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Genetics and Genomics (Including Foundation Year)

Course overview

(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Genetics and Genomics (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

UK and EU applicants should have, or expect to have:

72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent, including a science subject. Science subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Geography, Sports Science and Applied Science.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP (in a science subject)

All applicants must also hold GCSE Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above.

Essex Pathways Department accepts a wide range of qualifications from applicants. If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 0 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 IA102-3-FY Introduction to Biology Core 30
02 IA123-3-FY Chemistry for Biology Core 30
03 IA128-3-FY Maths and Statistics for Biological Sciences Core 30
04 IA199-3-FY Research and Academic Development Skills and English Language Core 30

Year 1 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 BS141-4-FY Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences Core 30
02 BS101-4-AU Molecular Cell Biology Core 15
03 BS104-4-SP Microbiology Core 15
04 BS131-4-AU Biochemistry of Macromolecules Core 15
05 BS102-4-SP Genetics and Evolution Core 15
06 BS113-4-AU or BS133-4-SP Core with Options 15
07 BS132-4-AP General and Organic Chemistry Core 15

Year 2 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 BS211-5-FY Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences Compulsory 15
02 BS221-5-AU Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease Compulsory 15
03 BS231-5-SP Computational Data Analysis: R for Life Sciences Compulsory 15
04 BS222-5-AU Genome Science Compulsory 15
05 Option(s) from list Optional 30
06 Option(s) from list Optional 30

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 BS831-6-FY Research Project in Biomolecular Science Compulsory 45
02 BS304-6-AP Issues in Biomolecular Science Compulsory 15
03 BS312-6-AU Genome Bioinformatics Compulsory 15
04 Option from list Optional 15
05 Option(s) from list Optional 30

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

Genetics and Genomics (C410) is a 3 year programme of study which has the aims of developing in our students:

an understanding of living systems, and the varied levels of complexity from molecules to populations.

an understanding of biological methods and approaches with an emphasis on genetics and genomics and an understanding of the main body of biological knowledge.

an ability to analyse current biological and genetical questions and to suggest solutions.

a general scientific education including training in handling and interpretation of quantitative information and the ability to plan and carry out bioinformatics or laboratory based research under supervision.

the key skills of communication, numeracy, ITC use, problem solving, working with others, self-evaluation and self-improvement, and autonomous learning using genetics as a context and focus.

the key laboratory, computational and workplace skills required for careers in genetics or genomics, or other careers that require an integrated understanding of molecular genetic processes.

a foundation of knowledge, understanding and skills required for further study and research.

an awareness of the need for compliance with health, safety and ethical policies in biological work.

an appreciation of the need for, and importance of, lifelong learning and personal development planning.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Basic physics, maths and chemistry that are relevant to biological sciences
A2 The different levels of organisation and complexity, from molecules, through cells, tissues, organs, organisms to populations
A3 The structural and functional organisation of cells including key cellular, genetic and developmental processes and their regulation
A4 The organisation of cells into multicellular organisms including cell and organism metabolism and physiology
A5 Key biological processes at the molecular level with emphasis on genetics
A6 Appropriate practical scientific methods and approaches: observation, experimentation, bioinformatics, modelling; and techniques used in their analysis
A7 Key genetics issues facing society (e.g. genetic profiling, genetic fingerprinting, GMOs)
Learning Methods: Lectures are the principal method of delivery of A1 to A7. Lectures direct students to textbooks and on-line material (Years 1 to 2), and reviews and research papers (Year 2 and particularly Final Year).
Laboratory and field practicals in Years 1 and 2 complement lectures and develop A1 to A6.
Coursework associated with lecture modules in Years 2 and 3 develops A1 to A7.The research project in Final Year teaches and develops A6 and also a range of A1-A5 and A7 (depending on project topic).
Team work for A7 is developed in the Issues module (Final Year).
The Skills module in Year 2 teaches and develops A1 to A6.
Seminars with small groups are used in A1 (mathematics and chemistry, Year 1).

Assessment Methods: A1 to A7 are assessed by:
Multiple Choice Questions (Year 1)
Timed and un-timed essays (Year 2 and Final Year)
Oral and written practical reports (Years 1 and 2)
Exercises in data analysis and interpretation (DAI), (Years 2 and Final Year)
Unseen written exams: short answer (Years 1 and 2), essay and questions involving DAI (Year 2 and Final Year)

The individual Final Year research project, covering a range of A2 to A7 (depending on project topic) tests understanding in depth and is assessed by an individual written report and an oral presentation.

Oral presentations and essays in the Final Year Issues course are used to assess A7.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Retrieve, select and collate appropriate biological information
B2 Evaluate primary and secondary evidence and arguments
B3 Analyse and interpret quantitative information in graphs, figures, tables and equations
B4 Integrate and link information across course components, including material met in different years, from different disciplines and covering different scales of organisation.
B5 Plan and conduct a research task (including risk assessment and ethical approval where appropriate)
B6 Present data correctly, choose and apply an appropriate basic statistical test and interpret the output
Learning Methods: Setting of directed learning topics (Years 1 and 2) develops skills in B1, B2 and B4.

B1 and B2 are partly covered by training in exam essay writing in the Year 1 tutorials and further developed by coursework essays (Year 2 and Final Year)

B2 and B3 are taught by specific inclusion of data analysis in lectures and classes in Years 2 and 4 and through progressive development of DAI coursework in Year 2 and Final Year.

B1 to B3 and in some cases B4, are developed through analyses and presentation of results of practical work in Years 1 to Final Year.

B4 is achieved by progressive subject development through the 3 years; the summer laboratory course and the Issues course in Final Year.

