Undergraduate Course

BSc Genetics

Now In Clearing
BSc Genetics

Overview

The details
Genetics
C400
October 2018
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

To what extent do genes determine our biology, behaviour, happiness or interests? Genetics is at the forefront of modern biology, driving progress in medicines and synthetics biology. New technologies in genetic manipulation, biotechnology and genomics allow you to explore the interaction between genomes and epigenetics that underpin the development of a complex living organism from a single cell.

Teaching on our BSc Genetics course focuses on real-world biomedical applications, including how cells differentiate to form the specialised tissues present in complex organisms, and how the delicate regulation of cell growth can be disrupted and lead to cancer.

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 gene, 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

You learn about human, microbial and plant genetics and genomics, with a strong emphasis on bioinformatics and biotechnology.

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 study these fast-changing areas.

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.
  • You gain valuable research experience by being involved in cutting-edge project work.

Study abroad

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

Placement year

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 was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Recent spending by our University has allowed for major refurbishment and expansion of our School of Biological 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, from confocal microscopy imaging systems, to proteomic mass spectroscopy, to next-generation sequence analysis facilities
  • Teaching facilities including new undergraduate laboratories
  • Practical work in your final year using the latest molecular genetic methods, including gene cloning, PCR, cell culture and advanced microscopy
  • Receive training in your first year on using the Oxford Nanopore MinION, a portable handheld device that can sequence genome data in real time, which has been used to track recent outbreaks of zika and ebola, and has even been used on the International Space Station

Your future

As the world's environmental problems increase, the demand for qualified biologists and ecologists 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 the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“There were lots of reasons I wanted to study at Essex, including its reputation, the course, and the option to take a year out in industry, so I’d have relevant experience after I graduated. But I really knew Essex was for me when I came to visit and saw the campus.

“I most enjoyed learning about the applications of genetic technologies to aid in disease treatment. It was great to see the scientific building blocks learnt in first year translate into tangible solutions during second year. Now, I’m working on my own business, Syrona, a home testing kit for gynaecological cancers and endometriosis. It’s about helping women understand their bodies more, and helping them lead healthier lives.”

Chantelle Bell, BSc Genetics (with a Placement Year), 2016

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

If you have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2018 entry through Clearing. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences

Develop your skillset and boost your CV. This module prepares you for the coursework, laboratory practicals and research projects that you will encounter during undergraduate study. Get to know referencing systems and learn how to effectively communicate scientific information. Use scientific units and simple algebra and demonstrate understanding of logarithms, exponentials, geometry and elementary calculus. Learn how to design experiments, handle data and display, interpret and analyse basic statistics. Teaching and learning will be through a mixture of lectures, classes, practicals and tutorials, with an emphasis on developing the key transferable skills needed for a career in biosciences.

View Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences on our Module Directory

Molecular Cell Biology

The building blocks of life, plants and animals depend on the actions of individual cells. Investigate the biochemical characteristics of the small molecules and large macromolecules that allow cells to function. You examine the origins of life, cell structure and function, energy transductions, synthesis of molecules, and the eukaryotic cell cycle.

View Molecular Cell Biology on our Module Directory

Microbiology

Get to know the culprits of some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Despite major advances in treatment and prevention, incidences of infectious disease continue to rise. Vast diversity, rapid evolution and the opportunistic nature of micro-organisms present a significant challenge. You examine how different viruses and bacteria invade, interact and replicate within living hosts, and explore the consequent impact on ecology, industry and disease. A series of four practical sessions allows you to get hands-on and develop valuable skills. You learn how to purify, observe, count and kill micro-organisms in our purpose-built labs, gaining experience of aseptic techniques, serial dilution, response to antibiotics, and staining.

View Microbiology on our Module Directory

Biochemistry of Macromolecules

Explore the building blocks of life. From the proteins that make up our genetic code to the lipids that envelope our cells, explore the structure, function and biological role of the major macromolecules. You investigate the basic principles of protein structural bioinformatics and protein structural evolution, examine how ligand-binding equilibria may form the basis of diverse biological phenomena, learn the structure and properties of monosaccharides and polysaccharides and review the major types of lipids. This module develops key skills in analysis and interpretation of data, biochemical methodology and calculation of biochemical parameters.

