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Course content

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.

About this degree

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.

Core modules

  • Advanced Human Genetics: Research Principles
  • Understanding Bioinformatics Resources and their Applications
  • Human Genetics: Core Skills
  • Basic Statistics for Medical Sciences

Specialist modules

In term two you will take specialist modules depending on the specialist stream you select: Inherited Disease (A); Pharmacogenetics (B); Computational Genomics (C). 

  • Applications in Human Genetics (A)
  • Either Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease or Genetics of Neurological Disease (A)
  • Clinical Applications of Pharmacogenetic Tests (B)
  • Anti-Cancer Personalised Medicine or Pharmacogenomics, adverse drug reactions and biomarkers (B)
  • Applications in Human Genetics (C)
  • Statistics for Interpreting Genetic Data (C)

Dissertation/report

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

Careers

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

  • Laboratory Specialist, King Abdullah Medical Complex
  • Non-Clinical Research Associate, University of Oxford
  • Trainee Geneticist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • PhD in Cardiovascular Science, UCL
  • Genomic Research Technician, Genome Centre

Employability

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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.


Visit the Genetics of Human Disease (MSc) page on the University College London website for more details!

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