Undergraduate School

Genetics

C400 BSc Genetics
C409 MBiol, BSc Genetics (Integrated Masters)

Society of BiologyGenetics (Integrated Masters) - has received interim accreditation by the Society of Biology.

This course offers:

  • the chance to study in a Faculty ranked 4th in the UK for research in biological sciences by the leading scientific journal ‘Nature’ based on the numbers of staff producing research that was “world leading or internationally excellent”.

What is Genetics?

  • Human population Where do we come from, as a species, and how are we all related?
  • Climate change threatens food security and biodiversity. How can we continue to develop crops to feed the expanding human population, whilst maintaining optimal conservation practices?
  • Medical technology means that we all live longer, but this in turn provides new challenges: hospital “superbugs”, diseases of middle and old age (such as cancer), new epidemics (AIDS and bird flu) and inherited disease. How can we continue to improve human health, worldwide?

If these problems engage your interest, then by studying genetics you can help find the solutions.

Genetic code Genetics is a comprehensive study of:

  • the nature, transmission and expression of genetic information in living organisms
  • the applications of genetic techniques in fields as diverse as genetic engineering, plant and animal breeding, biotechnology, diagnosis and therapies for human diseases, conservation ecology and evolutionary studies

Since 2001 six Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries in genetics.

 

Why study Genetics?

Rice crop . Copyright Aurora Levesley Leeds is one of the few universities in which you can specialise in genetics whilst gaining a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of related disciplines e.g. biology and molecular biology. BSc Genetics provides a comprehensive study of the nature, transmission, and expression of genetic information in living organisms, as well as the applications of genetic techniques in fields as diverse as genetic engineering, developmental biology, biotechnology, diagnostics and therapies for human diseases, and conservation biology:

  • the decoding of the genomes of animals, plants and their pathogens, delivers new insights into development and disease
  • techniques such as genetic engineering and DNA fingerprinting are already indispensable in areas such as drug discovery and forensics
  • “bioinformatics” – computational analysis of genome DNA databases - allows us to identify genes that control key processes such as development, and recognise their essential similarities between widely different organisms
  • understanding the diversity of the human species is essential to our understanding of what it is to be human. Through the comparative analysis of human genomes, we come to realise that we share a common evolutionary heritage. We also see how our species shares its genetic history with all other species on the planet


Unsurprisingly, given the power of genetics, its application can also be controversial. An understanding of the subject is required to inform debates on the ethics of gene therapy, the impact of GM technology and access to DNA databases.

Visit the UK Genetics Society website for interesting current articles and further background information



Entry Requirements

2014 entry requirements

BSc Genetics - UCAS code C400

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA-ABB from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. If Biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

We consider applications on an individual basis and an offer will depend on the information given on your UCAS form. Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD in Applied Science, including distinctions in the following units: Fundamentals of Science, Mathematical Calculations for Science, Biochemistry and Biochemical Techniques, Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Chemistry for Biology Technicians.

International Baccalaureate: 35-34 (with 18-16 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB-AAABBB including an A in higher level Biology and another science subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3-D3/M2/M2 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Food Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

BSc (Hons) Genetics with Industrial Placement

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Industrial Placements

BSc (Hons) Genetics with Study Year Abroad

If you are interested in this programme, apply via UCAS for the standard BSc programme above. We will provide you with further details of the placement and study abroad schemes in year one, and you can transfer at the end of year two (subject to academic performance).

Read more about Study Year Abroad

MBiol, BSc Genetics (Integrated Masters) - UCAS code C409

A Level or Advanced Higher: AAA from 3 A2/Advanced Higher including Biology and another science or science-related subject. Critical Thinking and General Studies excluded.

International Baccalaureate: 35 (with 18 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAAB including an A in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3/D3/D3 including Pre-U Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

Applications are assessed from a combination of the following; the balance, nature and quality of A2, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalents); the referee's comments and your personal statement.

Science subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Science- related subjects: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, ICT, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics and Sports Science.

Duration of the course 3 Years Full Time (C400)
4 Years Full Time (C409)
An Industrial Placement or Study Year Abroad will add a year to the duration of the course
English languge requirements If English is not your first language, please check our minimum English language requirements. UG brochure 2014

Admissions policy

Download our Admissions Policy for 2014 entry. (PDF format). This includes information on the application process, our admissions intake and the selection process.

Admissions enquiries

Carolyn Giles
Tel. +44 (0) 113 343 2829
Email: fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Admissions tutor

Dr Henry Greathead
Tel. +44 (0) 113 343 3063
Email: h.m.r.greathead@leeds.ac.uk

Department

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School

Programme Leaders

Dr Andy Cuming

Dr Marie-Anne Shaw

Course brochure

Download a course brochure

Course Structure

The structure of your course will vary dependent upon which of the following pathways you choose:

Qualification Course Title Duration
BSc Genetics 3 years
BSc Genetics with industrial placement year 4 years
BSc Genetics with a study year abroad 4 years
MBiol, BSc Genetics 4 years
MBiol, BSc Genetics with industrial placement year 5 years
MBiol, BSc enetics with a study year abroad 5 years

BSc Course Structure

In the first and second year lectures, practicals and tutorials are the most important forms of teaching. You will have lectures and tutorials each week, and regular laboratory sessions. In the final year you will be able to choose your favourite topics to study under the guidance of leading experts; your research project will take up about one third of your time with the rest devoted to lectures and tutorials. Formal examinations are held twice a year, in January and May/June, to spread the assessment load.

