Normally, only those applicants with previous scanning experience of appropriate duration and scope, in terms of the range of examinations undertaken, may seek accreditation for prior experiential learning (APEL) for up to 170 of the required 700 clinical hours. Documentation for APEL applications will be provided by the Academic Programme Director at the start of the course and must be submitted for consideration within the specified timeframe.

• Signed Declaration Forms from your Radiographic Services Manager or nominee, indicating agreement to provide the requisite number of clinical hours during the course (MRI Clinical Declaration Form) and confirming the requisite pre-course clinical experience in MRI (MRI Pre-Course Clinical Experience Declaration Form), must be submitted by the programme start date together with other necessary documentation specified in the relevant section of the online application web page.

International Applicants
Essential Requirements
International applicants should:
• Hold a BSc (Honours) or equivalent in Diagnostic Radiography.
• Have attained a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (minimum score of 6 in any given band) or 600 in TOEFL (250+ computer-based; 100+ iTB score, with test of written English at 475+). All test results must be less than 2 year old relative to the year of entry to the programme. This is necessary to ensure that prospective students can manage the programme’s academic workload and communicate effectively within the clinical placement environment.

• Have attained a minimum of 5 months clinical work experience in Magnetic Resonance Imaging prior to commencing the course, and provide documented evidence supporting this (MRI Pre-Course Clinical Experience Declaration Form). This experience should normally be attained during the year of planned entry to the programme, and may be undertaken in your own country. The University is not responsible for arranging this. Such a preliminary placement is necessary to help students put subject material covered in lectures into context, particularly during the initial weeks of the course. The Pre-course Clinical Experience Declaration Form must be completed and submitted to the Academic Programme Directorin advance of the programme start date.
• Provide an academic and clinical reference supporting their commitment to and ability to undertake this course.

Additional Information
Please note that even if the above criteria are met, the offer of a place to international students is also dependent upon the University’s ability to negotiate clinical placement in an MRI department of a Dublin-based hospital over the duration of the course. It may not be possible to confirm the outcome of these negotiations until approximately 6-8 months prior to the start of the course.

This practical scanning experience during the course is critical to enable students not only to undertake the various course assignments, but also to build competence in MR scanning so that students are eligible to present for the practical clinical MR scanning assessment, which is normally undertaken during the summer semester in the student’s placement centre.

International applicants wishing to undertake this course are advised to contact the Academic Programme Director for information regarding availability of places and eligibility.

Duration

1 year full-time.

Careers or further progression

Stepwise Progression
Stepwise progression enables students who have successfully completed five core modules to exit after 12 months with a Graduate Diploma in MRI. Candidates who wish to complete the full Taught Masters must also complete the 30-credit Advanced MR Imaging module over an additional semester. There are a limited number of additional places available on the Advanced MR Imaging module for candidates who have already gained a Graduate Diploma or equivalent qualification in MRI and who wish to further their learning to MSc level. Applications will be considered on an individual basis as candidates will have to submit supporting documentation to justify the award of credit exemptions for prior learning. Interested applicants are advised to contact the programme director for further information (details below).

Further enquiries

Programme Administrator
Diagnostic Imaging Programme Office
Health Sciences Centre
UCD Belfield
Dublin 4
T: + 353 1 716 6545
F: + 353 1 716 6547
E: graduate.imaging@ucd.ie

Academic Programme Director
Ms. Allison McGee
School of Medicine & Medical Science
Health Sciences Centre
UCD Belfield
Dublin 4
T: + 353 1 716 6534
E: allison.mcgee@ucd.i

Subjects taught

Modules
Technology of MRI I
This module aims to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the underlying physical principles of Magnetic Resonance technology. Topics addressed include: magnetism, resonance and MR signal generation, MR system hardware, pulse sequence design, relaxation, MR image weighting and contrast, and an introduction to MR artefacts, scanning features and safety in the MR environment. This module is assessed by coursework and end-of-semester written examination.

Practice of MRI I
This module facilitates the integration of theory and practice in clinical MR imaging of the CNS, neck, and musculoskeletal system in pursuit of clinical competence. For these anatomical regions, students are encouraged to analyse issues relating to the typical clinical indications, selection and modification of MR scanning techniques and imaging protocols, together with normal and abnormal MR image appearances. This module also aims to cultivate higher level professional and reflective skills in the student, and is assessed by coursework and an end-of-semester MR image-based written examination.

Technology of MRI II
This module aims to enable students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the physical principles of the more complex MR imaging technologies. Topics addressed include: advanced MR pulse sequences and scanner functional options, MR image artefacts and avoidance strategies, flow phenomena & the principles of vascular MR imaging, MR equipment QA and MR facility design and associated safety considerations. Students will have the opportunity to develop their presentation skills as part of the module assessment strategy, which also involves an end-of-semester written examination.

Practice of MRI II
This module facilitates the integration of theory and practice in clinical MR imaging of the abdomen, pelvis and vascular system in pursuit of clinical competence. Consideration is also given to the particular requirements for MR imaging of paediatric patients. For these anatomical regions and patient types, students are required to analyse issues relating to typical clinical indications, selection and modification of MR scanning techniques and imaging protocols, together with normal and abnormal MR image appearances. As part of the assessment strategy, students will have the opportunity to further develop their ability to source and analyse current evidence-based literature and to demonstrate clinical justification and decision-making skills through the end-of-semester MR image-based written examination.

Clinical Practice of MRI
This module primarily involves student-directed learning within a clinical MR imaging department, with the aim of facilitating the integration of theoretical concepts and professional clinical practice in order to consolidate the learning process. Specifically, it provides an opportunity for students to become competent and demonstrate high-level clinical skills in the performance of MR examinations of the CNS, head & neck, musculoskeletal system, body and vascular system. It further aims to help students develop professionally in a manner that is largely autonomous. The module assessment strategy involves a practical clinical assessment undertaken in the student’s MRI department and an MR image-based written examination.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September annually.

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