Summer Schools


Molecular Biology and IVF

We are currently reviewing our 2021 delivery. To register your interest for Summer 2021, contact us here.


This course is a wonderful taster of student life in the UK. I believe that many other students will want to experience student life at the University of Kent, like me.

Phuong Vu Thi Bich, Molecular Biology and IVF Summer School, Canterbury; read more on our blog



Have you thought about supplementing your degree with additional skills training to give you a competitive edge when you graduate?

Would you like to gain cutting edge research skills and expertise in an ever-growing and increasingly important scientific discipline?

Would you like to undertake this training within a vibrant, safe, cosmopolitan and stimulating campus environment, located in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK?

Taught by University of Kent Professor of Genetics Darren Griffin; highly influential for his work on IVF and genetics in the UK and internationally. The Molecular Biology & IVF Summer School is a 2-week residential programme with the key focus each week as below:

1st Week: IVF week - Learn what it is like to generate IVF embryos with hands on experimentation. Around 1-2% of all babies in the UK are born by IVF, with varying figures in many other countries. Internationally, reproductive medicine generally, and IVF in particular, is an area in which the UK is world-leading.

2nd Week: FISH week - Learn chromosome analysis and fluorescence in-situ hybridisation

This module will thus explore the basics of lab technique and good practice, pipette making, egg collection and in-vitro maturation, sperm assessment, insemination, ICSI, embryo grading, assisted hatching, spreading and preimplantation diagnosis. For obvious reasons embryos from non-human model species (e.g. mouse, bovine, pig) will be used.

Aimed primarily at students studying on a Biology related degree. The Summer School will supplement your existing knowledge with valuable practical and applied training, and allow you to discuss research in depth with the academics who are leading experts in their area. It will prepare you for your senior year and enhance your appeal to potential employers and graduate schools.

Also included are visits to Canterbury Cathedral, Whitstable and London.

The Molecular Biology & IVF Summer School is part of the University of Kent Summer School programme. It will allow you to make lasting connections with students from around the world, studying a range of subjects but sharing your own enthusiasm. International study will enable you to gain a deeper understanding of another culture, make lifelong friends from a wide variety of backgrounds and benefit from globally-renowned academic excellence.

Find out what our students think of the Summer Schools on our Summer School Blog.

For additional reasons to join us, visit our Canterbury Summer Schools overview.

Providing School: School of Biosciences

Campus: Canterbury

Credit Transfer Option:  Equivalent to 15 Credits (150 hours of study; 7.5 ECTS; suggested 3.75 US credits*) for transfer purposes.

Price: TBC for 2021; for two weeks. Includes tuition, visits to Canterbury Cathedral, Whitstable and London, accommodation, teaching materials, welcome meal, and full library access.

*Suggested 3.75 US credits based on 1/8th of a full academic year. Please check with your home institution for their UK to US credit conversion rules.

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Intended specific learning outcomes

The focused 2-week period will allow in-depth study and immersion in a stimulating research environment. The academic sessions will be based around interactive workshops, practical sessions and group work. All practical sessions, workshops and classes will be led by faculty members with years of experience and much to offer participants. This academic structure will be based around an overall format that will allow you to meet students from different countries studying different subjects - a truly interdisciplinary experience.

Intended generic learning outcomes

IVF week – learn what it’s like to generate IVF embryos

The learning outcomes of this module are that students should be able to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency

  • Laboratory technique and good practice (general and IVF lab)
  • Reproduction in mammals - Introduction to animal IVF
  • Andrology theory and practical (basic semen analysis, sperm preparation for ART)
  • Media preparation/set-up including pH and osmolality checks
  • Oocyte retrieval, IVM, microscopy and gamete handling
  • Embryo selection (including an embryo grading exercise) and time-lapse imaging in clinical IVF
  • Cryopreservation (CR and GS) – SLT2
  • Embryo Biopsy and sex determination from single cells

FISH week - learn Chromosome analysis and Fluorescence in-situ hybridization

The learning outcomes of this module are that students should be able to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency in:

  • Making Agar plates and plating out BACs, mini-prep DNA from agar plates
  • Dropping slides and basic microscopy
  • Set up amplification of isolated DNA
  • Human Karyolab practical assessment
  • Nick Translation of amplified DNA
  • Purification of Nick translation products (if not completed on Thursday)
  • Fertility screening Chromosomes in Birds and Sex Chromosome Talks
  • FISH set up and florescence Microscopy

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching formats will include laboratory work alongside interactive workshops and other appropriate media associated with the subject specialism.