Modules

All degree programmes are modular and offer wide choice.

Modules may be core (you have to take them), optional (you can choose from a list of alternatives) or elective (you have a free choice); the balance depends upon your year and programme of study. We offer a wide range of modules. Selected examples include:

Imaging of worm nerve showing specific cells in fluorescent green
Imaging of specific cells, in this case a couple of nerves in a worm, by genetic engineering the animal so that it produces the green fluorescent protein of a jellyfish

Genetics Year 1

Genetic Information

From Mendel to molecules, this module introduces the basic concepts of how genetic information is transmitted from one generation to another. Examples are taken from the whole spectrum of living organisms, from bacteria to humans, by way of plants, worms and fruit-flies as well as genetic parasites like viruses. It also describes how the genetic information is deciphered by the cell and how individual genes are regulated. The basic principles of how different types of cell select different genes to be expressed, and how genes are regulated throughout the life of the organism are introduced.

Genetics Year 2

Prokaryotic Genetics, Genomics and Gene Expression

The prokaryotic world - archaebacteria and eubacteria - provides key insights into the nature and diversity of the genetic machinery. Bacteria may be dangerous, useful or just interesting. This module examines the control of bacterial gene expression, the effects of mutation on protein structure and function, and the acquisition and spread of antibiotic resistance. Bacterial genomes can be sequenced in an afternoon, and the mining of sequenced genomes, and genome-wide analyses enables identification of pathogenicity genes and the horizontal (lateral) transfer of pathogenicity determinants. Bacteria are also the "workhorses" of the genetic engineer, used for gene cloning and the heterologous expression of industrially or medically useful proteins.

Genetics Year 3

Applied Genetics

Genetic engineering technologies allow us to make specific alterations of the genomes of living organisms. This has widespread application in biotechnology, agriculture and medicine. This module provides an in-depth state-of-the art review of the techniques involved in the genetic engineering of plants ("GM crops") and animals (Dolly the sheep), and the uses of living organsism as bioreactors for the production of pharnmaceutically useful proteins (insulin, human growth hormone, vaccines etc). It also examines how genetically modified animals can be used as models for human disease, and addresses the ethical and biosafety issues raised by the use of genetic engineering technologies.

Current Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Research Projects

TomatoFinal year students choose an individual project from a wide range of topics to suit their interests and career aspirations. The project is an original laboratory, literature or computer-based study, supervised by an academic member of staff. These projects are an important way for students to learn about independent scientific research and develop important skills for future employment.

Recent examples include:

Ecological and Conservation Genetics (working with Dr. Simon Goodman)

Animal disease is a major global conservation threat, comparable in importance to other major factors such as habitat destruction, climate change, over exploitation and invasive species. This research investigates both the underlying evolutionary genetic interactions between hosts and pathogens, and developing ways to manage real world conservation disease threats. Past projects have included construction of a model framework to predict disease introduction risks for the worlds' islands, comparative analyses of levels of genetic variation and a species conservation status, quantifying the genetic population structure and evolutionary origins of mosquito disease vectors in the Galapagos and comparative sequence analysis of virus receptor genes in carnivores to test for virus driven selection on the host.

Organ development in plants (working with Prof. Brendan Davies)

Unlike animals, plants develop continuously in response to their environment. This developmental plasticity comes about, at least partly, because plant organs are constantly produced from a pool of undifferentiated stem cells which is found at the tip of the shoot. How does the pool of stem cells maintain itself ? How is the position of a newly formed organ defined and its boundaries established? How do the cells of a new organ "know" what identity to adopt? We use a combination of genetics and molecular biology, using mutants in the model plants Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum, to identify genes which act within these processes.

Sustainable biofuel production: self malting potatoes (working with Prof. Jurgen Denecke)

Now that energy is becoming more and more expensive due to the slow depletion of fossil fuels, we have to start exploring renewable alternatives. Although potatoes represent a high yielding energy crop per hectare and per time of occupied land, they are currently not envisaged as an energy crop. This is mainly due to high production costs and the difficulty to convert starch to fermentable sugar in an economically feasible manner. This project aims at overcoming these limitations by establishing "self-malting" potatoes. The strategy is to engineer starch-digesting enzymes that do not make contact with starch until the potato is mashed. This is based on their retention within membrane-bound organelles within the cell, utilising specific protein motifs that improve retention of proteins within organelles.

