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Department of Genetics

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Main Course Components

There are 4 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: Genomes, Chromosomes and The Cell Cycle (M)
  • Module 2: Early Development & Patterning: Genetic & Cellular Mechanisms (M)
  • Module 3: Human Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology (L)
  • Module 4: Evolutionary Genetics & Adaptation (L)

[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 scientific fraud, medical ethics and genome editing.

Talks on, or practical sessions in,  'supporting' subjects such as:

  • Applying for a PhD and careers in general
  • Statistics
  • RNA interference & genome editing technologies
  • Computational practicals
  • Bioinformatics
  • Library resources and bibliographic databases
  • Study skills                    

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 and emailing lists.]


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

  • Four three-hour papers (one per module) (64%),
  • One two-hour paper (a mix of broad-based questions, such as integrative essays, experimental design, genetics problems) (10%)
  • Literature review and research project (26%).

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

More information on the Part II BBS option is available here.

Other Useful Links


The Part II Genetics Course Guide for IB students for 2021/22 is available below to download and view. 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 Part II Genetics Course should be sent to Amy Bains, Teaching Administrator.