Natural Sciences degrees


Genetics, Evolution and Environment

Stream Leader

Dr Hazel Smith: hazel.smith@ucl.ac.uk


This stream is concerned with the biology and evolution of organisms, from single-celled microbes to higher plants and animals. The stream will look at the genetic and evolutionary relationships between organisms, their various adaptations to living in diverse environments and the factors affecting their distribution and abundance. It will consider organisms from the genome perspective,  through to the whole organism, up to the species and community level. Furthermore, it will introduce you to powerful new technical and computational approaches to studying organisms and biodiversity at the different levels The stream will also offer a greater understanding of the natural environment, including past, present and future changes and threats.


Students who complete this stream will understand:

  • Fundamental genetics including: natural selection, biodiversity, molecular and evolutionary genetics.
  • Evolutionary patterns and process, including: mutation, drift and selection, sexual selection, molecular evolution, hybrid zones, speciation, macroevolution, the origin of the genome and the origin of life.
  • Ecology and population biology, including: competition, predation, parasitism and disturbance in biological communities, and how history and geography may affect community diversity.
  • Form and function in animals, including: adaptation, the fossil record, systematics and behavioural ecology.
  • Evolutionary genomics, including: the evolution of gene and protein families, inter and intra-genomic conflict and the evolution of gene regulatory networks
  • Conservation biology, including: an exploration of the processes of extinction and the scientific management of small and endangered populations.
Year 1

All Genetics, Evolution and Environment stream students take:

Year 2

All Genetics, Evolution and Environment stream students take:

and choose 15 credits from:

and may choose 0 - 15 credits from:

Year 3

Students majoring should choose 45 credits and students minoring should choose 30 - 45 credits of the following:

and students majoring can choose 0 - 30 credits of the following:

Year 4

All Genetics, Evolution and Environment stream students majoring take:

Students majoring should choose 30 - 60 credits and students minoring should choose 0 - 30 credits of the following:

The Genetics, Evolution and Environment stream combines with:

Organic Chemistry


Mathematics and Statistics

History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science