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Course content

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering specialist routes, which also include Animal Breeding & Genetics and Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to undertake research in evolutionary and quantitative genetics, population genetics and evolutionary genomics.

  • A thorough understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • In-depth knowledge of evolutionary genetics
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required for quantitative biology
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.


Visit the Evolutionary Genetics (MSc/PgDip) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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