Genetic counsellors work in a multidisciplinary team with clinical geneticists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, communicating complex genetic information to individuals and families to facilitate decision making. Genetic counsellors are employed in clinical genetics units and work in many areas including: cancer genetics, predictive testing, paediatric genetics, prenatal genetics, adult genetics. Genetic counsellors increasingly are involved in qualitative and quantitative clinical genetic research.
The Master of Genetic Counselling constitutes the professional qualification for entry into employment as an associate genetic counsellor, and for Board Eligible certification, awarded through the Board of Censors in Genetic Counselling (Human Genetics Society of Australasia).
The 2 year Master of Genetic Counselling is designed to build and increase skills and breadth in clinical practice and research, utilising the expertise of tutors who are clinicians, genetic counsellors, scientists, people with a disability and community members. The Masters is taught within the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services at the Royal Childrens Hospital Parkville Victoria. Students are encouraged to attend educational activities within Genetic Health including seminars, clinic meetings and journal club.
The Graduate Diploma is an exit point after 1 year of study in the Masters.
Internationally, genetic counselling is taught within a 2 year clinical Masters. The Masters program aims to increase research and employment opportunities for graduates through developing reciprocity with other countries. With well established links to overseas training programs there are international opportunities for students, through an active exchange program for clinical placements and research collaborations. Past graduates are employed throughout the world -including in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand. It is expected that graduates of the Melbourne Masters will be eligible to register to practise as genetic counsellors in the UK and Canada, further increasing employment opportunities.
The Master of Genetic Counselling will fulfil the requirements for certification and employment as a genetic counsellor in Australia and reciprocity with training overseas. The program teaches counselling skills, research skills and clinical genetics knowledge in small interactive student groups. Problem Based Learning is one mode of teaching in the genetics tutorials. This mode of teaching facilitates independent learning which equips the student to continue to develop professionally throughout their career. Students will complete a minor thesis with supervision, and have extensive counselling skills practice in varied clinical genetics and community settings. Assessment tasks mirror the skills needed in genetic counselling practice and for professional certification by the HGSA(Part 2)
Teaching staff are primarily practicing genetic counsellors, scientists and clinicians within the clinical genetics service.
Research and Evaluation Skills:
Critical Reflection and Cognition Skills:
The Genetics of Human Disease MSc aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of molecular genetics, quantitative and statistical genetics and human disease and how this can be applied to improve healthcare through the development and application of diagnostic tests and therapeutic agents.
The programme provides a thorough grounding in modern approaches to the understanding of the genetics of disease alongside the cutting-edge research methods and techniques used to advance our understanding of development of disease. Core modules provide a broad coverage of the genetics of disease, research skills and social aspects, whilst specialised streams in Inherited Diseases, Pharmacogenetics and Computational Genomics, in which students can qualify, and the research project allow more in-depth analysis in areas of genetics.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits) and two specialist modules (30 credits) and a research project culminating in a dissertation (90 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma consisting of six modules (four core modules in term one and two modules within the selected stream in term two) is offered, full-time nine months.
A Postgraduate Certificate consisting of four core modules in term one (60 credits) is offered, full-time three months.
In term two you will take specialist modules depending on the specialist stream you select: Inherited Disease (A); Pharmacogenetics (B); Computational Genomics (C).
Students undertake an original research project investigating topical questions in genetics and genetics of human disease which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 to 14,000 words and an oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
Students develop their knowledge and understanding of genetics of human diseases through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, presentations and journal clubs. Taught modules are assessed by unseen written examination and/or, written reports, oral presentations and coursework. The research project is assessed by the dissertation and oral presentation.
Further information on modules and degree structure available on the UCL Genetics Institute website.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Genetics of Human Disease MSc
Advanced training in genetic techniques including bioinformatic and statistical approaches positions graduates well for PhD studentships in laboratories using genetic techniques to examine diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders. Another large group will seek research jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, or jobs related to genetics in healthcare organisations.
