Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Advanced Genetics 4A option BIOL4283

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course aims to develop critical analysis, problem-solving and experimental design skills of students to enable them to understand current genetics research and develop and enhance their ability to critically-evaluate genetic research data. This is complemented by training them in the review and discussion of contemporary genetics research, to develop their skill set to distil key information from the scientific literature and assimilate this information to develop current scientific theories and hypotheses. 


This option is assigned to block S2-A. There is normally one 3-hour session on Mondays. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Genetics programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator.

Excluded Courses

BIOL4053 Genetics Advanced Studies


The course will be assessed by a 120-minute problem examination (70%) and a supervised extended essay (30%) on a research subject relevant to Genetics. 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

■ to develop critical analysis skills of published literature and research data in the field;

■ to provide a forum for discussion of relevant research material to facilitate the development of the student's ability to critically appraise this material and draw conclusions from it;

■ to develop the capacity to solve problems and design experimental strategy in Genetics.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to: 

■ extract relevant information from the primary and secondary scientific literatures in Genetics;

■ solve problems of a numerical or logical nature in the context of this understanding;

■ interpret data presented in the primary research literature;

■ construct a coherent, argued and up-to-date overview of a focused sub-topic of Genetics based on reading the primary and secondary scientific literatures;

■ present information clearly and logically;

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.