Students Staff

10 August 2016

Essex number one for student satisfaction in genetics and in top 10 for biology

Colchester Campus

Genetics at the University of Essex is number one nationally for student satisfaction with 100% of students saying they are satisfied with the course. Biological Sciences also received strong student feedback with 97% of students studying biology also satisfied with their Essex experience.

Some of the most exciting and important advances in biology are now being made in the field of genetics, and at the University of Essex students have the opportunity to study this fast-changing area.

The Genetics course focuses on real-world biomedical applications, including how cells differentiate to form the specialised tissues present in complex organisms, and how the delicate regulation of cell growth can be disrupted and lead to cancer. Students learn about human, microbial and plant genetics and genomics, with a strong emphasis on bioinformatics and biotechnology.

Director of Education at the School of Biological Sciences, Dr Julie Lloyd, said: “This specialised course attracts students who are excited and engaged in understanding their subject and achieve excellent results – with 90% of this year’s students gaining a First or 2.1. Some have already studied at universities in Canada or the USA, or worked in industry for a year.

“In the last two years a new genetics research group has been established in the School of Biological Sciences led by Professor Leo Schalkwyk. All our final year students carry out a challenging research project working with an academic in this group, to investigate topics of fundamental or medical importance, such as the role of epigenetics in neurological conditions or the role of micro-RNAs in gene expression. Their projects allow them to learn highly transferable skills in programming and data analysis in the field of bioinformatics and our graduates go on to study for PhD and masters, or careers in teaching and industry.”

Biological Science students at Essex have the chance to explore everything from the impact of climate change on coral reefs, the biology of sporting achievements, and cancer and stem cell biology, to the development of new artificial blood products.

Dr Lloyd said: "Biological Sciences offers students a really wide choice, including opportunities for tropical reef field work in Indonesia or terrestrial ecology in Portugal."

The excellent feedback from undergraduates in the National Student Survey comes a week after a new centre for postgraduate training in biosocial research was announced led by UCL and with the School of Biological Sciences at Essex a key partner.

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