View Biochemistry of Macromolecules on our Module Directory

Genetics and Evolution

Why do we all look different? Are some illnesses hereditary? Are animals born ready-suited to their environment? From the early theories of Mendel to modern studies in molecular genetics, you explore how scientists have answered these questions over the last 150 years. Examine how the structure and function of DNA allows genetic material to be expressed, replicated and inherited, and consider how genetic variation leads to adaptive evolution. From developing new technologies in gene cloning to the applications for modern medicine, you explore how geneticists are building on the earlier achievements in this fundamentally important field to enhance our understanding of life on earth.

View Genetics and Evolution on our Module Directory

Animal Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (optional)

The diversity of life on planet Earth is breath taking. We share our home with a vast number of species, a large portion of which are animals. We will discover the diversity of animal forms and functions and the role of natural selection in determining individual behaviour such as foraging, breeding and predator escape. You also investigate the idea that nothing in ecology and evolution makes sense in isolation.

View Animal Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

General and Organic Chemistry

Many recent advances in biological research have been born from an increased understanding of the molecules involved in systems and processes. But what do things look like beyond molecular level?<br><br>Study how molecules are formed from individual atoms, and how the properties of these constituent atoms influence molecular structure and reactivity. Examine the fundamental concepts of chemical bonding, electronegativity, acidity, basicity, hydrogen bonding and review the common organic functional groups and different types of isomerism.

View General and Organic Chemistry on our Module Directory

Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences

Develop your practical and critical thinking skills during this week-long summer module. Basic knowledge gained from molecular biology is now being applied to solve industrial scale biological problems. You will rationally design bacteria by engineering DNA and transforming your microbe in the lab before presenting your results to peers.

View Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences on our Module Directory

Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease

Molecular biology is central to our knowledge of how biology "works" at a molecular level. This module explores the breadth of processes involved in the regulation of gene expression and the proteins that are made. You also discover the ever-expanding range of molecular biology techniques, including PCR, cloning and mutagenesis, and how these are applied to investigate and treat disease.

View Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease on our Module Directory

Genome Science

We are in the age of genomics and scientists have devised new technologies that can generate whole genome sequences in days which would once have taken years to achieve. Learn the high-throughput techniques of next-generation sequencing used to study genomes, the proteome and the interactome. Investigate how nucleotide sequences are analysed, applying the analytical tools used by research scientists and understand how new genes are discovered and their functions revealed. You also discover how our knowledge of gene structure is being applied in the emerging field of synthetic biology to create new organisms and modify existing ones by gene editing.

View Genome Science on our Module Directory

Cell Biology

The study of cells is at the centre of modern biology.  Learn how cellular components determine cell structure and function, how cells communicate and how signaling pathways regulate cell fate.  You also explore the regulation of the cell cycle and cell death and learn about changes that occur in cells that have become cancerous. A solid understanding of cell biology opens doors to more specialist topics, such as plant biotechnology and cancer biology.

View Cell Biology on our Module Directory

Medical Genetics (optional)

5.5% of the population will have developed a genetic disorder by age 25. But how does genetic disease occur? From understanding the molecular basis of genetic disease, to the techniques used in NHS laboratories for diagnosis and screening for genetic disorders, you address the nature and inheritance of both single gene and complex genetic disease, and explore the effects of abnormalities in human chromosomes. Developments such as gene therapy, the 100,000 genomes project and manipulation of embryos will also be discussed.

View Medical Genetics (optional) on our Module Directory

Immunity in Health and Disease (optional)

Our bodies are under attack. So how do we defend ourselves against foreign invaders? Explore the anatomical and structural components of the immune system and assess what happens in the event of immunodysfunction. Utilising real-world case-studies (eg AIDS), and looking at specific examples (eg allergy and transplantation) you will review important aspects of clinical immunology and immuno-pathology, gaining an understanding of auto-immunity and immune-deficiencies. You will also consider the future of human immunology – evaluating how far vaccines can protect us against disease. Using the knowledge you have gained you will be able to identify areas of current immunology understanding that could lead to positive medical intervention.

