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The University of Edinburgh: Human Complex Trait Genetics

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Biological Sciences
Study type Taught


We offer a suite of programmes to deliver the knowledge and skills required to:

  • apply quantitative genetic theory to practical problems in both the biomedical and animal science industries

  • undertake research in a wide range of fields in evolutionary genetics, animal breeding, human genetics, and genome analysis

All our programmes offer the same core content, but you can tailor your degree to reflect your interests.

This programme is specifically for those interested in the application of quantitative genetics to understanding the genetics of complex traits in humans. If you are interested in other applications you could consider our alternative programmes in:

  • Animal Breeding and Genetics

  • Quantitative Genetics

  • Genome Analysis

  • Evolutionary Genetics

Students in one Quantitative Genetics programme can change to another provided that prerequisite courses are passed in the second semester.

Why Study Human Genetics?

If you are interested in the genetic underpinnings to complex traits and disease in humans, this degree could be for you. We will provide you with the theory and knowledge of analytical tools so that you can tackle a wide range of problems.

This programme provides essential skills in:

  • quantitative genetics

  • population genetics

  • data analysis

  • statistical methods

  • genome analysis

As a Human Complex Trait Genetics student, you will focus on the application of quantitative genetics to evolutionary biology.

The core course of this specialism is Genetics of Human Complex Traits. Additional courses can be selected from any offered within the suite to build a degree to suit your interests.

Why study here?

Our programme offers a small course experience taught by active members of the quantitative genetic research community.

We are based in the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, part of the School of Biological Sciences, and for this programme we bring together expertise from across the University and SRUC.

This programme emphasises the conceptual underpinnings of the field, with rigorous training in statistical genetics and exposure to other applications of quantitative genetics.

You will study alongside students with a broad spectrum of interests using quantitative genetic tools, including animal breeding and evolutionary genetics. Likewise, the staff involved in teaching will come from different disciplines.

The University has an international reputation as a leader in quantitative genetics. The first genetic department was set up in the University of Edinburgh in 1919. From 1949, the postgraduate Diploma in Genetics was offered to students, with a substantial component of quantitative genetics. The MSc in Animal Breeding started in 1975 through a collaboration with the Agriculture Department.

Edinburgh continues to be at the forefront of research in the genetics of animal breeding, evolution, and human health. Many past students hold positions within the animal breeding industry.


Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip

University of Edinburgh 


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