Genetics of Human Disease MSc

The Genetics of Human Disease MSc aims to provide scientists and clinicians with an in-depth knowledge of the role of genetics in human disease and how this can be applied to improve healthcare through the development and application of diagnostic tests and therapeutic agents.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £12,600
  • Overseas Full-time: £23,700

Application date

  • UK/EU applicants: 1 August 2014
  • Overseas applicants: 30 June 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The programme provides a thorough grounding in modern approaches to the understanding of the genetics of disease. Core courses provide a broad coverage of the genetics of disease, research skills and social aspects, whilst specialised courses and the research project allow more in-depth analysis in areas of genetics.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Biosciences is one of the largest and most active research environments for basic biological research in the UK. UCL is in a unique position to offer both the basic science and application of modern genetics to improve human health. The prohramme is a cross-faculty initiative with teaching from across UCL; these being the Faculties of Life Sciences, Population & Health Sciences, Brain Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Students will be based at the UCL Genetics Institute (UGI) which is a world-leading centre which develops and applies Biostatistical and Bioinformatic approaches to human and population genetics. Opportunities to conduct laboratory or computational based research projects are available in the laboratories of world-leading geneticists affiliated to the UGI.

The UGI conducts internationally recognised research in the field of human genetics and aims to apply this expertise to the education of graduate students.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • Advanced Human Genetics: research principles
  • Human Genetics in context
  • Understanding Bioinformatic Resources and their Application
  • Core Skills
  • Basic Statistics for Medical Sciences


  • Genetics of Cardiovascular and Related Complex Diseases
  • Genetics of Neurological Diseases
  • Statistics for Interpreting Genetic Data
  • Clinical Application of Pharmacogenetic Tests


Students undertake an original research project investigating topical questions in genetics which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words and an oral presentation.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials, and will draw together cross-departmental teaching from Biosciences, Medicine, Epidemology and Statistics. Student performance is assessed through coursework, unseen examination and the research project.

Further details available on subject website:


UK/EU students:
MRC-funded UGI Master's Excellence Scholarships
: four of £4,631 towards fees and stipend of £15,740.

For full details of this scholarship please: see this link.

For further information on other scholarships please visit the UCL Scholarships website (see link below).

Scholarships available for this department

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

This scholarship is to assist prospective Master's students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the United Kingdom. Students must not have previously studied for one year or more in a developed country and must hold the equivalent of a UK first- or upper second-class undergraduate degree. Students must have applied to study one of the 10 eligible Master's programmes. Students must return to their home country on completion of their degree.

MSc Neuroscience Departmental Scholarship

These awards are based on academic merit and/or financial need.

MSc Genetics of Human Disease - UGI Masters Excellence Scholarships

This Scholarship is specifically design for those students who are experiencing financial hardship.

MSc in Pharmacogenetics & Stratified Medicine - UGI Masters Prize Scholarships

Based on financial need

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

Normally, a minimum of an upper-second class UK Bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences, life sciences or related subject area, or a medical degree (MBBS), or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with an appropriate professional qualification and relevant work experience may also apply.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2014 for international applicants and 1 August 2014 for UK/EU applicants.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students who wish to do a PhD in genetics of human disease or related subjects, those who wish to convert from disciplines such as Statistics or Computing and those who wish to enter employment in an advanced capacity in industry or the public sector in the field of Human Genetics.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Genetics of Human Disease at graduate level
  • why you want to study Genetics of Human Disease at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic, personal and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


Students emerge well-versed in the different tools and scientific disciplines which will allow them to make full use of the wide ranging genetic discoveries that have happened over the past decade and will increasingly inform our understanding of human biology and disease. This positions them well for studentships in laboratories using genetic techniques to examine diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders. Another large group will seek research jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, where advanced training in laboratory genetic techniques as well as bioinformatic and statistical experience will be of value.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific, Lithuania, Junior Scientist, 2012
  • University of Southern California, Research Lab Specialist, 2012
  • UCL, London, PhD Student, 2012
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital, NHS Trust, Laboratory Technologist, 2011
  • Medical University of Vienna, PhD Student, 2011


The MSc in Genetics of Human Disease facilitates acquisitions of knowledge and skills relevant to the career in research in many different biomedical disciplines. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many coutries around the world, have entered careers in academia, industry, education and medicine. About half of our graduates enter a research career by undertaking and completing PhDs and working as a research associates/scientists in academia. Some of our graduates go on to jobs in pharmaceutical industry, while others enter careers with clinical genetic diagnosis services, particularly in molecular genetics, in healthcare organisations such as hospitals. Those of our graduates with a prior medical training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists.

Next steps


Ms Susan Walsh

T: +44 (0)20 7679 4168


Division of Biosciences

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Degree: Genetics of Human Disease MSc

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