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Study genetics at Otago


Genetics is a rapidly progressing science, a central theme of modern biology, and a critical component of most biological research. With a high demand for genetics graduates within New Zealand and overseas, a degree in this groundbreaking yet practical discipline will provide you with many career options.

The Genetics programme at the University of Otago has the benefit of being taught on an interdepartmental basis, with input from 8 departments across the University:

This structure allows staff and students to share ideas across a far broader sphere than would be possible in a single department. It enables us to draw upon cutting-edge research University-wide. A further benefit is that we can cover all aspects of modern genetics in our teaching programme.

Genetics degree information for undergraduates and postgraduates is set out within this Genetics Otago website - read on for more information about studying genetics at Otago. You can also discover more about studying at the University of Otago on the University's website:

Degree Planning and Course advising

Genetics Degree Planning: please contact the Director, A/Prof Caroline Beck if you require course advice. 

Start of semester course advising and approval information will be posted on the door of the Genetics Office, 6th floor Microbiology.

An Open Day for first year students will be held in early October, details to be confirmed.

Undergraduate study

You can major or minor in Genetics as part of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.

The Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (BBiomedSc) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) degrees can also feature strong genetics content.

Undergraduate study in genetics

Important notice for those wishing to study Gene 313 and 314

There has been some confusion about the timing of the labs and allowable clashes.
Please note labs are held either Monday 2-6pm, Tuesday 10 -6pm or Thursday 2-6pm, Friday 10 -6pm, however you are allowed to drop in and out of the morning session to attend lectures (you just need to coordinate with your lab partners to make sure the lab work is done). You are expected to be at the afternoon sessions, especially the 2pm intro talks (but again if you have a lecture clash we can discuss this with you).
Unfortunately, Evision is unable to cope with the morning sessions as allowable clashes so we have just decided to timetable the labs for the afternoon sessions only (so please be aware of the morning sessions). Until this is changed by timetables the morning sessions will likely show as clashes with other lectures just now.
Please do not be put off signing up to one of these papers if you think it is clashing with another paper. Gillian MacKay is happy to look at your proposed timetables if you are unsure if one of these papers might not fit. Please email Gillian MacKay for advice.

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Postgraduate study

We offer five postgraduate qualifications in Genetics, ranging from a 1-year Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) to a multi-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Postgraduate study in genetics

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Our 13 genetics papers range from 200- to 400-level, and cover such diverse topics as evolutionary genetics and the genetic analysis of eukaryotes.

Papers in genetics at the University of Otago

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Scholarships and research opportunities

The University of Otago offers a limited number of scholarships for masters' and PhD students, including those studying with Genetics Otago.

Genetics Otago also has funded research opportunities for postgraduate students.

Postgraduate scholarships and research opportunities

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Student profiles

Recent graduates Cameron Craigie and Hayden Selvadurai discuss studying genetics at Otago, and research and career opportunities following graduation.

Genetics student profiles

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A qualification from Genetics Otago can open doors to careers involving research and non-research options around the world.

Careers in genetics

Information, resources, and support for Māori students

The University of Otago has information, resources, and support for Māori students, available at the following centres:

Information, resources, and support for Pacific Island students

Pacific Island students have access to information, resources, and support from centres throughout the University of Otago, and other student associations:

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Contact us

For any enquiries regarding your current or future studies in Genetics, the Teaching Programme administration is located on the 6th floor of the Microbiology building.

The Director is normally available in Microbiology 207 on Mondays (except the second Monday of each month) and Zoology P106 (Director's office) Thursdays at 1 – 2pm. It is strongly recommended to email or phone to arrange an appointment at other times due to limited staff availability.

International student enquiries can be made here

A/Prof Caroline Beck,
Director, Genetics Teaching Programme
Tel 64 3 479 4109

Dr Stephanie Hughes
Deputy Director, Genetics Teaching Programme
Tel 64 3 479 3761

Dr Gillian Mackay
Genetics Teaching Fellow
Tel 64 3 479 7937

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