Recent career destinations for this degree
The MSc in Genetics of Human Disease facilitates acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant to a career in research in many different biomedical disciplines. About half of our graduates enter a research career by undertaking and completing PhDs and working as research associates/scientists in academia. Some of our graduates go on to jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, while others enter careers with clinical genetic diagnosis services, particularly in molecular genetics, in healthcare organisations and hospitals around the world. Those graduates with a prior medical training often utilise their new skills as clinical geneticists.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is in a unique position to offer both the basic science and application of modern genetics to improve human health. The programme is a cross-faculty initiative with teaching from across the School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS) at UCL.
Students will be based at the UCL Genetics Institute (UGI), a world-leading centre which develops and applies biostatistical and bioinformatic approaches to human and population genetics. Opportunities to conduct laboratory or computational-based research projects are available in the laboratories of world-leading geneticists affiliated to the UGI.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Biosciences
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
We invite postgraduate research proposals in a number of disease areas that impact significantly on patient care. We focus on exploring the mechanisms of disease, understanding the ways disease impacts patients’ lives, utilising new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and developing new treatments.
As a student you will be registered with a University research institute, for many this is the Institute for Cellular Medicine (ICM). You will be supported in your studies through a structured programme of supervision and training via our Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School.
We undertake the following areas of research and offer MPhil, PhD and MD supervision in:
Newcastle hosts one of the most comprehensive organ transplant programmes in the world. This clinical expertise has developed in parallel with the applied immunobiology and transplantation research group. We are investigating aspects of the immunology of autoimmune diseases and cancer therapy, in addition to transplant rejection. We have themes to understand the interplay of the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses by a variety of pathways, and how these can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. Further research theme focusses on primary immunodeficiency diseases.
There is strong emphasis on the integration of clinical investigation with basic science. Our research include:
We also research the effects of UVR on the skin including mitochondrial DNA damage as a UV biomarker.
This area emphasises on translational research, linking clinical- and laboratory-based science. Key research include:
Focus is on applied research and aims to underpin future clinical applications. Technology-oriented and demand-driven research is conducted which relates directly to health priority areas such as:
This research is sustained through extensive internal and external collaborations with leading UK and European academic and industrial groups, and has the ultimate goal of deploying next-generation diagnostic and therapeutic systems in the hospital and health-care environment.
There is a number of research programmes into the genetics, immunology and physiology of kidney disease and kidney transplantation. We maintain close links between basic scientists and clinicians with many translational programmes of work, from the laboratory to first-in-man and phase III clinical trials. Specific areas:
We have particular interests in:
Novel non-invasive methodologies using magnetic resonance are developed and applied to clinical research. Our research falls into two categories:
Our studies cover a broad range of topics (including diabetes, dementia, neuroscience, hepatology, cardiovascular, neuromuscular disease, metabolism, and respiratory research projects), but have a common theme of MR technical development and its application to clinical research.
We focus on connective tissue diseases in three, overlapping research programmes. These programmes aim to understand:
This research theme links with other local, national and international centres of excellence and has close integration of basic and clinical researchers and hosts the only immunotherapy centre in the UK.
Genetic approaches to the individualisation of drug therapy, including anticoagulants and anti-cancer drugs, and in the genetics of diverse non-Mendelian diseases, from diabetes to periodontal disease, are a focus. A wide range of knowledge and experience in both genetics and clinical sciences is utilised, with access to high-throughput genotyping platforms.
Our scientists and clinicians use in situ cellular technologies and large-scale gene expression profiling to study the normal and pathophysiological remodelling of vascular and uteroplacental tissues. Novel approaches to cellular interactions have been developed using a unique human tissue resource. Our research themes include:
We also have preclinical molecular biology projects in breast cancer research.
We conduct a broad range of research activities into acute and chronic lung diseases. As well as scientific studies into disease mechanisms, there is particular interest in translational medicine approaches to lung disease, studying human lung tissue and cells to explore potential for new treatments. Our current areas of research include:
Our research projects are concerned with the harmful effects of chemicals, including prescribed drugs, and finding ways to prevent and minimise these effects. We are attempting to measure the effects of fairly small amounts of chemicals, to provide ways of giving early warning of the start of harmful effects. We also study the adverse side-effects of medicines, including how conditions such as liver disease and heart disease can develop in people taking medicines for completely different medical conditions. Our current interests include: environmental chemicals and organophosphate pesticides, warfarin, psychiatric drugs and anti-cancer drugs.
