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
Taught Phase 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.
Research Project 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.
My first degree was undertaken in India. I successfully completed a three-year biology degree and decided that I wanted to specialise in genetics. I knew that I would have to study abroad and throughout my research into the courses available to me, the Genetics Department at the University of Leicester always came highly recommended. It is very well respected for its research and its personnel. Prospective students should be aware that this is not a course for the faint-hearted. It is demanding but extremely varied and I have become far more self-sufficient and independent than I would have envisaged. I am learning all the time. Coming to Leicester, working with great lecturers and researchers in excellent working conditions has so far been a great experience and not one that I wish to waste. I now know where I want to go career-wise – stay in the field of genetics, continue to do a PhD or work in the research field. Science was, is and will always be my passion!
Originally I completed a BSc in Biotechnology but always wanted to specialise in Genetics. The University of Leicester has an international reputation for its Genetics Department and with Professor Alec Jeffreys’ reputation and on-going research work, coming to Leicester to study was a great opportunity. My application was dealt with very smoothly. There are scholarships you can apply for and I was made aware of all the financial implications before I arrived. The University advised me about visa requirements; arranged my accommodation – so everything was ready for me when I arrived. “The course so far has lived up to my expectations. It is very demanding and you get out of it what you put in – but it is most definitely worth it. I have been guided through the whole process and look forward to the coming year. At the end of the course I hope to study for a PhD or get a job in a related field.
I studied for my undergraduate degree here at the University of Leicester in Biological Science but after a year of temping and not really getting settled I decided to return and study the MSc in Molecular Genetics. The first three months of the course was extremely well-structured. You get to know your lecturers really well and as the course is smaller you get to know your fellow students a lot more. I may be biased having studied here already, but the University is very friendly and whilst the course is very demanding and you have a lot of work to do, there are many opportunities to get to know other people, particularly those on the post-graduate courses. There is a Mature Students & Post Graduate Association, which organises events where you can meet people in a similar situation. Leicester is a great place to study, there is a really good atmosphere and whilst you are living in a city everything seems quite compact and you can get around easily. Everything is on the doorstep.
First or second class honours degree in Biological Sciences or related subject awarded by a British university, or equivalent. Significant relevant experience may be considered.
Recipient: University of Leicester
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