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NST Part II Genetics overview

Part II Genetics : Course overview

Main course components

  • There are 5 Modules, spread over the Michaelmas and Lent terms, each consisting of about 24 lectures. All modules are compulsory. We do not operate an options system because we want to ensure that you leave with a broad view of genetics:
    • Module 1: Chromosomes and the Cell Cycle
    • Module 2: Plant and Microbial Genetics
    • Module 3: Developmental Genetics
    • Module 4: Human Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology
    • Module 5: Evolutionary Genetics

[Outlines of the content of each module can be found on a separate page]

  • Each module has additional sessions, where students work in groups:
    • journal paper analysis sessions
    • problem solving / data handling sessions
  • Lecturers schedule supervisions, to help consolidate information taught in each Module


  • Social Aspects of Genetics [SAG] discussions, often organised by visiting scientists, allow students to tackle issues such as on GMOs, scientific fraud, bio- and medical ethics
  • Talks on, or practical sessions in,  'supporting' subjects such as:
      • Applying for a PhD and careers in general
      • Searching genome and bibliographic databases
      • Bioinformatics/ Microarray data analysis
      • MatLab
      • RNA interference
  • Part IIs also attend two series of research seminars:
      • Thursday Departmental seminar programme where external speakers talk about their work
      • Tuesday lunchtime series in which Departmental PhD students outline their research

[Titles for these talks display as feeds on the home page of this site, and can be found on relevant internal pages. Posters are also displayed around the Department]

Course work

  • An extended essay is written during the Christmas vacation. See recent examples
  • A project, hosted by one of the Department’s research groups, is undertaken during the Lent Term. This can be either a lab 'wet' project, or a 'dry' project. See recent examples. You can find out more about research in the Department via the listing of labs

Exams and final marks

  • Five Papers, one for each Module. Each paper contributes 15% of the final marks (75% in total)
  • A research project and the assessed extended essay together count as 25% of the final marks

For the programme specification, admission requirements and assessment: Part II Genetics go to:

More information on the Part II BBS option is available on the BBS website

Other useful links

The Part II Course Guide 2015/16  for IB students, which provides more information about the course and its organisation, is available to download HERE.   This is not the full course handbook for incoming Part IIs, but an overview of teaching for those interested in the course.

Enquiries about the course should be sent to:

For current Part II Genetics students

Information specifically for current Part II Genetics students is available on the Genetics Part II CamTools site. This is Raven passworded, and only available to registered students.

Information for staff and supervisors is available on the Department of Genetics Internal Information website [and on the Part II CamTools website for those with access]