The science of human genetics has been transformed in the past decade. Following the sequencing of the entire human genome, a wealth of resources is now available to researchers aiming to identify the genetic variants that influence human health. These findings will shed light on the underlying molecular pathology of many diseases that are poorly understood at present, eventually paving the way for novel treatment and prevention strategies. The speed at which these discoveries are being made is accelerating, and it is likely that molecular genetics will soon underpin much of modern medicine.
The MSc in Human Molecular Genetics programme is designed to prepare you for a genetics research career, either in human gene function and genetic disease, or molecular approaches to diagnosis and health care biotechnology. It provides a broad grounding in Human Genetics, with emphasis on molecular aspects, to give a solid basis for subsequent academic or industrial research, or for entry to NHS Genetics training. Approximately 40% of our students go on to do a PhD, 40% become research assistants/associates, while others go on to jobs in industry or further studies (bioinformatics/computing medicine). One or two students every year enter the NHS in clinical genetics training posts.
You will study the fundamentals of human and molecular genetics, models of inheritance for rare and common/ complex polygenic diseases, cytogenetics, analytical methods in human genetics and genomics, animal models and transgenesis, gene therapy, epigenetics, cancer genetics and an introduction to clinical genetics and genetic counselling services.
There are four weeks of intensive laboratory practical sessions, as well as computer science practicals applied to problems in genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, regular research seminars on site, student seminar and journal presentations, study group activities and a six-month full-time research project in the summer.
The programme is based on an average 20 hours contact time per week. This will vary between 15 hours in most weeks and approximately 40 hours during intensive practicals and projects. Private study time is included within the schedule: you are expected to contribute an additional 10-15 hours private study per week to the course. We do not recommend you try to support yourself by taking a part-time employment whilst studying as your work may suffer.
There are 3 x 3-hour written papers in late February, coursework assessments (poster presentation, analytical methods in genetics, oral presentation), a project report and a viva examination in September.
The programme is primarily based at Hammersmith Campus in West London although some teaching modules are held at St Mary's Campus and the Northwick Park Campus.