Quantitative Genetics


Information about possible careers

Discover the career options that may be available to you.

Any of these programmes will greatly enhance your career prospects. They will help you develop as a scientist and present many opportunities to meet experts in their field, both in class and at seminar events open to you as an MSc student.   For 2019/20 this included a centenary event “A Century in Genetics” . On successful completion of your chosen programme of study, you will emerge with a range of valuable skills and with a very well respected qualification.

Career options

Quantitative Genetics students will be equipped with specialist knowledge and a range of intellectual and practical skills, ready to meet the growing demand by industry and academia for individuals with expertise in quantitative biology. In addition there is a strong emphasis on generic skills which will enhance your marketability, whatever career path you follow.

PhD degrees

Many Quantitative Genetics graduates opt to go on to further study at PhD level. The combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills developed during their MSc provide an ideal foundation for doctoral studies.  The three-month Summer project is a very popular element of the course, and offers great preparation and a flavour of study at the next level. Each year we expect a number of our students to continue their studies in higher education.

Some are attracted to the excellent opportunities for quantitative biology research in Edinburgh, and pursue PhD projects at the QGGA-associated Institutes, including the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, the MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, the Roslin Institute & SRUC. Others have gone on to study elsewhere in the UK, in Europe or further afield. MSc graduates have gone on to PhDs in fields such as Forest Genetics, Genomic Medicine, Statistical Genetics, Precision Medicine.

PhD Study in the School of Biological Sciences

Other careers

In addition to specialist quantitative skills, students will also develop a broad range of transferable skills that make them highly attractive to employers. Many of our MSc graduates’ next step is to find employment. Recent graduates have gone on to work as: Geneticist, DNA Analyst, Data Technician or “Wrangler”, Animal Genetics Manager, Scientific Manager, to name just a few.


Here are reflections from a few of our recent graduates, either in work or in PhD study:


"My MSc provided valuable skills in statistical genetic / genomic analysis and an introduction to complex trait analysis that was really helpful in getting my PhD place."

(PhD Student, University of Glasgow)


"I firmly believe I wouldn't be in my position today if it weren't for the connections I made and the knowledge I gained through this MSc."  (Animal Genetics Manager  for UK Dairy Industry)


"The summer project was incredibly useful preparation for a PhD."

(PhD Student, University of Cardiff)


"This degree is more than a piece of paper; it was my entry ticket into science, into understanding, into my career, and there's no price that can be put on that."

(Research Assistant, USA)


"Getting onto the PhD project wouldn't have been possible without the master's degree - I needed a solid foundation of theory to do it, and I got the best foundation there is." 

(PhD Student, New Zealand)


"All I know about animal breeding and genomic data analysis are as a result of my MSc."

(Graduate Working in Animal Breeding & Genomics in Turkey)


"My MSc is the reason I got my current job!" (Data Analyst, Stabiliser Cattle company)