What is Human Genetics?
Human genetics is the study of genes —or heredity —in humans. It examines the effects of these genes on both individuals and societies. It has developed rapidly in the last decade as new technologies have made it possible to study genes in much greater detail, to rapidly sequence the genomes of humans and other species and to develop ways to correct disease causing mutations using powerful technologies such as genome editing. A few examples of remarkable advances in knowledge include:
- The sequencing and analysis of hundreds of thousands of complete human genomes.
- The development of innovative genetic and stem-cell-based therapies for inherited disorders.
- The ability to trace the evolution of humankind using ancient genomics.
- The application of genomics to medicine and the individualisation of therapies.
Human Genetics: The course for you?
If you are interested in understanding how genetics is central to controlling every cell and its functions (including the 30-40 trillion cells in the human body), to directing intricate programmes of development and to causing many different disorders when perturbed, this is the right course for you. If you want to understand how genetic information is driving the development of novel therapies, is enabling the individualisation of medicines targeted towards patients’ needs, is revealing our ancestries and how it underpins evolutionary biology, this is the degree for you.
Human Genetics at Trinity
Human Genetics is run by the Department of Genetics, which is part of the School of Genetics and Microbiology and is located in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics with state-of-the-art research facilities. There are 12 members of faculty and a number of academic associates, working in a wide range of areas of Human Genetics covering everything from medical genetics, gene based medicines, pharmacogenomics, stem cells to ancient and modern human population genetics, amongst other areas. The Department of Genetics has an international reputation for high-quality research and more than 50 years of experience in teaching Genetics and Human Genetics to undergraduate students. The teaching of the Department is research driven; undergraduates are taught by research-active scientists with excellent track records in their chosen fields.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
Many Human Genetics graduates go on to higher degrees (M.Sc. and/or Ph.D.) and take up careers in research in either academia or industry. Opportunities exist in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, medical or clinical diagnostic laboratories, forensics, public health and epidemiology programmes, and in teaching.
Genetic counselling is a rapidly expanding field that might also interest you. Other graduates have gone into 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 Human Genetics degree will put you in high demand.
Your degree and what you’ll study
During third year, students will learn about the fundamentals of Human Genetics through a combination of lecture courses and practical classes. To this end, students will be exposed to different areas of Human Genetics ranging from medical genetics to the genetic programmes underpinning cell biology. Practical classes teach students about key techniques and analysis methods that are widely used in Human Genetics. In fourth year, students can choose, largely depending on their interests, from various lecture courses in different areas of Human Genetics. Students spend 10-12 weeks in a laboratory and participate in ongoing research projects. Furthermore, students write an in-depth literature review on a current topic in
During the third year you will gain foundation information about the field of Human Genetics and will also learn about the rapidly developing technologies that are driving developments in human genetics. Subject areas will include: Medical Genetics; Pharmacogenomics; Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics; Genomics and Systems Biology; Neurogenetics Evolutionary Genetics; Molecular Genetics Laboratory; Analytical Genetics Laboratory; Human Genomics Data Handling; Human Genetics tutorials; and a Human Genetics Review. You also have an opportunity to study complementary modules in other areas of Biology and you can take Trinity Elective modules in non-Science subjects.
During the fourth year you will undertake a literature review on a topic in Human Genetics and will also undertake a Capstone research project, where you work closely for 10-12 weeks with a Trinity professor in their research laboratory. You will have an opportunity to participate in globally leading research programmes in the Department. Lecture topics covered will include: Principles of Human Genetics; Transgenic Animals and Gene Therapy; Genetics and Epigenetics of Cancer; Prion-Like Proteins; Apoptosis; Stem Cell Biology; Molecular Evolution; Genetics and Immunology of Neural Diseases; Human Evolutionary Genetics; Genetics of Neural Development; and Behavioural Genetics.
Students will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-semester examinations.
Click here for further information on modules/subject.
Study abroad and internship opportunities
The Department helps students to secure internships in research laboratories (both in Ireland and internationally) over the summer period between the third and fourth years, so that they can gain valuable research experience. Some students spend all or part of the summer period in US laboratories, again between third and fourth year. Further information on study abroad opportunities can be found at: www.tcd.ie/study/study-abroad/outbound/options
Study Human Genetics at Trinity
This video gives an overview of what human genetics is and the central role of the human genome in all aspects of human biology. The wide range of modules that students will take as part of the Human Genetics course at Trinity College Dublin is also described.
AwardsB.A. (Moderatorship) Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 555 (2023) CAO Code TR060
Students will be required to undergo Garda Vetting, for further details see: www.tcd.ie/students/orientation/undergraduates/garda-vetting.php
Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.
To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below
Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
Human Genetics was an excellent course. As well as dedicated tutorials from the staff in the first and second years of the degree course, there were diverse practical modules in areas such as DNA sequencing and genetic engineering in the later years. We graduated from Human Genetics with a cutting-edge understanding of this exciting and radically changing field with great career opportunities ahead of us.
Studying Human Genetics at Trinity has been very exciting. The course content is based on cutting-edge science, delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical laboratory work, and covers a wide range of subjects from evolutionary genetics to cancer biology, all of which are sure to be useful in the future as genetics remains at the forefront of scientific progress. The professors are very helpful and make the student experience studying Human Genetics at Trinity incredibly enjoyable.