Genetics MSci

   
   
  

Fact file - 2018 entry

Qualification
Genetics | MSci Hons
UCAS code
C401
Duration
4 years full-time
A level offer
AAB
Required subjects
three A levels including biology plus at least one other science, preferably chemistry; geography and psychology will also be considered. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GCSE English language and maths at grade 4 or above are also required.
IB score
34 (5/6 in biology and one other science, in any order, at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus and Medical School
Course places
27 (with Genetics BSc) 
School/department

Life Sciences

 

Overview

Genetics and genetic technologies continue to have a major impact on the understanding of human biology and disease. Explore the advances in genetics through a varied curriculum which is enriched by the latest research.
Read full overview

Highlights of genetics at Nottingham

  • Expand your study through a wide choice of optional modules, with a chance to specialise as you progress through the course
  • Benefit from substantial laboratory experience from year one
  • Travel while you learn, with opportunities to study abroad in your second year
  • Work on real research alongside research groups within the school; some students even have work published   
 

Genetics is ideal if you are interested in investigating the way in which cellular, developmental and organismic processes are controlled by genes and other DNA components.

You will explore an array of topics with a high degree of choice. If you find a particular area of genetics interesting, there is flexibility (through optional modules and research projects) to tailor the course to learn more about certain areas.

Studying genetics opens up a variety of careers in industry, healthcare or research.  

Yearly overviews

Year one

Your first year will be a broad introduction to biology and genetics that introduces you to the biology of animals, plants and microbes, and the biochemical, evolutionary and genetic processes that underlie their biology.

You will explore the remarkable diversity of life on Earth, and learn about the fundamental building blocks of life: genes, molecules and cells. You have the opportunity to learn about the workings of the human body, the ways that living processes in all organisms are regulated by the genome, and the role that animals and plants play in their environment.

The experimental approach forms a key component to the year, with courses teaching practical skills and the principles of experimental design and analysis.

Key transferable skills encountered this year include the use of learning resources, essay writing and oral presentations, through our tutorial-based core skills in genetics module.

Year two

In this year, you will be able to focus on your favourite areas of genetics, with a good degree of choice.

One major theme of modules this year is health and disease in humans, other animals and plants. You will learn about the genetic and developmental basis of disease, the fundamental biology of pathogens and parasites, and what happens when the nervous system doesn’t work properly.

Another major theme is the evolutionary origins and ecological consequences of biodiversity.

Transferable skills that we focus on in year two include researching the primary scientific literature and writing according to the rules of scientific convention. This culminates in you writing an extended essay on a topic of your choosing. 

Year three

A major part of the third year is the research project, which will allow you to carry out your own practical investigation in an area of genetics that interests you.

Additionally, you will advance your learning by studying the genetics of ageing and how DNA can be repaired, how gene expression is regulated and how genetics has a strong influence on populations.

You will also have the opportunity to learn about the genetic basis of human variation, why genetics is important for conservation and how genetics plays a major role in cancer. You can even learn how science is influenced by society and vice versa. 

See what third year students George and Georgina
say about their projects.

Year four

You will take a set of modules which will expose you to the latest developments in genetics and equip you with the tools to plan and carry out research and present your findings effectively.

The learning style will be strongly student-centred, culminating in a substantial research project where you will work alongside experts, receive one-to-one supervision and benefit from state-of-the-art research facilities.

 

Learning and assessment

You will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module. This may include:
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • workshops
  • tutorials

You will study in the School of Life Sciences building on University Park Campus and the Medical School, which is embedded in the Queen’s Medical Centre. We have large lecture theatres, smaller seminar rooms and large multidisciplinary laboratories. 

Assessment methods 

Assessment varies on the module being studied but typically is a combination of:

  • exams
  • essays
  • dissertations
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations 

Exams happen twice a year at the end of each semester. 

Find out more about our teaching on our school website.

 

Study abroad and placements

We offer the chance to study abroad at an approved partner university through the Universitas 21 programme. This is an exciting opportunity to gain a global perspective of science, boost your communication skills, and to discover a new culture.

There is also the possibility to gain valuable work experience with an optional placement year. Placements are a great opportunity to see what the sector you want to go into is like, try out specific job roles, and to gain the skills that employers want.

