MSc Genetics

Programme Details

The MSc degree in Genetics will take you through a wide-ranging curriculum describing some of the latest advances in genetics. It includes courses on molecular genetics, bioinformatics, simple and complex diseases, and immunogenetics.

All these subjects are taught from the perspective of understanding how genetics is applied to increase our understanding of the causes and treatment of human disease. This includes the identification of genetic risk factors and their subsequent characterisation by functional genetics in laboratory model systems.

MSc 12 months full-time

Contact Information

College of Life Sciences and Medicine Graduate School
Tel: +44 (0)1224 437097


Compulsory Courses

Bioinformatics (15 Credits)

A course containing a series of lectures describing 'latest-methods and discoveries' in areas of bioinformatics and functional genomics including transcriptomics, proteomics, and DNA sequence analysis. Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer analysis of transcriptome datasets to understand how cells respond to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format. Contains a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of DNA and protein sequence analysis. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Mendelian Diseases (15 Credits)

This course focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which Mendelian human diseases arise, using case studies to explore these in detail for different biological systems. Aspects covered include determining mode of disease transmission through pedigree analysis; consideration of methods used to identify disease-causing mutations; assessment of pathogenicity of mutations; and use of this information to develop novel treatments for disease. Students undertake an extended case study to identify and characterise the cause of Mendelian disease. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Applied Statistics (15 Credits)

This course intends to develop the student's awareness of the fact that statistical techniques are integral to scientific research. Researchers must be able to specify a precise research question in statistical terms and then select an appropriate study design in order to carry out an effective research project. They must also be able to assess the adequacy of the research presented in scientific or medical literature. The same skills are also required for many MSc dissertation projects. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Generic Skills/I-SEE (0 credits)

This course will improve your employability skills. I-SEE (Individualised self-assessment to enhance employability) is a bespoke online resource developed to help identify your strengths and areas needing improvement. The self-assessment process allows you to identify development areas for employability skills like communication, IT and numeracy skills and personal attributes like creativity, organisation and timekeeping, flexibility, team working. This leads to automated, tailored feedback and signposting to self-study to assist in improving your CV. Reflection and an e-portfolio will assist in articulation of these enhanced skills/attributes during mock interviews. Some sessions are compulsory, but otherwise it involves self-directed learning. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Basicl Skills - Induction (0 credits)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. The course will revise basic laboratory skills and techniques and advance these to a level required to undertake graduate practical classes and projects by developing hands-on experience, competence and confidence in key laboratory skills. An expert for the library will explain the use and facilities of the library and the basics of database searching to enhance research skills and project validation. Read the full details in our course catalogue.

Genome-enabled Medicine (15 Credits)

A course describing the wide range of ways in which genome sequencing has transformed our understanding of medicine and human disease. A course placing a high value on its teaching and learning; all lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science. Contains a material detailing a range of examples of genome science and its applications in medicine, ranging from the human genome (genome-wide association studies) to microbial (pathogen genome sequencing). A course that makes wide use of the literature, allowing you to read about and understand the latest methods in genome science. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Complex Diseases (15 Credits)

This is an applied course that focuses on discovering and validating the genetic basis of complex human diseases. Aspects covered include fundamental principles of population genetics; identification of disease-associated variants; role of environmental factors; methods to validate association results; and how this information can be used to develop personalised treatments. This course includes a practical component to consolidate theoretical concepts. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Immunogenetics (15 Credits)

The genetic basis of self/non-self discrimination underlies all immune responses and can influence disease susceptibility at the level of both individual and populations. This course addresses this topic through lectures from research active experts in the main areas covered. The course Workshop involves students delivering a poster presentation on a course-related topic, providing the opportunity for students to practice presentation skills before undertaking the Masters Research project later in the academic year. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Research Tutorials (15 Credits)

This course focuses on intensive study of the primary literature (research papers) to learn from published examples of research in the subject area of your MSc/MRes. Supported by tutorials and staff as tutors, you will study in detail 5 key papers that cover different aspects of your subject. In parallel with this, you will also begin the background reading of the literature associated with your summer research project, and produce a scientific review essay that will form the basis of the Introduction to your eventual research Dissertation. Read full details in our course catalogue.

Elective Courses

Research Project (60 Credits)

The research project is an important component of your MSc training, where you will apply the knowledge and understanding you have gained during your taught courses directly in a research setting. You will work within a research-active team to develop and apply a range of planning, analytical and critical thinking skills to address a specific and novel research question in the field of medical biosciences. Read full details in our course catalogue.


Taught courses are assessed by a combination of written assignments and reports and by examination. A dissertation on the research project is written in the form of a research paper. Candidates are usually required to attend an oral examination with the external examiner


Teaching takes the form of lectures, tutorials and practical classes


Many of the graduates from this programme have gone on to undertake PhD research within the genetics field or to work in academic research groups. Graduates from this programme can also progress to work in hospital genetics laboratory services, in science education and training, in scientific publishing, in the scientific civil service, and in scientific regulatory and advisory government agencies

A second class Honours degree or equivalent qualification (at least 60% or GPA 2.4/4), in a relevant molecular biology or medical biosciences discipline (for example Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Physiology, Biomedical Sciences)

Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Document requirements

For this application we need at least:

  • An official full Bachelor degree transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) so far (original & official English translation)
  • Degree certificate (if you have already graduated)
  • Academic reference letter OR a reference letter from your employer (if you have 2+ years of work experience in an industry relevant to the programme)
  • Detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Ideally - current CV/resume

It is important when submitting an application that you ensure you have completed all the necessary sections and enclosed all the relevant documentation to ensure that your application can be processed as quickly as possible. Any missing document may result in delay.

English Language requirements

Even if you have been educated in the medium of English you must meet our English Language requirements (certain countries may be exempted from this requirement). Full details are available on our English language requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the 'Postgraduate Standard' level of English proficiency.

University of Aberdeen offers also pre-sessional English courses that when successfully completed will remove language conditions for studying at the University of Aberdeen. Further details are available on the Language Centre website.


Tuition Fee Rates 2016/17 - MSc Genetics

  • UK/EU students: £4,500
  • International students: £17,200

Further information about tuition fees and cost of living for both UK/EU and International students can be found on the Finance and Funding web pages.


Prospective students should visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen.  More Information can be found here.

(Please note this cannot be claimed in conjunction with any other scholarship award)


Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576