Some of our students have been fortunate enough to get their final year research project data published in a scientific journal, including Ryan Cawood (BSc Genetics 2007), who went on to become a DPhil student at the University of Oxford. Contributing to his success was his project studying the nucleolar trafficking of viral proteins at different stages of the cycle. This led to the following primary publication:

  • Cawood, R., S. M. Harrison, B. K. Dove, M. L. Reed and J. A. Hiscox.( 2007) . Cell cycle dependent nucleolar localization of the coronavirus nucleocapsid protein. Cell Cycle 7: 863-867.

MBiol Course Structure

To find out more about how the MBiol differs from the BSc programme, download our PDF guide to MBiol degrees.

Current Module Details

This link takes you to detailed information (on another part of the University of Leeds website) about this degree for the 2012/13 academic year. Please bear in mind that programme details may change and that entry requirements refer to previous years.

Visit the Studying with us pages to find out more about studying in the Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate School.

Please be aware that course details do change from time to time. ...

... If in doubt, please contact us to verify course content and availability. Whilst the University endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the date of publication it does not accept liability for any inaccuracies. The University reserves the right to change or cancel its courses or services at any time without liability even after students have registered at the University. The University's contract with its students does not confer third party benefits for the purposes of Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

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Teaching and Assessment

Students in the labOur approach to teaching and learning is bassed around developing your knowledge and skills, and training you to be independent and to think critically. This means that you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials with additional timeallocated to private study, project work and laboratory practicals, the balance of which will vary through your course and as you become more confident and experienced. At Leeds you will learn in manydifferent ways:

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

A typical week:

  • in year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
  • in year two includes nine hours of lectures and nine hours of practicals, with a one hour tutorial or workshop, plus private study.
  • in year three week includes nine hours of lectures and extended time in a research laboratory, plus private study.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods including:

  • multiple-choice testing
  • practical work
  • data handling and problem-solving exercises
  • group work
  • discussion groups (physical and online)
  • computer-based simulation
  • essays
  • posters and oral presentations

Current assessment details for each individual module can be accessed via the programme catalogue.

Careers

Genetics graduates enjoy excellent career prospects as their training opens up opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers alike. Our Genetics programmes foster the development of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers throughout the world.

Zisis Kozlakidis"I firmly believe that 10 years later I am still reaping the benefits of the degree. In my opinion, it prepares undergraduate students for a successful career in a very broad range of working environments, from academia to private enterprise."

Zisis Kozlakidis, BSc Genetics (2001)

Genetics Careers

View scientific careers

Genetics graduates become: university researchers and lecturers, pharmaceutical scientists, biotechnologists, plant and animal breeders, forensic scientists, genetic counsellors, school teachers and many more.

View non-scientific professions

Our graduates acquire skills of numeracy, analytical thinking, and creativity in problem solving and data-handling, all of which equips them for jobs in non-scientific careers e.g. sales and marketing, accountancy, finance, patent work and journalism.

View further study

Graduates also go on to further study e.g. PhD, MSc, and medicine.

DNA sequencingCareers Support

Faculty careers events

We organise regular careers workshops especially for biological sciences students. We also organise an annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information. Browse the careers fair photo gallery.

University Careers Service

Our on-campus Careers Centre is one of the largest in the country, with experienced advisers and strong relationships with graduate recruiters. The Careers Centre will help you to find out how to develop your employability right from the start and provide support after you graduate. Find out what the Careers Centre has to offer. .

Gaining work experience

Work experience is increasingly important in a competitive job market and Leeds offers many opportunities to develop skills valuable to employers, including our industrial placement and year abroad schemes, laboratory placement schemes, and volunteering via Leeds for Life..

Industrial Advisory Board

Our Industrial Advisory Board gives employers the chance to input directly into programme and module content. This ensures that our programmes include appropriate training and skills so that our students and graduates are desirable to a broad range of graduate employers.

Join a global network of Leeds graduates

A remarkable variety of opportunities result from our relationships with our graduates, including access to the Leeds Graduate Careers Network.

Recent graduate jobs include:
Recent graduate employers include:
  • Biomedical Software Designer
  • Doctor
  • Forensic Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Process Improvement Engineer
  • Trainee Clinical Cytogeneticist
  • British Gypsum
  • NHS
  • Orchid Biosciences Ltd
  • Shimadzu
  • Shire Pharmaceuticals

Industrial biomedical robot Read about more BSc Genetics graduates...

Careers resources

www.prospects.ac.uk

For more information on our approach to graduate employability, please see: www.leeds.ac.uk/employability

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Students' Experiences

Karen Turner

Karen TurnerKaren did an Industrial Placement.

"My highlight of the course has been undertaking a year in industry. I would recommend it to anyone.. I gained a lot of experience."


Tom Hannacher

"I chose Leeds because I liked the atmosphere of the University and city when I visited on an Open Day. I have thoroughly enjoyed my entire time in Leeds."


 

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