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University of Glasgow: Medical Genetics and Genomics

Institution University of Glasgow View institution profile
Department School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Study type Taught


The aim of this programme is to provide you with a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics allowing you to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease.

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting, in part, the academic and experience requirement for the Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).
  • Explore the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
  • Learn directly from NHS staff about the latest developments to the service at the West of Scotland Genetic Services, Queen Elizabeth Campus.
  • Develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
  • Lay the academic foundations on which you may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science or by moving into related careers in diagnostic services.
  • Gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
  • Access new developments in medical genetics incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published.
  • Collaboration between staff from the University of Glasgow and the NHS West of Scotland Genetics Service enables the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics to provide a state-of-the-art view of the application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and diagnostics, and in delivery of a high quality genetics service to patients, as well as in design of targeted therapies.
  • The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
  • Based on the south side of the River Clyde in the purpose built Teaching & Learning Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals (we are located 4 miles from the main University Campus).
  • The Centre also houses state of the art educational resources, including a purpose built teaching laboratory, computing facilities and a well equipped library.
  • Close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures the Medical Genetics MSc provides an up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
  • For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
  • The Medical Council of Hong Kong recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics from University of Glasgow in it's list of Quotable Qualifications.
  • A fully up-to-date Medical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.


    • This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.
    • Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.
    • Students will take this course OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences OR Immunotherapy & Precision Oncology. This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussion the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.
    • Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Immunotherapy & Precision Oncology. An introduction to workflows for the resolution and characterisation of complex mixtures of biomolecules, from DNA to small molecule metabolites. The course emphasizes the potential and challenges of omic approaches and will include data handling tasks and demonstration.
    • Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences. The course will enable the students to gain in depth knowledge on the use of state of the art 'omic' technologies in stratifying patients into prognosis and treatment groups, the use of personalised medicine, latest targeted treatment regimens and the rapidly developing field of immunotherapy to target cancer.
    • This course will cover the rationale for, and requirements of, population screening programmes to detect individuals at high risk of particular conditions, who can then be offered diagnostic investigations. Students will work in groups to investigate and report on, a screening programme of their choice from any country.
    • Students will work independently to develop and validate a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).
    • The course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out an independent investigative project in the field of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Teaching and Learning Methods

A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures, tutorials and laboratories. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in research, diagnostics or clinical genetics. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and experimental design. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.

There are weekly optional supplementary tutorials on topics that are selected by students.

Electronic Resources

  • Access to a continually updated Moodle (virtual learning environment) with extensive additional teaching and self-assessment materials.
  • An online web-portal with regularly updated direct links to >70 worldwide genetic databases & online algorithms (plus the latest new genetics discoveries), all easily accessible and grouped into useful categories.

Graduate jobs can be found in the UK, Europe, North America, Middle East, South Asia and East Asia in overseas hospitals, life science companies, the NHS and academia.

Research: About half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs in fields such as genetics, cancer studies, biosciences, neuroscience and genome science and technology. One or two graduates have also progressed on to graduate entry routes to medicine.

The MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.

Diagnostics: Some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, often within NHS laboratories.

Several graduates have become heads of diagnostic services or laboratories, around the world.

Clinical genetics: Those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.

Other: The focus of teaching is on using the current technologies for genetic diagnostics within health service laboratories.

Many of these technologies are also used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis.

Graduate jobs can be found in the UK, Europe, North America, Middle East, South Asia and East Asia in overseas hospitals, life science companies, the NHS and academia. Many have entered careers in education; industry, particularly with companies providing or developing genetics and genomics-related medical services; medicine and scientific publishing.

Example job positions include:

  • genetic technologist, medical technical officer (NHS), R&D lab technician, product development technician, trainee clinical scientist (NHS), university laboratory officer, university lecturer

What our students say

Kathleen Murphy MSc Medical Genetics 2013, now Clinical Scientist in Aberdeen

My proudest moment to date was graduating with my MSc in 2013. I would describe the course as intensive and challenging, thanks to the hardworking and supportive staff that are committed to ensuring students have the best experience and who continually take feedback to improve outcomes. You are encouraged to reflect upon your work as part of this MSc; an essential skill as a healthcare professional; and as a result will grow and develop into a better scientist, with support and extensive feedback on how your work can be improved. The diagnostic focus of the teaching is unique compared with other Masters Courses and perfect for anyone who is motivated by working for the benefit of patients in the NHS environment.

