The MSc Molecular Genetics course aims to provide instruction in current concepts and techniques of molecular genetics as applied in modern research. The MSc offers practical experience of experimental techniques and provides a framework to develop skills to plan research and devise strategies to achieve specific goals. The MSc acts as a springboard for graduates who want employment in molecular, biomedical or biotechnological research, or for entry to PhD programmes.
The MSc was established in 1988 and has been developed over the years to reflect the research strengths within the Faculty. Our students find the course to be demanding and challenging but also exciting, stimulating and rewarding.
The MSc consists of 180 course credits and is split into two phases:
Taught Phase 60 credits September - January
Research Project 120 credits January - August
The taught phase is based around a series of taught practical experiments that introduce a variety of modern molecular techniques and research strategies. The experiments are run Tuesday-Friday of each week in the period September-December, with the Monday being reserved for a supporting lecture programme. The practical experiments are intensive and are used to help students develop analytical and reasoning skills as well as to learn how to plan and execute experimental investigations. There are some weeks set aside for students to complete written assignments and prepare for exams.
For the research project students become part of an active research group and choose from a broad range of projects offered by departments of the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences, the MRC Toxicology Unit, or collaborating research institutes or industrial partners (when available). The spread of projects covers a wide variety of disciplines involving molecular genetics and a variety of organisms.
Below are examples of project titles from a previous year:
• Molecular engineering of novel ligands with therapeutic potential
• Detection of oxidative damage to DNA in specific gene sequences
• Analyzing human disease genes in yeast
• Single molecule methods for watching the assembly of splicing complexes
• Secretory protein expression in pancreatic β-cells
• The iron responsive regulatory system of Campylobacter jejuni
• Non-recombining segments of the human genome as tools to study evolutionary history
• Analysis of telomere length dynamics in mice that lack telomerase by the amplification of single mouse telomeres.
• Molecular mechanisms underlying antisense-RNA mediated CpG island methylation in mammalian cells
• Mutations in the LMNA Gene in Emery Dreyfuss Muscular Dystrophy – consequences for in vitro differentiation of muscle cell cultures
• Alternative lengthening of telomeres in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Assessment of the research project is based on:
• Research performance (60 credits)
• A written report on the research (50 credits)
• A research seminar (10 credits).
Students submit the project report in August and the research seminars are held near the end of August.