Genetics is the study inheritance and variation within living organism. It is a vibrant and expanding discipline at the core of biological and medical sciences, playing a vital part in the development of genetic engineering and the decoding of the human genome.

Leeds is one of the few universities in which you can specialise in genetics whilst gaining a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of related disciplines. You will gain an insight into applications of genetic techniques in fields as diverse as genetic engineering, developmental biology, biotechnology, diagnostics and therapies for human diseases, and conservation biology. As well as having the opportunity to study such an interesting and engaging subject, you will also graduate with an array of transferable skills ideal for the graduate job market.

Course highlights

  • The common first year provides you with a broad foundation as a scientist, flexibility, and the opportunity to specialise in your chosen area in Years 2 and 3. A key benefit of having a common first year is that you can easily switch between our degree programmes within the school of biology. In each year you will choose modules from our specialist degrees across the biology area (Biology with Enterprise, Genetics, Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Zoology), allowing you to follow your own biological interests.
  • This course offers you the opportunity to undertake an industrial placement and study year abroad.
  • Extensive practical ‘hands-on’ experience. We offer several field courses in locations as diverse as North Yorkshire, the Mediterranean and Africa. You will also have access to the University farm.


This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced degree accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders of the future. The advanced accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.

Related courses

Biology BSc
Biology with Enterprise BSc
Ecology and Conservation Biology BSc
Zoology BSc

Course content: Genetics BSc

Year one is where you will establish your foundation of knowledge and expertise in genetics, as well as other areas including cell biology and biochemistry. Core introductory modules will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical’s allowing you to develop the research skills that will be necessary throughout your degree.

In year two you will begin to specialise in the area of genetics, with compulsory modules including genetic engineering, bacterial genetics, and human genetics. Whilst you continue to hone your research and practical skills you will also have the chance to participate in an industrial placement or study year abroad at the end of year 2, a fantastic opportunity to broaden your experience and further develop your CV.

In year three you will be immersed even deeper into the research environment here at Leeds. You will undertake your own independent research project under the supervision of one of our research academics as well as studying advanced level modules in areas such as cancer genetics and comparative genomics. Upon graduation you will be equipped with specialised knowledge as well as broader transferable skills ideal for succeeding in the graduate job market.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

You will be required to study 120 credits.


You will study the following compulsory modules:

Biology Practicals and Data Analysis 20 credits
Living Planet 20 credits
Introduction to Genetics 10 credits
Practical Genetics 10 credits
Tutorials for Biology and Genetics 10 credits
The Basis of Life 20 credits

You will select at least 20 credits of optional modules:

Multicellular Systems 10 credits
Career and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
How can Biological Sciences change the world 10 credits
Applied Biology and Agriculture 10 credits
Practical Applied Biology 10 credits
Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course 10 credits
Introduction to Pharmacology 10 credits
Introductory Microbiology 10 credits
Introduction to Immunology 10 credits

You may select up to 10 credits of discovery modules.

Year 2

You will be required to study 120 credits.


You will study the following compulsory modules:

The Power of Bacterial Genomics 10 credits
Genetic Engineering 10 credits
Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists 10 credits
How Plants Work 10 credits
Introduction to Bioinformatics 10 credits
Animal Developmental Biology 10 credits
Human Genetics 10 credits

You will select at least 40 credits of optional modules:

Biological Membranes and Cell Signalling 10 credits
Human Diseases 10 credits
Employment, Career planning and Professional Development for Life Scientists 10 credits
Human Populations 10 credits
Organismal Evolution 10 credits
Sustainable Food Production 10 credits
Skills in Communicating Research beyond the University 10 credits
Cell Biology of Disease 10 credits
Molecular Virology 10 credits
Medical Immunology 10 credits

You may choose up to 10 credits of discovery modules.

Year 3

Candidates will be required to study 120 credits


You will study the following compulsory modules:

Applied Genetics 20 credits
Advanced Topics in Human Genetics 20 credits

You will study the following optional modules:

Research Project 20 credits
Biology Research Projects 40 credits
Cancer Biology 10 credits
Applied Plant Science 10 credits
Epigenetics 20 credits
Advanced Topics in Evolution 20 credits
Evolution and Population Genetics 10 credits
Animal Developmental Biology 10 credits
Plant Developmental Biology 10 credits
Comparative Genomics 10 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Genetics BSc in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The first and second year will see a focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge for your final year research project, which will see independent research and learning complemented with the guidance of leading experts.

Typical timetable (3 year BSc):

Year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.

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 you will have nine hours of lectures and extended time in a research laboratory, plus private study.