Our new School of Pharmacy has scientists and clinicians working together on all aspects of pharmaceutical sciences and clinical pharmacy.
The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. The Clinical Genetics MSc has a specific focus on delivery of the clinical service to patients including risk analysis and application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and in diagnostics and population screening.
Genetic Disease and Clinical Practice
This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Clinical Genetics and Genomics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.
Distress or Disorder: Reactions to a medical diagnosis
This course outlines the process of psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis or test result allowing participants to establish if and when a distress reaction develops into an adjustment disorder. The implications of diagnosis are explored and evidence considered allowing informed decisions about appropriate referrals to other agencies.
Patient Empowerment: Supporting decisions relating to new diagnoses
This course reflects on evidence and experience to explore the psychological and social impact of a diagnosis, or illness, and provides strategies to support resilience and coping in patients. Factors related to lived experience, personal beliefs and values, culture, adjustment processes, decision-making, misconceptions, secrecy and guilt are considered to equip participants in the promotion of patient-centred care.
Effective listening and communication skills
With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to facilitate adjustment and to allow an individual to come to terms with change in a safe way to minimise impact. The focus will be on the theory supporting counselling, developing key listening and communication skills and on establishing reflective practice.
Case Investigations in Medical Genetics and Genomics
Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.
This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussion the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.
Disease Screening in Populations
This course will cover the rationale for, and requirements of, population screening programmes to detect individuals at high risk of particular conditions, who can then be offered diagnostic investigations. Students will work in groups to investigate and report on, a screening programme of their choice from any country.
The course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out an independent investigative project in the field of Medical Genetics and Genomics.
Teaching and Learning Methods
A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures and tutorials. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in clinical genetics. These skills include team-working and data interpretation. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenicity of DNA sequence variants.
This programme would be beneficial for anyone with a previous MBChB or similar degree, and would facilitate a career as a Clinical Geneticist.
The need to develop new strategies to combat diseases remains a major global challenge. This degree aims to enhance your employability and prepare you to tackle this challenge.
We’ll give you advanced training in the mechanisms underpinning a spectrum of infectious and non-infectious diseases, including viral, bacterial and parasitic infections, cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and chromosomal abnormalities. You’ll also explore current and emerging diagnostic and treatment strategies.
You’ll learn about the latest molecular, genetic and cellular approaches being used to understand, diagnose and treat human disease, including traditional methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and novel methods involving genome and proteome analysis.
You’ll also have the opportunity to investigate the role of the immune system in the response to infection and disease, covering topics such as innate and adaptive immunity, allergy and immune evasion.
If you choose to study at Leeds, you’ll join a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), and you’ll graduate with the solid base of scientific knowledge and specialist skills highly valued by employers.
On this course you’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences. You’ll investigate five topic areas: molecular biology, structural biology, cell imaging and flow cytometry, high throughput techniques and transgenic organisms.
You’ll also apply your knowledge to an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.
To help you to develop and specialise, you’ll get substantial subject-specific training through an independent research project in an area of infection, immunity or human disease.
You’ll also take specialist taught modules covering topics such as infectious and non-infectious disease, advanced immunology, medical diagnostics and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.
If you have previous experience of immunology, you could opt to investigate the structure, regulation and development of the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, or explore aspects of human toxicology. These could include the actions of toxicants on the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems, kidneys, liver and lungs, genetic toxicology and chemical carcinogenesis, and the effects of chemicals on fetal development.
In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.
Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.
You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.
Through your research project and specialist modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.
We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.
The strong research element of the Infection, Immunity and Human Disease MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’ll graduate equipped for a wide range of careers.
Our graduates work in a diverse range of areas, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.
Links with industry
We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our programmes.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:
Industrial research placements
Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.
Professional and career development
We take personal and career development very seriously. We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advises us on what they look for in graduates and on employability related skills within our courses.