Shortly after graduation, I was offered the role of Genetic Technologist at Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Service as part of the sequencing team, where I was responsible for NGS lab work and sequencing analysis. The practical skills and knowledge gained from the MSc allowed me to hit the ground running and contribute to the team with a small amount of training.

The following year I was accepted onto the Scientist Training Programme in Genomics at Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, which includes work-based training across a wide range of services. The confidence I gained in my presentation skills throughout the MSc in Medical Genetics allowed me to take part in public engagement and inter-professional teaching as part of my scientist training, to educate the public and other healthcare workers about genomics. My Glasgow MSc covered the background of so much of the work I do on a daily basis and the notes still come in handy for my revision 6 years later!

As I am about to take up a Clinical Scientist post in an NHS laboratory, I reflect on how I will always be grateful to the outstanding (and award-winning!) MSc teaching staff, as without them I would not be here today. Over the last few years, I’ve come to realise the MSc has an excellent reputation for producing high quality graduates throughout the world, and Glasgow graduates are never hard to find in the world of Genomics, wherever you end up!

Joseph Ogbede (MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2017), currently undertaking a PhD in Genome Science and Technology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

I really enjoyed my time during the MSc program, which I have always missed. The friendly and supportive staff, the fantastic class-mates and the unforgettable outdoor events especially the ‘away-day’ made my study experience rewarding. Among all the skills I acquired during the MSc program, the scientific writing has been wonderfully helpful. The critical feedback from essays and assignments, though sometimes as a student I did not like them (especially when against my expectations), actually turned out to be very useful to me as a PhD student, as I have become very logical and careful while writing. Having come from biochemistry background with little knowledge of genomics and bioinformatics, the program made me develop a stronger interest in the field, and not only that, but equipped me with impressive knowledge of human genetics, molecular diagnosis and data analysis. In fact, my experience during the MSc program has made me an independent student today. So I think there is no alternative to the University of Glasgow’s MSc Medical Genetics and Genomics program!

Souhile Alalem (MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2017) is currently working on genomics using next generation sequencing at Illumina

The MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics offered me the chance to study human genetics in a great depth. The research-led teaching has helped me significantly, as the information we got was up to date and relevant. Although this MSc is greatly focused on human genetics and diagnosis, there were also other important topics discussed, such as genomics and biotechnology. I was deeply interested in genomics and NGS, and the way it was taught made me even more interested. As such, I chose to start my career in genomics, and couldn’t find a better place to do this other than Illumina itself. The Clinical Genomics course taken during my MSc helped me to be more employable, as it gave me the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to succeed in this field.

Alisha Aman (MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2016), currently PhD student at the University of Glasgow

After the MSc I initially worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow and have now embarked on a PhD within that department. My work encompasses wet lab work in genetics and data analysis in genomics. My MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics helped me a great deal in developing my knowledge in this field along with my interpersonal skills and preparing me to face the professional world. I also managed the role of the head/Editor-in-chief the university’s student science magazine, theGIST: Glasgow Insight into Science and Technology, which further helped to enhance my science communication skills. Moving to a different continent and adjusting in a new culture does prove to be very challenging but the staff in the MSc programme made sure I always felt at home. Without their constant support and counselling, managing my studies, extra-curricular activities, and preparing for my dissertation and job interviews while trying to adjust in a new country would never had been possible. Apart from academics, this program has given me a wonderful experience in so many cultures and I had a chance to make life-long friends from around the world! All in all, the MSc was one of the most wonderful, fun-filled, and intellectually stimulating years for me.

