Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics MSc


Fact file

MSc Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics
Full time 12 Months
Entry requirements
2.2 (Lower 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Applicants should hold a minimum of a 2ii honours degree in Life Sciences, Biomedical Sciences or allied subjects, awarded from an approved University. Applicants whose first language is not English will only be considered if they already hold an IELTS qualification which meets the criteria.
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Queen's Medical Centre and University Park Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


Study the theory, practical aspects and existing and emerging technologies that underpin molecular genetics and the diagnosis and understanding of disease.
Read full overview

This course is suitable for graduates in life sciences, biomedical sciences and allied subjects, as well as those already employed in science, laboratory or medical fields. We welcome UK, EU and international applicants. 

We’re a unique course. You’ll explore the molecular genetic basis to disease from both a human and infectious disease perspective.

Key topics that you’ll cover include:

  • the molecular basis to human genetic diseases
  • molecular diagnostic technologies in healthcare
  • the molecular basis to infectious diseases

Research in the school

At Nottingham, we research to bring about positive change. Our innovative ideas are designed to work in the real world. Postgraduate students directly contribute to the impact of our research and are important to the work we do. 

The school is responsible for the main biological and biomedical research in the University. Research groups linked to this course include Human Genetics, and Molecular and Cellular Bacteriology. 

Their work focuses on the genetic basis of complex diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases caused by clinically relevant pathogens such as Pseudomonas spp.,Yersinia spp. and Staphylococcus spp


International applicants

With staff and students from all over the world including Australia, America (North and South), Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Poland and Pakistan, you’ll be joining a truly global course.      

The University has dedicated teams to support international applicants through the application and registration processes. Once in Nottingham, the International Office runs a welcome programme to help you settle in to life in the UK and meet other students. The Students’ Union is also a source of support. 


Key facts

  • 95% of the School of Life Sciences research was deemed to be of international quality according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.
  • The School of Life Sciences was ranked 9th for Research Power in our unit of assessment (REF 2014).
  • The school has been awarded Athena SWAN Silver status. Athena SWAN champions good working practices to advance the representation of women in STEMM subjects.
  • We've been recognised as delivering a Gold standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching.
  • Nottingham features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings.



Course details

Course structure

You’ll have 120 credits of taught modules and undertake a 60 credit research project and dissertation. A full list of the modules is available under the modules tab.

For the research project, you’ll have a choice from topics provided by academics across diverse research areas. Working alongside active researchers in laboratories, you’ll learn contemporary research methods by designing a research programme and performing experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.

Past project titles have included:

  • DNA methylation and cognitive epialleles
  • RNA regulation of translation at synapses
  • Pseudomonas PqsR quorum sensing inhibitors
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa SamA
  • Biosynthesis of antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid
  • Exploring bacteria for biosynthesis of plant natural products
  • Fermentation studies on the bacterial strains
  • Regulation and function of H. pylori type IV secretion systems
  • Viral discovery
  • Pre-eclampsia endothelial dysfunction and selectins
  • NGS sequencing analysis of DNA methylation genes
  • Optimisation of strategy for genetic testing in familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Investigating the regulatory potential of rs9357347 on genes in the TREM locus 

What you'll study

By studying this course, you will:

  • experience advanced study in the theoretical and practical aspects of the genetic basis and diagnosis of disease from both human and pathogen perspectives 
  • be involved with an active research laboratory where you will develop the skills essential for a career in research
  • train to carry out critical evaluation of published scientific papers and develop the ability to report and interpret results
  • study the latest diagnostic technologies in healthcare 

How you'll be taught and assessed

Alongside University academic staff, colleagues working in molecular diagnostics and clinical genetics in the NHS may contribute to the teaching on the course.

Course material is delivered in various ways including lectures, practical sessions and tutorials. We also provide additional learning material and self-assessment exercises online. The online MSc database provides a central point for you to access your timetable, assessment results and easy access to additional module resources provided by staff. 

Assessment varies depending on the topic being studied but you can expect:

  • examinations delivered electronically (multiple choice, multiple response and extended matching questions)
  • written examinations
  • oral presentations
  • essays
  • poster preparation
  • dissertation

Skills and facilities

Through the taught modules and the research project, you’ll gain practical skills in various areas. The school has excellent research facilities to support your practical training: 

  • qPCR
  • imaging
  • FACS
  • biochemistry
  • genomics
  • tissue culture
  • steile microbiology
  • molecular genetics techniques
  • biofilmsinterface with biosurfaces

In addition to subject-specific skills, you’ll also gain the following transferable skills:

  • time management
  • critical analysis
  • research ethics
  • study design
  • presentation – short, long and oral

Student support

All students will have a personal tutor for academic and pastoral support. In addition, you’ll have two supervisors for the research project – a primary academic supervisor and a bench supervisor.