Our dedicated Employability and Professional Development Officer ensures that you are aware of events and opportunities to increase your employability. In addition, our Masters Career Development Programme will support you to:
The MRC Human Genetics Unit discovers how changes in our DNA impact our lives.
We combine the latest computational and experimental technologies to investigate how our genomes work to control the function of molecules, cells and tissues in people and populations. For more than half a century our research has been dedicated to understanding human genetic disease.
Today we continue to apply our clinical and scientific expertise, harnessing the power of complex data, to improve health, and the lives of patients and their families. As well as delivering outstanding research, the institute creates a vibrant scientific community and a friendly research environment rich in both scientific and social opportunities.
Our PhD and MSc programmes harness strengths in different research disciplines (genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology) tied to our scientific themes (disease mechanisms, biomedical genomics and genome regulation). Our programmes also provides a strong focus on computational biology, and state of the art imaging as part of the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium. Over 30 principal investigators based in the MRC HGU contribute to these cross-disciplinary programmes spanning fundamental to clinical research.
The MRC Human Genetics unit offers 3 and 4 year PhD projects, please visit our programme website for current opportunities, and further details.
Entry requirements are described below and different PhD projects have different funding restrictions. To apply for any of our PhD programmes please select one of the buttons and dates to the right (For 4 year programmes, please select “3-year”).
The practice of medicine, especially in the disciplines of Pathology and Genetics is increasingly reliant on Genomic technology. The aim of this programme is to increase the knowledge and capability of scientific and clinical staff using genetic data in their daily work allowing them to engage confidently with the scientific concepts of Molecular Pathology and Genomic Medicine, and to use their skills to improve patient care. The programme could also provide a foundation for those students interested in developing a clinical academic career.
The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of Genomic Technology. To adequately realise the potential of these technologies in a diagnostic setting this programme will cover the scientific underpinning and clinical application of genomic technology to enable clinicians and scientists to provide maximum benefit to patients.
The programme will provide a structured environment for students wishing to develop cutting edge knowledge and practical skills in Clinical Genomics and Molecular Pathology. The programme structure is designed around three central themes: scientific foundation, diagnostics, and patient management and treatment.
The PG Cert is comprised of four compulsory courses, totalling 60 credits.
Students will learn via a mixture of guided online activities, in-person tutorials, and in course four, an extended project. In addition to structured learning, students are expected to conduct independent study and read around the subject area.
Students will develop their critical analysis skills through evaluation of primary research articles and reviews. Students will learn how to perform variant analysis and next generation sequencing data analysis using relevant bioinformatics tools. Students can also expect to develop the communication skills required for interacting with the major stakeholders of genomic information: clinical scientists, doctors and patients.
Teaching is performed by a variety of staff who are leaders in their field, as well as experienced educators. The core teaching team is comprised of staff from the NHS Lothian Clinical Genetics Service and Pathology departments. Additional teaching is performed by clinical and scientific staff from across Edinburgh University and the UK. In addition, the programme has a dedicated teaching teaching fellow, who will provide academic and pastoral support throughout all courses.
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)
Aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on the Postgraduate Certificate programme. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Postgraduate Certificate programme.
The programme will adopt a blended learning format, with teaching delivered via online as a eLectures and interviews, in-person tutorials, and online interactive content.
Programme materials and resources will all be available in the virtual learning environment, Learn. Learn provides an interactive forum for students to engage with other learners and the programme teaching staff. Multiple feedback opportunities will be integrated within each course and will comprise of weekly interactive online quizzes, discussion boards and office hours. In-person tutorials will also represent an important feedback opportunity for students. Assessment will vary slightly with each course, common assessment modalities include structured written assignments, presentations and data analysis reports.
The programme is aimed primarily at NHS laboratory and clinical staff. It is designed for anyone wishing to expand their understanding of molecular pathology and how it applies to clinical diagnostics. The PG Cert will be of use to a wide range of individuals as it can be used to support FRC Path, Clinical Scientist Development and Genetic Technologist Registration. It can be used as a component of STP and could potentially contribute the first 60 credits of MSc. It will also provide the scientific underpinning for Genetic Counselling.