Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2014 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

print version

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2014 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleMClinEmbryol
CRICOS code028955G
Total credit points required72
Standard duration of study (years)1 year FT, 2 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Off-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: telephone +61 (0)3 9594 7462; email or visit

Course coordinator

Dr Sally Catt


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • This is an intensive course requiring on-campus students to overload and complete in one year. Study commences in February and continues until the end of November. Off-campus students can elect to complete the course part-time over two years. This course must be completed in a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 4 years. The course duration is inclusive of any periods of intermission.
  • This course requires some off-campus site visits for on-campus students. Off-campus students will be required to attend some on-campus workshops.


This 12-month, intensive course provides students with the essential postgraduate knowledge and practical skills necessary to contribute competently to human infertility clinical services. Theoretical and practical skills are presented in the broad context of the regulations and the ethical considerations that apply to human IVF, both nationally and internationally, along with the quality control procedures required to ensure maximum success for IVF patients. The guidelines, protocols and regulations that steer and control human infertility services are also presented. In addition to attending lectures and self-directed study, students are required to undertake continual practical skills training and also students will undertake a minor research project. Students will not only be equipped with practical skills required for work in an IVF laboratory but also gain a greater understanding of research applications within the field of reproductive or developmental biology. Research-related tasks contribute to the overall assessment for specific coursework units.

Lectures are delivered by experts from all disciplines in, and related to, the IVF field. The Master of Clinical Embryology is a laboratory-based training course, with no patient contact. Mouse and ovine IVF are used as models for practical work. Mid-year, students are given the opportunity to visit an Australian or New Zealand IVF clinic, or a clinic may be selected from overseas. Off-campus students will follow similar timelines and assessments as the on-campus students, except that practical experience will largely be acquired in the student's workplace, with occasional on-campus workshops.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand and describe human gamete biology, embryology and developmental biology from a cellular, genetic and molecular perspective
  • apply critically their knowledge of clinical embryology to research, understand and discuss new developments in human infertility treatments
  • critically examine and evaluate new infertility treatments, and accurately and effectively communicate this knowledge orally and in writing
  • interpret and classify from a theoretical understanding and practical field experience, the operations and management of IVF clinics and the regluations under which they operate, including the isses of genetic manipulation and stem cell therapies
  • understand and effectively articulate the arguments for and against the social, moral and ethical implications of IVF technologies, as they apply nationally and internationally to humans and develop a clear individual position on these issues
  • understand and appropriately use statistical methods to analyse human infertility research data and prepare and deliver a presentation to peers on methods, findings and conclusions of one such analysis
  • demonstrate an understanding of and competence in techniques used in the preparation of male and female gametes for IVF and ICSI and subsequent embryo culture, and the cryopreservation of gametes and embryos from all stages of culture
  • have demonstrated a capacity to take a leadership role in laboratory skills activities and to collaborate effectively with peers and laboratory staff
  • conduct competently the quality assurance procedures that are essential to the reliable operation of an IVF clinic
  • trouble-shoot a wide range of potential problems in an embryology laboratory
  • develop skills required to biopsy embryos in order to apply genetic and molecular diagnositc tests
  • outline the techniques used in and discuss the uses of karyotyping and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) CGH and microarray technology and demonstrate ability to asses the developmental competence of an embryo prior to its transfer in clinical IVF.

Recognition of prior learning

Credit applications from off-campus students for recognition of prior learning (RPL) will be considered for practical experience in an IVF clinic.


Assessment is via a range of methods, encompassing tests for practical competence (hand skills, laboratory book documentation, ability to complete small projects, quizzes), and theoretical knowledge (2500 and 3000-word essays, written examinations, critical reviews, data presentation, including statistical interpretation in abstracts and posters) and a minor research project.


The course consists of eight compulsory sequential units completed in study periods of four to six weeks duration, comprising theoretical and practical work.

Areas of study


Semester one

  • MCE5100 Introduction to mammalian embryology
  • MCE5101 Infertility and treatment strategies
  • MCE5103 IVF processes: Embryo production and cryopreservation techniques (theory)
  • MCE5112 IVF processes: Embryo production and cryopreservation techniques (practical)

Semester two

  • MCE5200 Total quality management in assisted reproductive technologies
  • MCE5201 Minor research project and ICSI
  • MCE5212 Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and embryo gene expression
  • MCE5213 Regulation and ethics in assisted reproductive technologies

Progression to further studies

Students who pass all units for this course and achieve a minimum of a distinction average (70 per cent) may qualify for admission into higher degrees by research including course 3438 Master of Philosophy and 0047 Doctor of Philosophy, among others.

Alternative exit(s)

Students who complete 48 credit points after completing all semester one units and one six-credit-point unit in the second semester and who do not wish to, or are unable to, continue with the master's program will be offered the opportunity to exit with a Graduate Diploma of Clinical Embryology.


Master of Clinical Embryology