B5 is taught via the Final Year individual Research Project module.

B6 is taught in Year 1 Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences module and developed throughout the degree via practical coursework (Years 1 and 2) and in the final year research project.

Assessment Methods: B1, B2 and B4 are assessed by coursework and exam essays (Year 1 to Final Year).

B2 and B3 are assessed by coursework and compulsory exam DAI questions (Years 2 and 3), practical reports (Years 1 and 2) and the research project report (Final Year).

B4 is assessed by integrative coursework in the Final Year Issues module.

B1 to B5 are also assessed in the Final Year individual research project.

B6 is assessed in Years 1 & 2 practicals and Year 1 Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences module, and in the Final Year research project.

C: Practical skills

C1 Able to carry out basic experiments and sampling programmes in the laboratory and the field, safely and effectively following a written schedule
C2 Use appropriate laboratory or field equipment safely and efficiency
C3 Able to explain the principles and limitations of a range of more advanced genetics based, practical techniques
C4 Use appropriate techniques to study diversity at different levels (e.g. identification of species using hierarchical keys and sequence databases)
C5 Able to use appropriate software packages for simulations, modelling, statistical analysis, etc.
Learning Methods: Skills C1 to C3 are taught in supervised practicals in Years 1 and 2, and a week long summer laboratory course in Year 2.

Lectures in all years teach aspects of C1 and C3

Independent project work in research laboratories or in the field in Final Year also teaches and develops C1 to C3.

As part of C1 to C3, safety is addressed through practical documentation (Years 1 and 2) and developed by students preparing risk assessments for Final Year research projects.

C4 is taught in Skills modules in years 1 and 2, and developed in lecture courses and the final year research project depending on the options and topics.

C5 is addressed through IT and statistics training in Year 1 Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences, and the use of more specialised software is taught or developed in practicals and the project in Final Year.

Assessment Methods: C1 is assessed through Year 1 and Year 2 practicals and the Final Year research project.

C2 is assessed in some Year 1 and 2 practicals.

C3 is assessed in many practicals in Years 1 and 2 and in theory exams in Years 1, 2 and Final Year.

C4 is assessed in practicals in Year 2.

C5 is assessed in several Year 2 practicals, the Skills module and the final year Research Project module.

D: Key skills

D1 Able to write clearly in: a) logically argued essays; b) longer reports, including basic scientific papers; c) a variety of other pieces of work for different target audiences; d) e-communications, in particular email. Plan, write and give clear, effective, well-timed oral presentations.
D2 (i) Use of current networked PC operating systems for normal file management, (ii) Use a current common word-processing, spreadsheet, web browsing and email packages, (iii) Able to locate and use on-line catalogues and databases
D3 (i) Use appropriate precision, scales, units, scientific notation, ratios, fractions, powers of 10, logarithms and exponentials. (ii) Use simple algebra and trigonometry and elementary calculus, (simple differentiation and integration). (iii) Use approximations for mental arithmetic estimation and verification.
D4 Explore, analyse and find solutions for problems involving reasonably complex information.
D5 Work effectively as part of a team to collect data and/or to produce reports and presentations
D6 Study independently, set realistic targets, plan work and time to meet targets within deadlines. Reflect on assessed work, feedback, and progress; Plan, record and document personal development
Learning Methods: Essay writing skills (D1) are taught in the Year 1 tutorials, the Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences module and developed in all subsequent modules. Required length of essays and reports grows from Year 1 to final year.

Oral presentation skills (D1) are developed in some practicals and lecture modules, the summer laboratory course (Year 2), and the Research Project module in final year.

IT use (D2) is taught in Year 1, particularly in the Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences module and developed throughout all years. Most coursework from Year 2 onwards must be word-processed, and other computer produced work is required for some practical assignments in Year 2 and in the final year research project, and in the Issues module.

Library, on line catalogue and web skills (D2) are taught in Year 1; developed by provision of module-related material on the Web and through preparation of the research project report (final year). Web-based material (D2) is used in several modules including practicals.

D3 is taught in lectures & seminars (Year 1) and developed in many subsequent modules.

D4 taught through DAI questions in Year 2 and final year, and in some practical classes, and developed in the Issues module, and in supervised project work (final year).

Team work (D5) is introduced in some Year 1 and Year 2 practicals and in the final year Issues module.

D6 is addressed in the Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences module in Year 1, including introduction to PDP, developed through the provision of explicit directed learning tasks (Years 1 and 2), increasing amounts of student managed learning from Year 1 to Final Year, attendance monitoring, rigid deadlines, feedback on assignments and discussions with personal tutor. D6 planning component is developed in the final year Research Project module.

Assessment Methods: Written skills (D1) are assessed through essays in coursework and exams (Years 1 to Final Year) and in practical reports (Years 1 and 2) and in the Issues module and the research project report (Final Year).

Oral presentation skills (D1) are assessed in the some Year 2 practicals, in the final year Issues Module and Research Project module.

IT and Maths skills (D2 and D3) are assessed through worksheets and exams in Year 1. Thereafter, practical work, coursework and exam questions throughout the degree course assess numerical skills. Most coursework from Year 2 onwards has to be prepared by computer and submitted on-line.

Problem solving (D4) is assessed in some of the Year 2 practicals, in the Issues Module, in DAI questions in exams and in the final year research project.

D5 is assessed through team presentations in some Year 2 practical work and in the Issues module.

D6 is assessed by examining directed learning material (Years 1 and 2), by awarding marks for evidence of additional reading and by imposing strict deadlines for coursework assignments.

D6 PDP is assessed in year 1 Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences and is developed in the Year 2 Skills module. The planning component of D6 is assessed in the Research Project module.


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