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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

  • 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. The results of your project are written up in a report, you also undertake a related literature review, and you present your findings to the class. See recent examples of projects offered here. 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  (80% of the marks)
  • The research project counts as 20% 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 2017/18  for IB students, which provides more information about the course and its organisation, is in production. Meanwhile the 2016/17 version, which contains largely the same information, is available here to download. 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 Moodle site. This is Raven passworded, and only available to registered students.