Please note that placements have to be organised by the student and approved by the school. The University's Careers and Employability Service can provide advice on how to find and apply for a placement. 

Information on fees for a placement or study abroad year can be found on the fees website.

 

Student support

All students have a personal tutor. Personal tutors are members of academic staff in the school and they will:

  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback
  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters

At Nottingham we still offer small group tutorials of around six students. This ensures you have enough time to build a relationship with your tutor and benefit from their support. Your fellow tutees also provide peer support. 

Additionally, the school has a dedicated Welfare Officer and a Student Liaison Officer who are available to help you adapt to university life and provide advice on more complex issues.   

Peer mentoring

BioSoc is the student-led biology, genetics and zoology society. Alongside organising social, sporting and networking events, BioSoc provide peer mentoring. You will be matched with a senior student who can offer help and support and introduce you to the rest of what the society offers. 

 

Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our mature students website.
 

International applicants

We welcome applications from international applicants. The University provides dedicated advice and support throughout your application and preparation for coming to the UK.

Please see the entry requirements tab for English language requirements.

If you are unable to attend an open day, we can meet you in your country at one of our overseas events or arrange an individual visit to the University

 

Student profile video

 

 

 

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB including biology plus at least one other science, preferably chemistry (geography and psychology will also be considered). A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GCSE English language and maths at grade 4 or above are also required.

Understand how we show GCSE grades

 

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see the alternative qualifications page

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  
 

Modules

Typical year one modules

Genes, Molecules and Cells
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.
 
Core Skills in Genetics
This module focusses on developing the core skills needed by geneticists in scientific writing, data handling and analysis, experimental design and scientific presentations. Alongside lectures and workshops, small group tutorials are an important component of this module. In these tutorials, you get to know the member of staff who will be your tutor for the duration of your studies, discuss scientific topics relevant to your degree, and practice key skills such as essay-writing and data-handling.
 
Life on Earth
Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.
 

You must choose a minimum of one module (20 credits) from the following:

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.
 
Human Physiology
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems eg cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, mostly in man, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.
 
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
This module will give you a good grounding in the basic principles of the nervous system of humans and other animals. Topics will include neuroanatomy, cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, sensory systems, neuroendocrinology, memory, behavioural neuroscience and diseases of the nervous system. These will be delivered through weekly lectures and practical classes.
 

Further 20 credits of options:

You also have to choose an additional 20 credits worth of modules, which can be done from selecting one further module from the three offered above or by picking modules in chemistry (20 credits) or by selecting a module of your choice from those offered outside the school.

 
Typical year two modules

Bacterial Genes and Development
Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be described. You'll learn by considering case studies, which will show you how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You will also study the regulation of genes in pathogenic bacteria.
 
Evolutionary Biology of Animals
Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you will study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution. 
 

Optional

Animal Behaviour and Physiology

This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the study of animal behaviour, from the physiological and genetic bases of behaviour to its development through learning and its adaptive significance in the natural environment. Through practical classes, you will learn about the physiological basis of fundamental behaviours. Using examples from across the animal kingdom, you will learn how predictive modelling, experimental and observational approaches integrate to explain how and why animals behave as they do.

 
Developmental Biology
Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You will discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. The teaching for this module is delivered through lectures. 
 
Infection and Immunity

In this module you will study basic immunology, learning about the organs, cells and molecules of the immune system and the mechanisms engaged in the generation an of immune response to pathogens. You will learn by studying examples of types of human pathogens (viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoa and helminths), the varied nature of the immune response, depending on the pathogen, its niche(s) in the host and pathogen strategies for invading and surviving in the host. You will learn how immunological methods can be effectively utilized for disease diagnosis and vaccine development, and about the consequences of failure of normal immune function, including autoimmunity and hypersensitivity.

 
Biological Photography and Imaging 1
Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You will build an understanding of the principles behind photography and how to get the most out of state of the art photographic and imaging equipment.
 
Building Brains

Studying this module, you'll be able to explain how the nervous system develops, is organised, and processes information. This will be achieved through presentation of comparative invertebrate and vertebrate studies, consideration of evolutionary concepts, and a detailed analysis of the development, structure, and function of the mammalian brain. The lecture sessions are complemented by workshops on Drosophila and chick embryo development, on the neuroanatomy of the human spinal cord, and dissection of pig brains subject to the availability of tissue.

