Human Molecular Genetics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 12.3 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 37.6 k / Year(s)  
11 place StudyQA ranking:4497 Duration:1 year

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This course is designed to prepare you for a geneticsresearch career, either in human gene function and genetic disease, or molecular approaches to diagnosis, or health care biotechnology. It provides a broad grounding in Human Genetics, with emphasis on molecular aspects, to give a solid basis for subsequent academic or industrial research, or for entry to NHS Genetics training.

The science of human genetics has been transformed in the past decade. Following the sequencing of the entire human genome, a wealth of resources is now available to researchers aiming to identify the genetic variants that influence human health. These findings will shed light on the underlying molecular pathology of many diseases that are poorly understood at present, eventually paving the way for novel treatment and prevention strategies. The speed at which these discoveries are being made is accelerating, and it is likely that molecular genetics will soon underpin much of modern medicine.

The first three months (October-December) typically comprise lectures and other learning sessions covering fundamentals of human molecular genetics, statistical genetics and computing and laboratory practicals covering the basic techniques in molecular genetics. Lectures and symposia in more specialised topics are covered in the second term (January-February). There is a programme of formative and summative coursework throughout the first six months (typically including group exercises, individual tests and poster and oral presentations). Written examinations are held at the end of February. The remainder of the course consists of an individual (six-month) research project, with a report submitted at the end of August, followed by a viva with the External Examiner (usually at the end of September). The overall pass mark is 50%.
Term 1:
All students are required to attend all parts of the taught course. The first two weeks are taught jointly with other MSc courses in the Faculty of Medicine and cover basic concepts in cell and molecular biology, an introduction to immunology and an introduction to analysis of complex diseases. The next two weeks covers the fundamentals of clinical genetics. Throughout the term there is training in presentation skills (through oral presentations), two weeks of full-time practical laboratory work and statistics/computing lectures and workshops. Organisation of the computing and practical components of the course depends upon the availability of computing and practical laboratory space, so exact timing may vary slightly from year to year. Students are given an experimental design assignment (poster) at the start of the course to be assessed in term 2. Students are advised to start thinking about their choice of project during this term.
Term 2:
Throughout January and early February, there are lectures covering more advanced aspects of human molecular genetics, typically including topics such as DNA repair and genome instability, gene mapping, complex genetic diseases, animal models of genetic disease, approaches to gene therapy and pharmacogenomics. This is followed by two weeks of laboratory practicals. Exam revision workshops are also scheduled. Projects are organised during January. Written examinations are held around the end of February. The exams comprise three, 3-hour unseen written examinations (Paper 1- Fundamentals of Human Molecular Genetics, Paper 2- Data Analysis and Experimental Strategy and Paper 3- Recent Advances in Human Molecular Genetics).
Individual research projects begin in March. The projects will usually be conducted at Imperial College, but may occasionally be carried out at recognised external academic research institutions in the UK or overseas, subject to academic staff approval of the project, location and supervisor.
Term 3:
Each student gives a mid-project presentation in July. This presentation is formally assessed. Project reports are submitted at the end of August or the first week in September. All students have a viva voce examination, on their project and other aspects of the course, prior to the MSc Examination Board meeting in late September.

The minimum qualification for admission is at least a second class honours degree from a UK university or equivalent overseas qualification in biochemical sciences, genetics or a related subject. Normally, students on this course have a 2.1 or 1st class undergraduate degree. Occasionally, students with other qualifications together with relevant work experience may be considered.
Applications (including references and personal statements) are scrutinised by the Course Director who makes the majority of decisions, supported where necessary by consultation with the Deputy Course Director.

Dean's Master's Scholarships

Home/EU Students

  • Full tuition fees and a stipend of £17,000

  • 5 places are available

Overseas Students

  • Full tuition fees and a stipend of £17,000

  • 4 places are available

Stipends will be paid in monthly instalments, subject to satisfactory progression. Awardees on courses which last more than a year will have their £17,000 stipend spread over the full lengh of the degree. 

The Faculty offers a wide range of Master's degree courses, as well as PG Certificates and Diplomas, and all students will belong to the Graduate School, which provides a comprehensive Transferable Skills Programme. 

 For any queries not covered here, please email James Osborne (PGT Administrator, Faculty of Medicine) at

Please note that there may be other scholarships offered by Schools, Institutes and Departments that make up the Faculty of Medicine. These are separate from the Dean's and Faculty Master's Scholarships described here and entail a different application process. 


General Eligibility

These awards are open to all students who have made an application to the Faculty of Medicine by 30 April 2015 for admission to study for a full time or part time Master's course* at Imperial College London, starting in October 2015 (*or PG Cert for a course where that is the only route to the higher degree).