Sharri Cyrus (MSc in Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2016), currently pursuing a PhD in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia

The MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics is one of my best academic experiences. The teaching staff was always engaging and very approachable. If you had any question at all, you just had to ask, and they would take the time to explain and make sure any doubts were resolved. The programme fostered a lot of group work, which provided great opportunities to build communication skills, draw on, and maximise the strengths of others and to learn from each other as we had differing academic backgrounds. I particularly liked the problem based learning component, as the cases brought together the theoretical aspects learnt in class into a practical scenario which aided in further cementing concepts. I came from a limited genetics background, and by the end of my MSc year, I was well equipped with a knowledge base that has served me very well in my current studies investigating the genetic causes of rare overgrowth syndromes. I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the many fields of medical genetics. You definitely will not regret it!

Maria Louizou (MSc Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2015), currently working as a Healthcare Scientist at Kings College

I completed my MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics four years ago and since then I have been working at the Oncology Cytogenetics Department of King’s College Hospital, first as a Genetic Technologist and currently as a Healthcare Scientist. Through the MSc, not only did I gain solid knowledge in genetic conditions, genetic technologies and their application in Medical Genetics but I also developed a critical way of thinking and valuable skills which I apply daily in my professional life. I recently started preparing my portfolio for my registration as a Clinical Scientist in which i am including case studies and essays I did during the course as evidence of in-depth understanding of different aspects of the field!

Caitlin Fleming-Knox (MSc in Medical Genetics & Genomics, 2018), currently undertaking STP in NHS Manchester Genomic Diagnostic Laboratories

I thoroughly enjoyed my year in Glasgow doing the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics. The staff provided thorough and thoughtful feedback on written assignments, which helped me to develop my critical writing skills. The many opportunities to present allowed me to grow in confidence and enhance my presentation skills. I had previously considered the NHS England Scientist Training Programme (STP) in Genomics, but knew I didn’t know enough about genetics in the context of human disease and healthcare, as my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences didn’t cover this. The MSc provided me with extensive knowledge of medical genetics and I made use of this in my application to the STP. I was successful in gaining a place in my preferred location in the Manchester Genomic Diagnostic Laboratories. Even now I continue to use knowledge gained during the course, and I still access the course content as I find the lectures/videos excellent at explaining the more complicated concepts in genetics.

Danielle Patchell (MSc Medical Genetics and Genomics 2018) currently working as a Laboratory Scientist for Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI)

GMI is located in Dublin, Ireland and has an aim of sequencing 10% of the Irish population to generate a high quality genomic database and to uncover genetic variants associated with up to 60 disease phenotypes. I moved to Glasgow from Ireland in 2017 to start the MSc and it was one of the best decisions I have made. I chose to carry out this Masters degree because I wanted to gain a greater understanding about the advances being made in genomic analysis and the impact new analytic technology has on healthcare. My favourite aspect of the Masters degree was the Problem Based Learning module (Case Investigations)! Although challenging, this module allowed me to put all the knowledge I gained from lectures and tutorials into practice whilst also strengthening the essential skills needed to work effectively and efficiently within a team. PBL allowed me to act in various roles within my team such as chairperson and secretary but also taught me how to be constructive with criticism and how to deal with criticism during peer assessments. Team work is a huge part of the GMI ethos and engaging with and learning from my peers during our PBL sessions really allowed me to prepare for working within a strong team environment. I opted to study the Clinical Genomics module led by Prof. Edward Tobias during the second semester. The practical elements of this module were hugely beneficial in understanding genomic data analysis and interpretation. Although I am not personally analysing the sequence data in GMI, I am glad that I have an understanding of what is necessary to carry out data analysis and relate sequence data to potential disease phenotypes. Last but certainly not least, I could not speak more highly of the MSc. staff and lecturers! From providing support when it was needed, to organising days out for the class, I will always look back on the year I spent in Glasgow University with the fondest of memories and I owe that to the staff and class of 2018!

MSc (MedSci)

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is one of the UK’s most prestigious seats of learning, and the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world. Established in 1451 and recognised for its world-changing research and teaching, the University has inspired thinkers from eminent scientist Lord Kelvin and the father of economics Adam Smith, to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 


The University:

  • is ranked 81st in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2023
  • is in the top 100 in the world: Times Higher World University Rankings 2023
  • 95.9% of students in employment or further study 6 months after graduation …
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