Total number of study hours will comprise 150 hours which will include elements of independent and private study.

  • 50 hours contact time during the summer school
  • 20 hours self-study before the summer school
  • 80 study hours during the summer school

    Total: 150 hours


  • In class tests
  • Short coursework assessments

Indicative Timetable







-Laboratory technique and good practice
-Pig IVF
-Media preparation (calculations and compounds)

-Guest lecture
-Andrology Theory and practical

-Sperm preparation for IVF and fertilisation
-Sex determination from single cells (PCR and gel electrophoresis)

-Time-lapse imaging: A means of assessing embryo morphokinetic markers
-Embryo selection
-Screening for chromosomal translocations in pigs

-Evaluation of Embryology Taster Course


-PGD in animal models
-Oocyte retrieval, IVM, microscopy and gamete handling  

-Science communication in IVF
-IVM day 2, microscopy and gamete handling  

-Embryo Biopsy (Demonstration and hands on)
-Moving presumptive zygotes
-Trip into Canterbury/Whitstable

-Karyolab practical
Embryo Biopsy (Demonstration and hands on)
-Sex determination from single cells (PCR and gel electrophoresis)

-Fertilisation check exercise
-Final assessment
-Farewell ceremony

To gain entry on to the Canterbury Summer School you will need to be either:

  • studying at a university outside the UK or at a UK university and considering options for further study in the UK
  • a professional exploring options for postgraduate study in the UK. 

You will also need to:

  • demonstrate an aptitude for Biology; students will typically already be on a Biology-related degree programme or have finshed their Biology programme and are looking for additional skills in this area.
  • applicants will also need to be confident reading, writing and discussing in English to participate in the Summer School and will have at least IELTS 6.0 or equivalent with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill. Please note that an IELTS test is not required and that we can use English language iGCSE/GCSE, iB Standard Level English, TOEFL, PTE, TOEIC, FCE/CAE, CET-4 (China) among others.

Admissions tutors reserve the right to require evidence of previous relevant study, if this is considered necessary.

Fees and Scholarship

A reminder that you can apply for more than one Summer School.


  Earlybird Price Standard Price

Without Accommodation

TBC for 2021

TBC for 2021

With Accommodation included

TBC for 2021

TBC for 2021

We also offer a 10% discount to students from our recognised Partner Universities.

Fees Include full tuition for the summer school, accommodation, teaching materials, a welcome meal, full access to the University library facilities. Also included are visits to Canterbury Cathedral, Margate, Whitstable and to London.

Scholarship Opportunities

We will have a number of £500 Internationalisation Scholarships available for the Canterbury Summer Schools available to students not currently studying at the University of Kent. If you are a current student at another institution you may also wish to enquire about any mobility scholarships within your home institution or Government.

Accommodation details

The accommodation for this summer school is based in Park Wood and is offered on a self-catered basis. Students will be placed in their own room and will share bathrooms and kitchen. Check-in is after 14h00 on the first Sunday and check-out is before 10h00 on the final Sunday. All students will be offered University accommodation (included in fee), although if you wish to make alternative arrangements you can pay tuition fees only, saving £250 per two-week course.

Additional details about our accommodation is available on our Accommodation webpage.

Getting here

You will find useful directions to the Canterbury Campus on our Directions page. Students who wish to arrange a taxi transfer from one of the London airports may wish to visit our Booking a Taxi in the UK page.


Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in publicity materials is fair and accurate at the time of going to press. However, the courses, services and other matter covered by web pages and prospectuses are subject to change from time to time and changes may need to be made following publication and/or after candidates have been admitted to the University. Please see our institution wide Terms and Conditions / Disclaimer page for further information. Please note that modules shown are based on the current curriculum, but are subject to change.

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Last Updated: 14/10/2020