Genetics is at the forefront of modern biology, driving progress in medicine and synthetic biology. Thanks to recent developments in genetic analysis and manipulation, we are now able to explore the interaction between genes and the environment at an unprecedented level: from developmental processes to the epigenetic effects of the environment in our genome.
Teaching on our BSc Genetics course focuses on real-world applications, including medicine, biotechnology and genomics.The study of genetics includes understanding how genes are passed from one generation to the next, how DNA works, and the effects of variation and natural selection.
You study topics including:
- The structural organisation of a genome, the process of transcription, and the regulation of gene expression
- The contribution of genome science to the diagnosis and prevention of disease
- Evolutionary biology, from Darwin to genomics
- Molecular cell biology
- The human genome
- Bioinformatics and genomics
You will be trained in genetics and genomics. Depending on your choice of modules, you will focus on biomedical aspects, on the study of genomes or on a combination of both areas. Our optional modules also cover a wide range of topics including plant biotechnology, stem cells and microbiology.
Some of the most exciting and important advances in biology are now being made in the field of genetics, and at Essex you have the opportunity to be part of this revolution.
Visit our genetics subject page for more information and content.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation. This is usually focussed around your course, and enables you to learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.
Organisations our students have recently been placed with include GlaxoSmithKline, Proctor & Gamble, Aquaterra, Astrazeneca, Genzyme, Reckitt Benckiser, Thermofisher, and Isogenica.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.
Our research covers a wide spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Key academic staff for this course include Professor Leo Schalkwyk, who is researching the genes involved in depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, Dr Toni Marco who specialises in evolutionary genomics, and Dr Greg Brooke, who is working on tumour growth and therapy resistance in prostate and breast cancer.
The University of Essex has a Women’s Network to support female staff and students, and our School was awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award in October 2020, which reflects the work carried out by staff in our School to continue to improve equality, including a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff, and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.
Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Life Sciences, including:
- Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
- Conduct your final-year research alongside academics and PhD students in shared labs
- State-of-the-art research facilities, including confocal microscopy imaging systems, proteomic mass spectroscopy, next-generation sequencing facilities and a high-performance computing cluster.
- Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories
- Practical work in your final year using the latest molecular genetic methods, including gene cloning, PCR, cell culture, bioinformatics and advanced microscopy
- Receive training in your first year on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genomes in real time
As the world’s environmental problems increase, the demand for qualified biologists and geneticists continues to grow.
Our recent graduates have taken up a wide range of careers in research laboratories, consultancies, business and industry, conservation practice and environmental assessment. Others have gone on to work in sales, publishing and management, while others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc or PhD degrees.
We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- You study advanced, medically important topics including cancer biology and immunology.
- You develop essential lab skills in gene manipulation, cloning and microscopy.
- We are ranked top 25 for overall student satisfaction for Biology in the National Student Survey 2021.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
- Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely
- Degrees are awarded on the results of your written examinations together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework
- Contribute towards real-world research projects in your final year of study