 
Microbial Biotechnology

You'll cover the key groups of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms relevant to microbial biotechnology, principles of GM, and strain improvement in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The impact of “omics”, systems biology, synthetic biology and effects of stress on industrial microorganisms are explored, alongside the activities of key microorganisms that we exploit for biotechnology.

 
Ecology

You will learn about the forces determining the distribution and abundance of species and be able to use models to predict the dynamics of populations under a range of conditions. You will recognise how interactions between species can drive co-evolutionary processes leading to an understanding of the organisation of natural systems working systematically from populations through to communities, ecosystems and biogeographical scales.

 
Neurons and Glia

This module will provide you with an understanding of the mechanisms behind electrical conduction in neurones. You will learn about the generation of the membrane potential and its essential role in signaling within the nervous system. You will develop an appreciation of the role of ion channels in the generation of trans-membrane currents and how myelin can accelerate signal conduction. You will also learn about the important supporting roles that astrocytes and glial cells play in the nervous system in order to ensure its efficient functioning.

 
Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics

This module will provide an in-depth analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics. You will learn to define what drugs are, the different ways they act at the cellular and molecular level, and the pharmacokinetic principles underlying drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination. You will explore examples in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, CNS disorders, cancer and infectious disease. Overall, you will develop a deep understanding of what the discipline of pharmacology represents, and its application to both basic biological research and current and future medical advances.

 
From Genotype to Phenotype and Back
This module studies transporters and channels, groups of proteins responsible for controlling the flow of substances across lipid bilayers that are critical for cellular homeostasis. You will learn the basics of transporter and channel biology, and then apply this knowledge to design virtual experiments, the simulated results of which would gradually reveal the molecular basis of a transporter or channel related disease. You will design a series of “virtual experiments”, with appropriate controls, in order to probe the function of a particular gene in a physiological condition.
 
Neurobiology of Disease

This module will teach you the underlying neurophysiology and pathology associated with several common CNS disorders and the neuropharmacology of currently available medication. You will learn about the neurotransmitters and pathways involved in normal brain function and how changes in these contribute to abnormal function. You will also decipher the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs used to treat these CNS disorders. You will cover numerous human diseases including those with great significance such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism.

 
The Green Planet
This module explores the evolution of key plant systems through deep time, and the significance of this process for understanding modern ecology and food security. You will learn about the challenges that plants faced when moving onto land and evolutionary innovations within the early spermatophytes. You will also gain an understanding of the power of natural selection in producing plant diversity over deep time.
 
Signalling and Metabolic Regulation
This module will explain the main signalling mechanisms that take place in eukaryotic cells. You will learn about the main signalling mechanisms and pathways which can control protein levels, activity and intra-cellular site of action. This knowledge will then be placed in the context of the regulation of major metabolic pathways, such that you will understand the factors influencing metabolic control, and dysregulation leading to major modern diseases like type II diabetes and heart disease.
 
Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes

This module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the structures of DNA and RNA and how the information within these nucleic acids is maintained and expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell types. Additionally, this module describes how nucleic acids can be manipulated in vitro using molecular biological approaches. Practical classes will focus your learning on the cloning and manipulation of DNA to express recombinant proteins in bacterial systems.

 
 
Typical year three modules

Research Project
The project is a year-long level three module. You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic after discussion with a supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.
 
Gene Regulation
Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per week.
 
Population Genetics
You will consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.
 
Conservation Genetics
Considers the genetic effects of reduced population size, especially relating to the conservation of endangered species. You will study topics including genetic drift and inbreeding in depth, from theoretical and practical standpoints. You will spend around one and a half hours per week in lectures studying this module, plus a two and a half hour computer practical.
 
General Genetics
Through group discussions, you will consider developments in genetics. You will also give a presentation on an assigned research paper. Around eight hours will be spent in seminars as well as around two hours within workshop per week for this module.
 
