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  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR071
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 505* points
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course Options:

    Students who wish to study Genetics apply to the Science degree (TR071) and may select Genetics as their specialist area for the 3rd and 4th years.

    Junior Freshman (first year) prerequisites: Chemistry CH1101, Chemistry CH1102, Biology 1101 and Mathematics or Mathematical methods.

    Senior Freshman (second year) prerequisites: Biology BY2201, BY2203, BY2205 and BY2208.

    For details of the first two years of the Science course, including entry requirements, see  TR071: Science (common entry).

    Alternatively, to study human genetics exclusively, students should apply to course  TR073 - Human genetics.

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Genetics?

Genetics encompasses both the science of heredity - how phenotypic traits are inherited - and the modern field of molecular biology, which has figured out what genes are and how they work. Genetics provides an approach to studying everything from how cells work to the physiology and behaviour of organisms and the evolution of species. It is central to biology and is increasingly important in modern medicine. Reflecting this, the genetics course covers a wide field and all major groups of organisms.

What will you study?

Courses cover the molecular genetics of bacteria and viruses, man, and other animals and plants. Subjects are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical courses.

  • Medical genetics: includes the identification of genes causing various clinical disorders and the development of genetic and stem-cell therapies to treat them.
  • Neurogenetics: studies how genes control the development and function of the nervous system and their influences on behaviour and psychiatric disease.
  • Molecular and cell biology: explores the control of gene expression and function of genes in various cellular processes in animal or human cells and bacteria, such as cell death, proliferation or differentiation.
  • Developmental genetics: investigates how genes in different cells control the development and growth of an organism.
  • Bioinformatics and evolutionary genetics: investigates evolutionary relationships between organisms and the processes that drive evolution.
  • Population genetics: deals with genetic variation in populations and the role of this variation in evolution.
  • Plant genetics: studies the genes that control plant development and physiology.

In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year, you will be able to specialise in areas of particular interest, and will carry out an original research project in an area such as: hereditary blindness, cell death, neural development, bacterial stress responses or plant genetics. Specialist lecture courses include cancer genetics, genetics of vision, behavioural genetics and human evolutionary genetics.

Did you know?

  • Genetics is housed in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, with state-of-the-art research facilities.

  • Ireland was ranked number 1 in Europe in the 2010 national rankings for research in molecular genetics and genomics (source: Thomson Scientific Essential Science indicators), ahead of countries such as the UK and Germany. This ranking is based on the high numbers of citations received by research papers in genetics published from Ireland, primarily by scientists at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics - the only dedicated genetics research institute in Ireland. The institute has an outstanding reputation for producing high-quality research and holds two of Ireland’s three European Research Council Advanced Grants in biology - the most prestigious research awards in Europe.


You will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year examinations.

Study abroad

At the end of the Junior Sophister (third) year, you may be able to spend the summer months working in a human genetics research laboratory. This is often in the USA, with some financial assistance provided.

Career opportunities

Graduates have gone on to careers in diverse fields, many in science or areas related to it. Many genetics graduates go on to careers in academic or industrial research beginning with postgraduate study. Opportunities also exist in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, agricultural organisations, medical or clinical diagnostic laboratories, forensics, genetic counselling, public health and epidemiology programmes, and in teaching. Other graduates have gone on to careers such as medicine, patent law or science journalism. Even if you choose a career not directly related to the scientific subject, the skills of critical thinking and problem solving provided by the Genetics degree will put you in high demand.

Further information:

Tel: +353 1 896 1140

Student Profile

Róisín-Ana Ní Chárthaigh

Studying Natural Sciences at TCD was the ideal course for me; the Freshman (first and second) years allowed me to see what areas of science fascinated me most! In the Sophister (third and fourth) years, knowledge of other areas of science was helpful. Positive experiences of past students I spoke to and TCD's reputation for world-class research also influenced my choice.

I'm currently a fourth year Genetics student. The course teaches both the core, classical genetics, and illuminates the field frontiers, through lab practicals and in-depth lectures. The assignments and projects encourage students to pursue those areas of genetics of greatest interest to them, and to develop the ability to think independently and critically.

I'd recommend organising practical experience for yourself, no matter what area of science you study. I spent the summer of my third year in a retinal genetics lab in Paris, fusing science, culture and sunshine! It's a great gauge to see if you'd like to work in that field, and helps in your final year project.

This course has given me a passion for genetics; I hope to go on to a PhD.