The MSc degree in Genetics will take you through a wide-ranging curriculum describing some of the latest advances in genetics.

The programme includes courses on molecular genetics, bioinformatics, mendelian genetics, applied statistics and immunogenetics. Many subjects are taught from the perspective of understanding how genetics is applied to increase our understanding of the causes and treatment of human disease.

The programme will concentrate on molecular genetics, including how it relates to human health and disease.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Bioinformatics (MB5021) - Credits: 15

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.

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Applied Statistics (PU5017) - Credits: 15

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.

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Generic Skills (GS50M1)

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.

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Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

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 from the library will explain the use and facilities of the library and the basics of database searching to enhance research skills and project validation.

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Introduction to Molecular Biology (MB5022) - Credits: 15

This is an introductory course in molecular biology basics for all taught postgraduate programmes with a molecular biology content. It aims to ensure that PG taught course students, with diverse educational backgrounds, on programmes with a substantial molecular biology content, have an adequate knowledge of the basic concepts and techniques of molecular biology. There is a practical element with this course.

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Optional Courses

Plus one of the following

Introductory Immunology (MB5023) - Credits: 15

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of how behaviours (e.g. smoking, diet, medication adherence, etc) can protect, promote, risk or damage health; the key drivers of (un)healthy behaviours; and techniques to change health behaviours.

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Introduction to Microbiology (MC5008) - Credits: 15

This course will provide students with microbiology knowledge for further advanced studies and will provide training in microbiological laboratory techniques. At the end of this course students will have an understanding of microbes associated with health and disease (including bacteria, fungi and viruses), practical and academic understanding of laboratory techniques required for the culture, identification and characterisation of microbes, and increased confidence in reading and critiquing primary research literature

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Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Genome - Enabled Medicine (MB5517) - Credits: 15

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

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Research Tutorials (MB5518) - Credits: 15

A course that leads you through research-level study of your subject through study of a range of areas of the science literature

An introduction to the subject of your summer research project through the writing of an extended essay on the subject of your forthcoming research project.

The course provides an opportunity to study advanced science concepts led by an experienced member of academic staff.

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Immunogenetics (MB5519) - Credits: 15

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.

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Mendelian Genetics (MB5521) - Credits: 15

​This course focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in maintaining genome stability and integrity and understanding the consequences of what happens when these processes fail. Aspects covered will include genome organisation, DNA replication and repair, Mendelian inheritance and genetic linkage and how these processes relate to disease or can be exploited in research.

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Semester 3


The research project is an important component of the MSc training, undertaken in Semester 3.

Compulsory Courses

Masters Research Project (MB5902) - Credits: 60

The topic of the project will be subject and supervisor dependant.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by written essays, examinations and oral presentations, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. Candidates must pass all courses at an appropriate standard for the award of the MSc degree.

Why Study Genetics?

  • You will be taught by world leading genetics and bioscience researchers and have an opportunity to contribute to cutting edge research during your project.
  • The immunogenetics course available to you as part of the programme is unique to Aberdeen and draws on the skills and expertise of staff at the University. The course is designed to illustrate how immunogenetic diversity influences not only clinical transplantation outcomes but susceptibility and resistance to infectious and autoimmune diseases, cancer, immunodeficiency and human reproduction.
  • You will have access to the University and large teaching hospital all on one campus.
  • Embedded within an active and dynamic research culture, you will have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to enhance your employability and further your career as a geneticist.
  • You will benefit from skills training to help with scientific writing, analytical skills, CV writing, interview skills and reading scientific literature.
  • Our small class sizes give you the opportunity to participate in class discussions and to have good access to the teaching staff.
  • Our support services rank with the best in the UK and we aim to make sure, right from the start, that you have access to any guidance you might need. Our Graduate School also provides additional on-site support and advice.

What Our Students Say

  • Jeremy Cutajar

    Jeremy Cutajar

    The programme offered by the University of Aberdeen matched well with what I was looking for. Overall the degree was well structured, delivered with diligence and all courses were interesting.

Entry Requirements


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.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Life Sciences and Medicine Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempt from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £18,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The following options are available to support your studies. Please click the links for full details and eligibility criteria.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


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

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor Ian Stansfield
Dr Allison Carrington
Dr Gordon Prescott
Dr Shona Fielding
Programme Coordinator
Dr Donna MacCallum

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


The Institute of Medical Sciences

The Institute of Medical Sciences

Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

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Foresterhill Health Campus

Foresterhill Health Campus

The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Contact Us

College of Life Sciences and Medicine Graduate School
University of Aberdeen
Polwarth Building
AB25 2ZD