The University offers wider student support relating to money matters, health and welfare, and careers. 





Successful completion of the course will necessitate accumulation of 180 credits, 120 of which will derive from the taught modules and 60 from the research project.

Common Research Methods: Transferable Research Skills
You’ll gain understanding in planning, preparing and executing research in the field of molecular biology, microbiology immunology and genetics. You’ll learn how to plan research projects, assess published literature, analyse data and gain experience presenting research data and preparing publications.
Common Research Methods: Molecular Techniques
During the molecular biology practical laboratory sessions, you’ll gain experience of standard techniques related to laboratory research in the fields of immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics. From this, you will appreciate the workflow of gene cloning, followed by sequence analysis of genes and their variability, as well as cloning and expression of recombinant proteins.
This module will familiarise you with statistical techniques used in analysing biological data, and to enable you to obtain practical experience in using statistical software (SPSS). You’ll learn how to describe and interpret data using the appropriate statistical terms as well as how to present the data in graphical form.
Microbial Genetics and Genomics
This module will use several genetic regulatory systems to illustrate how key virulence factors are regulated in bacterial and viral pathogens. These examples will also be used to demonstrate how tools used for genomic analysis can be used to diagnose and monitor infectious diseases.
Gene Regulation in Mammalian Cells
Topics covered in this module will include chromatin remodelling, methods for regulating abundance of mRNA, DNA/protein and protein/protein interactions, research methods and association with disease. You’ll learn how to describe the mechanisms that control eukaryotic genes and apply current research methods to address gene regulatory issues. The role that gene regulation plays in disease is also explored.
This module will teach you informational content and information flow in biological systems and processes. Using your new bioinformatics skills, you’ll write and present a poster detailing a relevant protein or pathway.
Molecular Services in Health Care
This module will provide you with knowledge and understanding of the application of molecular diagnostic techniques in the health service including genetic counselling, molecular clinical genetics, cytogenetics, population screening, and cellular pathology. You’ll explore the factors to be considered for setting up a molecular diagnostic laboratory as well as appreciating the ethical considerations to genetic counselling and genetic screening.
Molecular Technologies in Complex Diseases
You’ll gain an extensive overview of molecular techniques used in research of human diseases. The possible implications of these methods will also be explored. You’ll discuss the strengths and limitations of linkage analysis and genetic association studies in the study of complex disorders, and critically evaluate relevant literature.
Molecular Basis of Genetic Disorders
This module covers the molecular basis of human diseases with a genetic component, focusing on those with a Mendelian pattern of inheritance. The lectures will cover clinical features of selected diseases and their genetic basis. Seminars will provide experience in interpreting genetic tests in inherited disorders, and opportunities to discuss the concepts underlying the identification of predisposing genes in human disorders.
Research Project
The project will provide experience in contemporary research methods with the student performing experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem. You will first collect and analyse data and read and collate previous results relevant to your project. You will then embark on a period of research before preparing, writing and submitting a dissertation written in the style of a research paper. Students are also expected to attend a viva voce examination at the end of the module where they discuss their findings and defend their conclusions with two examiners. The form of project may vary and is usually based in a laboratory, but bioinformatics or extended literature reviews may be offered as an alternative.


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. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



School of Life Sciences scholarship 

The School of Life Sciences is offering 12 scholarships amounting to £1,000 each for students starting in 2018-19. To apply for these scholarships you need a copy of an acceptance letter confirming that you have a place to study. This is a competitive scheme and students will be awarded a scholarship on academic and individual merit.

Application deadlines

Home/European Union students: The closing date for scholarship applications is 12 mid-day (UK time) Friday 17 August 2018. Successful applicants will be notified via email by 31 August 2018.

International students: The closing date for scholarship applications is 12 mid-day (UK time) Friday 25 May 2018. Successful applicants will be notified via email by Friday 8 June 2018.

Full details and application forms for these scholarships can be obtained by contacting:
Anita Purshottam


UK/EU students

For funding advice, please see our guide to funding

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.




Upon graduation, our students are internationally competitive and go on to establish a range of successful careers. These include studying for a PhD in internationally-recognised research laboratories worldwide, or alternatively working in industry or the healthcare sector. Previous graduates have also obtained positions as trainee diagnostic geneticists. 

Students from our full suite of MSc courses have gone on to a variety of positions - here are a few examples: 

  • PhD –  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Infection Control Nurses
  • NHS Clinical Scientists
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist –  AMGEM Biotech
  • PhD –  School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • Clinical Trial Data Managers
  • Application Specialist Biological Sciences –  Japan
  • Biomedical Scientists (BMS1)
  • Research Technician – University of Nottingham
  • Research Scientist – GlaxoSmithKline     

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 92.6% of postgraduates from the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £26,847 with the highest being £70,000.*

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


Career prospects and employability

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.



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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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