View Immunity in Health and Disease (optional) on our Module Directory

Plant Molecular Physiology and Genetics (optional)

The aim of this module is to provide a view of how a fundamental understanding of plant processes can impact on the production of plants for the 21st century. Learn the essential processes and constraints on plant growth and development, and explore how innovative technological approaches in plant sciences may provide real solutions to our future predicted global food shortage. You’ll look into key aspects of plant physiology such as different photosynthetic mechanisms, and modern approaches to manipulating plant performance and growth.

View Plant Molecular Physiology and Genetics (optional) on our Module Directory

Microbial Diversity and Biotechnology (optional)

Microbes have been on the Earth for at least 3.5 billion years; they tolerate or require a huge range of physico-chemical extremes and perform a remarkable array of functions. This module will examine the diversity of microbes, and how they can be applied for the benefit of society and the environment, for example by bioremediation of contaminated land, recovery of oil and metals, production of biofuels and therapeutic compounds.

View Microbial Diversity and Biotechnology (optional) on our Module Directory

Issues in Biomolecular Science

How does modern biology affect our day-to-day lives? Consider the impact of recent advances on society. Transgenic crops, ever-increasing (and sometimes unwanted) prolongation of life, cloning of animals – to what extent can science be allowed to manipulate nature? And who has the final say?

View Issues in Biomolecular Science on our Module Directory

Human Molecular Genetics

The study of human genetics is one of the fastest moving areas of scientific research today. Get to know some important emerging themes from the human genome sequence into the emerging fields of epigenetics and non-coding RNAs. You examine variations in genome sequence and structure in human populations, and consider the evidence for selection in human populations. Consider the evolution of the X chromosome and its regulation by the process of X-inactivation. You also investigate the significance of imprinting and epigenetics in human disease.

View Human Molecular Genetics on our Module Directory

Research Project in Biomolecular Science

This module gives you the chance to conduct an individual scientific investigation on a topic relating to your degree specialisation. Develop skills to identify a suitable question and then design an experimental approach to obtain data addressing this question. This module assesses your analysis and presentation of these data in a suitable scientific paper format report and the research, understanding and critical writing about the scientific literature relating to your project as well as your oral project presentation skills and response to questions, the planning and management of your project work, your progress reflection and your employability skills.

View Research Project in Biomolecular Science on our Module Directory

Molecular and Developmental Immunology (optional)

How does the immune system know when to trigger a response, and how are immune responses regulated? You’ll examine the immune process at a molecular level and also developmental aspects of immunity and it will assist you in understanding current developments in the field. You’ll look at the way cellular and molecular components of the immune system are integrated to provide immunorecognition in health and disease. Explore how landmark concepts in immunology evolved from hypothesis to experimental discovery, and consider the ways in which clinical immunotherapy approaches allow scientists to manipulate the immune system.

View Molecular and Developmental Immunology (optional) on our Module Directory

Molecular Basis of Cancer (optional)

The aim of this module is to provide you with current knowledge and understanding of cancer. We will discuss general aspects of cancer biology (cancer statistics and risk factors, origins and multistage nature of cancer, metastasis and angiogenesis). The identification and isolation of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and the mechanism of action of their products will be analysed. We will explore cancer molecular biology and signalling pathways in cancer. We will discuss cell cycle and apoptosis and their role in the maintenance of normal cell populations and in the emergence of cancer. The principles of some of the current approaches in cancer therapy will be discussed.

View Molecular Basis of Cancer (optional) on our Module Directory

Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology (optional)

You’ll be introduced to the key concepts of evolutionary theory as pertaining to human psychology, and will engage with current literature in this rapidly advancing area of science. You will develop your understanding of the relevance of evolution to the scientific study of human behaviour and cognition. You’ll also identify the basic concepts and frameworks that underlie evolutionary approaches to psychology, as well as the major findings and fields within evolutionary psychology.

View Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Placement

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.

Year abroad

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.

Teaching

  • Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
  • Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely

Assessment

  • 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

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,170

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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