Genetics is a very interesting topic once you get into it. It’s fascinating to think that our parents have passed down certain characteristics and traits to us that they go from their own parents and so on.
Did you know that humans share about 90% of genetic material with mice and 98% with chimpanzees? Crazy! Also, through genetics, we can inherit certain diseases. There are so many interesting things to learn about genetics.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a postgraduate course in the area.
What is genetics?
Genetics is an area of biology that looks at the inheritance of characteristics of living things. These characteristics are both physical and behavioural. Genetics looks at the way in which these characteristics and traits are passed down from generation to generation. Genetics can be broken down into human genetics and plant genetics.
What does a geneticist do?
As a geneticist you may work around 37.5 hours a week. It is generally a Monday to Friday role but you may also be expected to work weekends and bank holidays where necessary. Most of your work is based in laboratories and working in sterile conditions. There are different areas of genetics you can work such as in a medical setting or a manufacturing setting. Some roles carried out as a geneticist may include:
- Set up and carry out lab experiments
- Interpret data and research carried out
- Extract DNA
- Perform diagnostic test
- Approve results of genetic experiments carried out
- Come up with conclusions of experiments
- Publish and present research you carried out to colleagues and other professionals
- Attend meetings and conference
- Direct and supervise work carried out by other professionals such as geneticists, technicians etc
There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Covid-19 and may offer courses online. There are courses available in this area across a number of colleges and are very similar. Courses include:
Postgraduate courses in Applied Genomics are interdisciplinary courses. They will give students the opportunity to gain an understanding of genomics principles and methodology to investigate economically and ecologically relevant traits while also using cutting edge technology. Modules may include genome structure and function, ethics, genomics techniques and population genomics. Specific course content may differ from course to course.
Molecular Genetics courses will teach students about concepts and techniques of molecular genetics as well as the practical experience needed through experimental techniques. There is a focus on experimental design and application of molecular genetic techniques in research and introduction to techniques in molecular genetics and data analysis.
Other courses available include Genetics, Genomics and Precision Medicine, Medical Genetics and Genomics and Forensic Genetics and Human Identification, to name a few.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1.
Your salary in this area may differ depending on location, experience, the company you’re working with/the employment you have as well as your exact position. If working with the NHS, starting salaries can range from £31,800 to £39,169 on Band 6. If registered as a clinical scientist on Band 7, salaries can rise up to £46,000. Experience also plays a role in salaries. Those with 1-3 years experience may earn an average of £31,747 while those with 8 years + experience can earn up to £54,181. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Employers of geneticists may include:
- Research organisations
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Agriculture and horticulture companies
- Genetic engineering companies
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:
- Analytical skills
- Strong communication skills
- Organisational skills
- Time management skills
- Attention to detail
- Problem solver
- Critical thinker
- Ability to understand complex concepts
- Ability to work well with others
- IT skills