Ageing, Sex and DNA Repair
Examines the molecular causes of the ageing and malignant transformations of somatic cells that are observed during a single lifespan, and the necessity to maintain the genome intact from one generation to the next. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
 

Optional modules:

Pathogens
This module gives a detailed understanding of the genetics and biochemistry behind the properties of parasites and microorganisms that cause major human diseases in the present day. You will have a three-hour lecture once per week for this module.
 
Molecular Evolution

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees. You will spend three hours of lectures per week plus a total of two three-hour practicals in this module.

 
Advanced Developmental Biology
You will consider the molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell function during embryogenesis and adulthood. This will involve studies of regeneration and repair of tissues and pluripotency. You will have one two-hour lecture per week in this module. 
 
Cancer Genetics
You will examine a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develop an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a three-hour lecture once per week.
 
Advanced Human Genetics
You will cover recent developments in the genetic approach to human disease, and will examine new findings in the study of disorders such as diabetes. If you choose this module you will spend around three hours per week within lectures, and there will be an eight hour seminar session.
 
Human Variation
Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
 
Science and Society
This module will explore the interactions between science and society through a series of lectures, discussion groups and workshops. Topics that will be explored include the ethical parameters that govern how scientific work is constrained, ways in which scientific discoveries can/should be disseminated to the wider community, the wider responsibilities that follow the acquisition of new knowledge and the concept of ‘citizen science’, where science takes place outside the traditional academic centres of work. This mode consists of a three-hour lecture incorporating discussion groups once per week.
 
 
Typical year four modules
Research Project
The project is a year-long module. Preparatory work (literature review and familiarisation with laboratory/field safety protocols etc.) occurs in autumn, with the bulk of the practical work in spring. You will choose the topic of your project from a list of suggestions relevant to your degree subject and will finalise this after consultation with your supervisor. The project involves an extensive piece of detailed research. Reading and collating earlier research by other scientists working in the area is an essential component. You will use your literature review to write a research grant proposal, which outlines the hypotheses to be tested, the proposed experimental design and the research costs associated with the project. The practical component involves collection of data from a laboratory or field investigation and appropriate analysis. Your findings will be interpreted in the context of previous work, and written up in a clear and concise final report in the form of a research paper.
 
Research Presentation Skills
An introduction to the presentation skills required in a modern scientific career. A series of lectures will provide you with background ideas about best practice in oral, written and internet-based research communication. Regular tutorials will require you to present and discuss with peers recent key papers in your broad field of study, and also to produce a written summary of a paper for a lay audience. In workshops, you will be asked to prepare a webpage and a poster using appropriate software. You will have between one and eight hours of lectures and workshops per week when studying for this module.
 

Optional modules: 

Cutting-Edge Research Technologies and Ideas in Molecular Biology
This module will bring you up to date with the latest technological developments in biochemistry that you are unlikely to have encountered in detail in your first three years. We also discuss and explore how new technologies with broad implications come into existence and follow the process of establishment, acceptance and dissemination through the scientific community. This module involves having a three hour workshop each week. 
 
Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis
This is an advanced level biological statistics module, building on basic undergraduate (Levels one and two) training. Lectures discuss concepts in experimental design, biological probability, generalised linear modelling and multivariate statistics. Practical sessions build on this conceptual outline, giving you hands-on experience of problem solving and analytical software, and some basic programming skills. You will spend three to four hours within lectures and workshops when studying this module.
 
Process and Practice in Science
A consideration of science ‘as a process’, with brief introductions to the history, philosophy and sociological norms of science. You will cover aspects of the scientific literature and scientific communication, peer review, 'metrics’, including citation analysis, journal impact factors, and the 'h' and other indices of measuring scientists' performances. You will also cover ethics in science and the changing relationship between scientists, government and the public. You will have a three hour lecture once per week during this module.
 

 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Careers

You will have a thorough knowledge of modern genetics, in areas such as the control of gene expression, cancer genetics, DNA repair, developmental biology, microbial evolution and population and conservation genetics.

You will have a range of transferable skills and your research experience, from project work in the third and fourth years will adapt you for research training positions. 

Find out more about the career options available to genetic graduates, including recent Nottingham graduate destinations by visiting our careers page.

Average starting salary 

In 2016, 92% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,037 with the highest being £42,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

 

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

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Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)


KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

 

How to use the data

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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