animal genetics bachelor degree

Last Updated on December 22, 2022

Geneticists are biological scientists who study and even manipulate animal and plant DNA. Find out about degrees programs available to undergraduates, and learn about career options in the field.

Read more about what can you do with a Animal Genetics Bachelor Degree, masters in genetics, degree in genetics online, high paying jobs in genetics, and genetics degree entry requirements.

Biology 102: Basic Genetics Course - Online Video Lessons |

Animal Genetics Bachelor Degree

Animal Geneticists analyze the genetic makeup of animals in order discover which genes cause them to behave certain ways. Geneticist may also study animal health to determine what causes animals be immune to specific diseases, or fail to thrive in certain environments.

Genetics Degree Programs

The field of genetics explores everything from where you get your hair color to how we can produce more disease-resistant crops. You can study genetics as an undergraduate or graduate student through a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. program; professional degree programs like an M.D. program may also have a strong genetics component. Learn more about the degree options in this field and common genetics coursework.View Schools

What Does a Degree in Genetics Cover?

The study of genetics explores human, plant and animal genes as well as examining how they play into hereditary traits, like eye color and inherited health disorders in people and animals or the production characteristics of crops. Bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in genetics are available, and they offer you the opportunity to study genetics from single molecules to entire populations.

An undergraduate degree in genetics can prepare you to work in various fields, such as biotechnology or forensic science. This degree may also be used as a part of your educational pathway to graduate studies in areas including genetic counseling, bioinformatics or pharmacology, or it can prepare you for veterinary or medical school. Graduate degrees in genetics are typically designed for those who want to go into research or teaching. However, programs are also available for those who are interested in pursuing careers in genetic counseling. Additionally, M.D. and Ph.D. programs are available for prospective doctors who want a better understanding of how genetics relates to human health.

Degree LevelsBachelor’s, master’s and doctorate
Undergraduate Common CoursesGenomics, molecular genetics, chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry
Graduate Common CoursesGenetic disorders, epidemiology, ethical issues, gene structures, gene mutation
Related Degree OptionsAssociate’s degree in biotechnology
Median Salary (2020)$85,700 (Genetic Counselors)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)21% growth (Genetic Counselors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Will I Take as an Undergraduate?

A bachelor’s degree program in genetics includes general education courses along with core genetics courses. You’ll learn about the principles of genetics, molecular genetics, genomics and the ways in which genes influence behavior and health, among other topics. You’ll also be required to complete work in the lab with most of your science courses. Some classes you can expect to take in an undergraduate program include:

Genetics Major | Courses For Degree | Career Girls
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Population genetics
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Biotechnology

What Courses Are Offered at the Graduate Level?

Master’s degree programs in genetics explore a number of topics from the latest genetics findings in current literature to epidemiology, gene structures, ethical issues and genetic disorders, among other topics. Degree programs with specializations in genetic counseling cover issues that genetics counselors face, such as the biological, psychological and social ramifications of genetic disorders. This specialization generally requires a clinical practicum. In either type of program, you’ll likely need to complete a thesis based on the research you’ve completed during your studies. Some of the courses you can expect to find in a master’s degree program include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Human genetics
  • Experimental methods
  • Biostatistics

Doctoral degrees in genetics are largely research-based and offer focused study in a variety of areas in genetics, from the ways genetics applies to disease prevention and treatment to the effects of specific genes on humans. You’ll take courses exploring past and contemporary genetics research, as well as choosing a faculty advisor to supervise your research, which will lead to your dissertation. You may also be required to complete a semester as a teaching assistant. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Genetics and endocrine functions
  • Screening for genetic disorders
  • Gene mutation
  • Molecular medicine

Are There Other Programs Available?

If you’re an undergraduate student interested in basic genetics study, you may find associate’s degrees in biotechnology or related science fields that include genetics coursework. Associate’s degree programs in these areas include courses on such topics as microbiology, statistics, genetics and cell biology. These types of programs may prepare you for careers in the allied health field, agriculture, environmental science or lab technology work.

The University of Edinburgh home

BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics)

UCAS code: C440

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Biological Sciences

College: Science and Engineering Study abroad

Introducing BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics)

Molecular genetics underlies the majority of modern biological research. It is concerned with the molecular mechanisms by which genes are expressed and regulated and the ways in which they control the properties of cells and organisms.

This area of study has been revolutionised in recent years by the availability of large DNA sequence datasets, including full genome sequences for many species. This has also facilitated the study of many human traits, including diseases that have a major genetic component but whose inheritance involves more than a single gene.

Applications of molecular genetics

Molecular genetics impacts on almost every aspect of our lives – from human genetics and health to infectious disease, what we eat and drink and how we live.


Biological Sciences explores the study of living organisms, covering everything from the interactions of animals in their environment to how genes are expressed.

We offer 12 different biological sciences subject areas, including molecular genetics. Regardless of your initial application choice, you will have the opportunity to explore aspects of each of our programmes in the early years and choose to specialise in whichever one interests you.Expand all Contract all 

What you will study

Year 1

All biological sciences students study the same core courses in Year 1. These courses provide a broad foundation in biology, practical and analytical skills.

