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Course content

The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires contributions from research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to investigate the causes of, and therefore permit optimal management for, diseases for which alterations in the genome, either at the DNA sequence level or epigenetic level, play a significant role. Collaboration between staff from the University of Glasgow and the NHS West of Scotland Genetics Service enables the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics to provide a state-of-the-art view of the application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and diagnostics, and in delivery of a high quality genetics service to patients, as well as in design of targeted therapies.

Why this programme

  • This is a fully up-to-date Medical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
  • The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
  • The MSc Medical Genetics Course is based on the south side of the River Clyde in the brand new (2015) purpose built Teaching & Learning Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals (we are located 4 miles from the main University Campus). The Centre also houses state of the art educational resources, including a purpose built teaching laboratory, computing facilities and a well equipped library. The West of Scotland Genetic Services are also based here at the Queen Elizabeth Campus allowing students to learn directly from NHS staff about the latest developments to this service. 
  • The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the Medical Genetics MSc provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
  • The Medical Genetics degree explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
  • New developments in medical genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
  • You will develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
  • This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science or by moving into related careers in diagnostic services.
  • The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
  • For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
  • The Medical Council of Hong Kong recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics from University of Glasgow in it's list of Quotable Qualifications.

Career prospects

Research: About half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs; the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.

Diagnostics: Some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, particularly in molecular genetics and cytogenetics.

Clinical genetics: Those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.

Other: Although the focus of teaching is on using the available technologies for the purpose of genetic diagnostics, many of these technologies are used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many countries around the world, have entered careers in industry, scientific publishing, education and medicine.


Visit the Medical Genetics and Genomics (MedSci) (MSc) page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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