Please note that these awards can only be given to students who are studying a course run by the Faculty of Medicine. For a full list of these courses, please see our Master's Degree page. 

It is not essential for applicants to have already received an offer of a place on a course, but the initial course application must be made before applying for a scholarship.

Residence Eligibility

Applications are accepted from talented candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide. There are no restrictions on nationality.

Academic Eligibility

  • Candidates are expected to be able to provide evidence of outstanding academic ability. This will usually mean being among the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort and in receipt of, or due to receive, a first class UK Honours degree or equivalent.

  • An applicant who does not meet this requirement (e.g. holds a second class undergraduate degree, is a health professional who did not undertake a degree course, or is from a non-traditional background*), will be considered if they are able to demonstrate that they have outstanding academic potential and substantial experience relevant to their chosen subject area. This should be included in the Personal Statement section of the application form. (*Those applicants without a degree will be required, where available, to pass a Special Qualifying Examination to gain entry to the chosen course).

  • Candidates with degrees from overseas institutions are strongly urged to determine if their scores/grades are equivalent to the relevant eligibility criteria.

  • Candidates who already have a postgraduate qualification should justify their request to have an additional postgraduate course funded by the faculty. This should be included in the Personal Statement section of the application form.

  • Candidates who wish to apply for a Master's course which starts as a PG Cert or PG Dip will only be considered if they are committed to completing the course to Master's level.

  • Scholarships awarded based on predicted grades will be conditional upon final results.

How to Apply
In order to be considered for the Dean's Master's Scholarships, potential candidates will need to have first applied for a place on a Master's course in the Faculty of Medicine. It is not essential to wait for an offer of a place to be made, but the initial course application must be made before submitting a scholarship application. To apply for a Master's course, please use our online admission system. 

Once the application for the course has been submitted, those who wish to apply for a scholarship should complete our online form (Note: the Scholarship award panel will assess candidates on their scholarship application form NOT their course application, so make sure all key information is included in your scholarship application). The form will need to be completed in a single session, so please have the following information prepared:

  • Personal statement (not more than 1000 words).
  • Details of qualifications, achievements, awards, relevant experience and publications.
  • The title/s of the course/s which you have applied for.

Shortlisting will take place in May 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interviews which are currently scheduled for the week commencing Monday 8 June 2015. All interviews will take place via Skype between 9.00 and 17.00 BST. The scholarship application form includes a question regarding your country of residence in June 2015. We will use this information to identify your time zone and try to tailor your interview time accordingly, although we cannot guarantee that the slot allocated to you will be convenient for your time zone. 

All candidates will be informed of the decision by the end of June 2015.


We will use the references that you provide as part of your course application process. Please do not send references to us directly as we will be unable to accept them. It is not essential that we receive your references in time to consider your scholarship application, although their absence may weaken your application. It is therefore recommended that you contact your referees directly to ask that they respond to your course application reference request before Friday 8 May 2015 (one week after scholarship applications close).

Terms and conditions

When applying for Faculty of Medicine Master's Degree Scholarships, candidates must agree to Imperial's terms and conditions regarding scholarships and bursaries. 

Please note, the following conditions override the standard Imperial terms and conditions:

  • Both part time and full time students are eligible to apply.

  • An offer of a place is not required before applying, but candidates must first apply for a Master's course run by the Faculty of Medicine before applying for a scholarship.

  • Candidates who do not apply through the online form will not be considered for the Dean's Master's Scholarships.

  • Successful applicants who receive a Dean's Master's Scholarship will not be allowed to accept any other form of scholarship or bursary provided by Imperial College London for study during the 2015/16 academic year.

  • Scholarship stipends will be paid in monthly instalments over the length of the course, subject to satisfactory progress. Students on courses which are part time or start as a PG Cert will have their stipend paid in equal monthly instalments over the full length of the course.

  • Awardees will be required to participate in a small number of promotional activities during the course of their studies and allow their image to be used by Imperial for publicity purposes. Such activities may include (but are not limited to) attending special events and producing occassional print or web copy.

​Deadline for applications is Midnight 30 April 2015

Applicants will be given a decision by 30 June 2015.

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide who have the potential to become leaders in their field. 

Imperial College works closely with employers and industry, including Industrial Advisory Panels to design Master’s courses which provide graduates with technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills and to encourage students to take internships and placements. All Master’s courses are designed with employer needs in mind with some Master’s courses accredited by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies. Most Master’s courses offer an opportunity to carry out research projects in industry.

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