You will learn core laboratory techniques, and study modern biology subjects which span the breadth of the biological sciences subject areas, and may also include biological chemistry.

You can also choose optional courses. These can be from other academic areas across the University.

Key skills

As an integral part of your studies, you will gain key skills that enhance your long-term employability.

Year 2

You will begin to specialise in a specific area of biological sciences, choosing courses that cover topics such as:

  • molecular and cellular biology
  • biochemistry
  • biotechnology
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • animal and plant biology

We give students all the information they need to build their programme to suit them.

The compulsory (and recommended) courses for Molecular Genetics cover topics such as:

  • cellular metabolic processes
  • DNA replication
  • origin of hereditary variation
  • microbial growth and function

You can still choose courses from other areas of the University as optional courses.

At the end of Year 2, you will progress into your chosen biological subject specialisation, which will lead to your honours programme of choice.

Year 3

You will specialise in your preferred area of biological sciences, choosing from our subject specialisations:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Cell Biology
  • Development, Regeneration and Stem Cells
  • Ecology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Zoology

Your courses will prepare you for exploring scientific literature, analysis of scientific data and research work. You will also receive training in laboratory skills and may take courses that concentrate on fieldwork.

In Molecular Genetics some of the things you will learn about are:

  • analysis of genomic data
  • gene expression and RNA processing
  • genetic engineering
  • cell cycle control

It is possible to take a combination of courses that will allow you to swap honours programme at the end of Year 3.

You may have the opportunity to study abroad.

Year 4

You will study Molecular Genetics at a deeper scientific level exploring topics such as:

  • understanding how defects in biological processes such as DNA repair can contribute to disease
  • the mechanisms for regulating gene expression
  • genetic aspects of host-parasite interactions

You will undertake an individual research project working in one of our academic research laboratories.

You will also take part in seminars and debates on scientific papers with staff and other students. This will develop your presentation, discussion and critical appraisal skills.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Where you will study

Our facilities

In-person teaching for biological sciences courses takes place at the University’s King’s Buildings Campus. The teaching of other courses may be based in other University venues in Edinburgh.

Facilities at King’s Buildings

We have a variety of different teaching spaces including:

  • lecture theatres
  • tutorial rooms
  • well-equipped teaching laboratories
  • modern group study spaces
  • computer laboratories

Other resources

You will also have access to the University’s libraries and other computer laboratories.

Much of the study material is available online.

In the later years of your programme, you may be involved in projects at allied research institutes in the local region.

Study abroad

Study abroad opportunities are optional. These are competitive and are currently undertaken in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

Learning and assessment

How will I learn?

Most courses combine:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical or workshop sessions
  • individual study
  • team projects

Teaching time

Your weekly timetable in Years 1 and 2 is likely to involve around:

  • nine hours of lectures
  • eight hours of practicals or workshops
  • two hours of tutorials

In later years, you will undertake more personal study and research. You will also be linked with a research group and complete an in-depth project as an important part of your final-year assessment.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a mixture of in-course assessments and examinations.

A research project or dissertation will form an important part of your final-year assessment.

Career opportunities

The skills you will gain on this programme are transferable and highly valued across many career pathways. They include:

  • problem-solving
  • analytical and quantitative reasoning skills
  • presentation and communication
  • group working and collaboration
  • time management

Our graduates

Biological Sciences students go on to work in a range of different fields, within and outside of science. The career path you choose is up to you and will depend on your experiences, skills, values, and interests.

Some choose to go on to further study before entering successful career paths in academia or another area.

Entry requirements

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA – AAAB (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA – ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL – 32 points with 555 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 555 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Biology and Chemistry, both at B or above. If you don’t have either Biology or Chemistry at A, you must have A in either Mathematics or Physics. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry are recommended. National 5s: English at C and Mathematics or Physics at B.
  • A Levels: Biology and Chemistry, both at B or above. If you don’t have either Biology or Chemistry at A, you must have A in either Mathematics or Physics. GCSEs: Mathematics or Physics at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Biology and Chemistry at 5. SL: Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) or Physics at 6 and English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Second year entry

For direct entry to second year the standard requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AAA in one set of exams to include Biology, Chemistry, and either Mathematics or Physics.
  • A Levels: A*AA in one set of exams in Biology, Chemistry, and either Mathematics or Physics.
  • IB: 38 points with 666 at HL to include Biology and Chemistry at 6. SL: Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) at 6 (if not at HL).
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

Discover Uni data

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.


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Data for courses in Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics) at University of Edinburgh

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Fees, costs and funding

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics)

Additional costs

Study material

You may incur additional costs of up to £150 each year for books or other compulsory study material.

Field or residential courses

You may also incur additional costs for field or residential courses. You may choose to take more than one of these courses. All Year 4 students attend a compulsory field or residential course.

The costs for field courses will be due to be paid in the year the course is taken. Currently, field or residential course costs vary from (on average) £150 to £300 per course for transport and accommodation.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

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