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Study Genetics at Otago

The world of genetics is enormous. It touches our everyday lives in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

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 ground-breaking and practical discipline will provide you with many career options.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Genetics at Otago

Genetics is a rapidly-progressing science, a central theme of modern biology, and an indispensable component of most biological research.

The Genetics programme at Otago draws together the departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Botany, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Women’s and Children’s Health, and Zoology.

This allows staff and students to interact and share ideas across a broader sphere than is possible in any one department.

Why study Genetics?

Genetics is the study of genes and inheritance. It’s fun, interesting, challenging and relevant to everyday life! It’s a very diverse subject, in which you’ll learn about the molecular basis of life right through to the study of whole organisms, populations and evolution.

You will learn to make informed decisions about topics such as genetic engineering, cloning and your own health. In your lectures, you’ll also learn about the cutting- edge research being undertaken at Otago and you’ll have many opportunities to undertake hands-on research.

Background required

You need to have an interest in the world around you!

Year 13 Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics are strongly recommended (but not essential).

Can I combine my Genetics degree with other subjects?

Yes! Genetics and almost anything is a marketable and desirable combination.

Popular subjects include various business subjects, Law, Bioethics, Mathematics, Statistics, Information Science, and Computer Science.

You can combine Genetics with other biological sciences such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Botany, Microbiology, and Zoology; and other science subjects such as Anthropology, Geology, and Psychology.

It is also possible to take Genetics papers as part of a BBiomedSc degree. In particular, Genetics is an integral component of the Reproduction, Genetics and Development major.

How will I study?

Genetics is an experimental science with a strong theoretical background, so you will have a combination of lectures and lab-based practicals.

The lab classes in second and third year are extremely varied. You’ll examine everything from viruses and bacteria through to fruit flies, worms and humans. For example, in second year you create genetically-modified bacteria and test for genetically-modified organisms in supermarket products.

During third year, you’ll have the opportunity to look at your own chromosomes, and to analyse a portion of your own DNA to determine which ‘Daughter of Eve’ you are descended from.

You also get to design and carry out your own group projects.

Computer simulation labs enable you to study evolutionary genetics.

Postgraduate study options

A Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Genetics can lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci), a Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)), Master of Science (MSc), or PhD degree. You can apply to enter these postgraduate programmes during the third year of your BSc.

If you have a degree with a major other than Genetics, but wish to study postgraduate Genetics, you can study for a Diploma for Graduates endorsed in Genetics.

Career opportunities

Graduates with a genetics degree from Otago can be found all over New Zealand and around the world, doing all sorts of interesting things. A degree in Genetics gives you a wide range of marketable skills suitable for employment in biologically- based industries, research organisations and government departments.

You could be a research associate, policy analyst, biotechnologist, conservation worker or biosecurity analyst, to name but a few!

With further study you could be a patent lawyer, science journalist, or a researcher in human, animal, plant, or microbial genetics.

A Genetics degree from Otago also provides an excellent foundation for the further training required to be a genetic counsellor or forensic scientist.

Qualifications

Explore your study options furhter. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Genetics

Level Papers Points
100-level

CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology

CHEM 191 The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

At least two of BIOL 112, BIOL 123, BIOC 192, ECOL 111, HUBS 191, HUBS 192, MATH 151 or MATH 160, STAT 110 or STAT 115. BIOC 192 and STAT 110 or 115 highly recommended.

18

18

36

200-level

GENE 221  Molecular and Microbial Genetics

GENE 222  Genes, Chromosomes and Populations

GENE 223  Developmental and Applied Genetics

BIOC 221 highly recommended; MICR 221 and ZOOL 222 recommended.

18

18

18

300-level

Four of:
GENE 312  Evolutionary Genetics
GENE 313  Medical Genetics
GENE 314  Developmental Genetics
GENE 315  Genomes
BIOC 352  Advanced Molecular Biology and Informatics
MICR 335  Molecular Microbiology

Note: After discussion with the Programme Director, in exceptional and justified circumstances and with the Director’s approval, one required 200 or 300 level paper may be approved for substitution with another, relevant paper. At 300 level, examples of papers that may be suitable include BIOC 353, BITC 301, BTNY 302, MICR 336, MICR 337, PLBI 301, PLBI 302, ZOOL 319.

72
Plus

162 further points, must include 54 points at 200-level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science.

162
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Genetics

Papers
  • GENE 490  Dissertation

  • GENE 411  Current Topics in Genetics

  • GENE 412  Current Topics in Genetics

  • One of:
    • ANAT 456  Developmental Biology
    • BIOC 462  Molecular Biology
    • BIOC 463  Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry
    • BTNY 467  New Zealand Plant Ecology and Evolution
    • MICR 461  Molecular Microbiology
    • PLBI 401  Special Topic
    • STAT 435  Data Analysis for Bioinformatics
    • ZOOL 410  Evolutionary Genetics

      With Programme Director approval, one of the papers listed above may be replaced by another 400-level paper.

  • Prerequisites: At least five of:
    GENE 312  Evolutionary Genetics
    GENE 313  Medical Genetics
    GENE 314  Developmental Genetics
    GENE 315  Genomes
    GENE 360  Special Topics in Genetics (highly recommended)
    BIOC 352  Advanced Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
    MICR 335  Molecular Microbiology

    With Programme Director approval, one of the papers listed above may be replaced by another 300-level paper.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Genetics

Papers

Note: With approval from the Programme DIrector another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of the papers listed above

Master of Science (MSc) in Genetics

Papers and Thesis
  • GENE 411  Current Topics in Genetic

  • GENE 412  Current Topics in Genetics

  • GENE 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Two of:

    Note: With approval from the Programme Director, another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of the papers listed above.

  • Thesis: GENE 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Genetics as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology 18
200-level

At least two of:
GENE 221  Molecular and Microbial Genetics
GENE 222  Genes, Chromosomes and Populations
GENE 223  Developmental and Applied Genetics

36

300-level Two of:
GENE 312  Evolutionary Genetics
GENE 313  Medical Genetics
GENE 314  Developmental Genetics
GENE 315  Genomes
36
 

Prerequisites for GENE 221 include CHEM 191

 
Total   90

Papers

GENE papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
GENE221 2021 Molecular and Microbial Genetics 18 points First Semester
GENE222 2021 Genes, Chromosomes and Populations 18 points Second Semester
GENE223 2021 Developmental and Applied Genetics 18 points Second Semester
GENE312 2021 Evolutionary Genetics 18 points Second Semester
GENE313 2021 Medical Genetics 18 points Second Semester
GENE314 2021 Developmental Genetics 18 points Second Semester
GENE315 2021 Genomes 18 points First Semester
GENE360 2021 Extension Topics and Research Skills 18 points Full Year
GENE411 2021 Current Topics in Genetics 20 points First Semester
GENE412 2021 Current Topics in Genetics 20 points Second Semester
GENE480 2021 Research Project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
GENE490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
GENE495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
QGEN401 2021 Quantitative Genetics and Improvement 20 points Second Semester

Key information for future students

Contact us

Genetics Office
Email genetics@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/genetics