Independent study and research are also crucial to every year of the course. We have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers training to help you make the most of them.


We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Entry requirements, fees and applying: Genetics BSc

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA - AAB

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 accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.


Typically Grade 6 (B) Maths and Grade 4 (C) English.

Alternative Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, graded at D45M0P0 to D39M6P0 including distinctions in Biology and Mathematics or Chemistry. Accept Access courses in Applied Science and Science. Will also consider (depending on subject content):

  • Biochemical Sciences
  • Biological and Environmental Science
  • Biological and Health Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biosciences
  • Combined Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Life and Biological Science
  • Life Science
  • Medical and Health Science Professions
  • Natural Sciences
  • Physical & Natural Sciences.


Applicants with BTEC qualifications (Diploma or Extended Diploma) are required to have A2 level Biology (Maths, Chemistry and Physicsmay be acceptable alternatives depending on the BTEC subject). Distinctions in the BTEC subject and an A or B grade (BTEC subject dependent) for the A-level subject are required. Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must have at least 2 A2 levels and at least one of these must be in Biology

Cambridge Pre-U

D3/D3/D3-D3/D3/M1 including D3 in Biology plus one other science or science-related subject.

International Baccalaureate

35-34 (with 18-17 at higher level) including 6 in higher level Biology and another science or science-related subject at higher level.

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

H1,H1,H2,H2,H2,H2 - H1,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including H1-H2 in Biology and another science subject at higher level.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA-AB in 2 Advanced Highers including Biology and preferably another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded. If Biology is the only science subject then an A grade is required. Science subjects include: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Science- related subjects include: Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, P.E, Psychology, Science in Society, Statistics, Food Science and use of Maths. Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.

Welsh Baccalaureate

AAA - AAB including Biology and another science or science-related subject. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
We accept the following science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics. Science-related subjects: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, science in society, statistics, use of mathematics.

Alternative Entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We welcome students from around the world and consider a range of qualifications. If your qualification or country does not appear on our entry requirements page, please contact us at fbsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £21,500 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships

Career opportunities: Genetics BSc

96% of our graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduation (DLHE 2014/15). Recent careers include genetics research, genetic counselling, scientific publishing and science journalism, sakes and management in science-related industries, teaching, scientific administration and science policy development. Some students also go onto Masters or PhD study.

Our degree prepares you for a wide range of opportunities in scientific and non-scientific careers. Graduate prospects have been seen to be high in the area of genetics, leading to a high level of graduate employment from the course.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Genetic Counsellor Assistant, NHS
  • Senior Analyst, Loans Specialist Advisory Services
  • Genetics Technologist, Central Manchester Foundation Trust
  • Biomedical Support worker, St. James’s Hospital
  • Health Care assistant, Kings College Hospital

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of the BSc studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

We have a dedicated Employability Officer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who works closely with the University’s Careers Centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placements. We also organise regular careers workshops designed specifically for sport sciences students to develop their career opportunities. These include our annual Bioscience Networking Event, which gives you the chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

Field courses

One of the most exciting aspects of our degrees is the range of opportunities for fieldwork on offer. Field courses offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the lab, so we offer at least the option of a field course in every year.
Year 1: Coastal and Uplands Habitats, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
This compulsory course takes place over the summer after your end of year exams and gives you a first taste of field research in a group setting. You’ll get a taste of Yorkshire’s natural history and be exposed to a wide range of natural systems: moorland plants and birds, intertidal invertebrates, freshwater fish and insects and sea bird colonies.
Year 2: Terrestrial Ecology and Behaviour, Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
An optional course which runs after the summer exams, this course will expand on the training you’ve gained in your first two years of study. You’ll choose from projects on a wide range of topics in behaviour and ecology including bat behaviours, bird song and habitat preferences of small mammals. If you’re feeling brave you could also take part in a caving trip – and there’s our infamous treasure hunt and pub quiz.
Year 2: Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
Usually involves a trip to the Iberian Peninsula, this course allows you to explore issues surrounding biodiversity conservation across Europe, including the challenges of growing human populations and habitat restoration. You’ll work in groups of two or three to conduct independent research projects. Recently these have included social interactions between macaque troops, the effects of feather parasites on bird performance and thermoregulation in lizards.
Year 3: African Ecology Field Course, South Africa
This optional course takes place in The Great Fish River Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. You’ll take part in group projects collecting data and samples and analysing them, with help from both Leeds lecturers and demonstrators and staff from nearby Rhodes University. Past projects have included the diet of the black rhino, small mammal diversity and distribution and kudu-vegetation interactions.
Find out more and view photo galleries from our Field Courses