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Genetics courses

Genetics involves the study of the structure and function of genes and how we can use this knowledge to improve society. Geneticists work in ground-breaking areas such as cancer research, design of new antibiotics, inherited diseases, genetic engineering to improve crops and understanding how animal species become endangered. You will study biochemistry, molecular biology and biomedical science with a focus on lab work (collecting and analysing data), in preparation for careers in research, or medical or technical laboratory-based roles.

Studying genetics at university

Example course modules

  • Principles of human disease
  • Research techniques
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Genes and development
  • Eukaryotic gene expression
  • Plants for the future
  • Genetic toxicology
  • Cell and molecular biosciences
  • The genome: cell cycle, expression and function
  • Microbial diversity

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 60%
    Male : 40%
  • Mature : 17%
    School leaver : 83%
  • Full-time : 89%
    Part-time : 11%

What students say about genetics

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Useful to have

  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Only a few hundred people take genetics courses every year and graduates from these courses are amongst the most likely to go on to do a doctorate when they graduate, as that's the level of qualification you need to go into a career in research. Lab jobs were the most popular outcome for genetics graduates, but whilst other science and technical occupations were also common, you could also find genetics graduates in a range of other roles, particularly business and finance.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Natural and social science professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Immunologist
  • Genetic technologist
  • Cytogeneticist

Other real-life job examples

  • Chartered accountant
  • MLSO (Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer)
  • Clinical researcher

What employers like about this subject

A degree in genetics can provide you with subject-specific skills including an understanding of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and physiology; the function and expression of genes and an understanding of the current state of genetic research, methodology, ethics and technology. Useful transferable skills you can develop include numeracy, data analysis, communication and problem-solving. Genetics graduates are amongst the most likely to go on to further study - around 40% take a postgraduate degree and many careers in the field, particularly in research, require a postgraduate qualification. Employers that recruited first degree graduates in genetics last year included hospitals, universities and the pharmaceutical industry.