Quantitative Genetics

Why Study Quantitative Genetics?

Quantitative Genetics is concerned with the inheritance of complex traits. Its study enables us to understand the genetic underpinnings of human disease, improve traits of economic interest in domestic plants and animals, and understand how evolution has shaped the world we live in. The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

We offer a suite of Programmes to deliver the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in both the biomedical and animal science industries and to undertake research in a wide range of fields in evolutionary genetics, animal breeding, and human genetics and genome analysis.

Why study here?

Our Programmes offer a small course experience taught by active members of the quantitative genetic research community. We are based in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, part of the School of Biological Sciences, however they bring together expertise from across the University and Scotland’s Rural Colleges (SRUC).

The University has an international reputation as a leader in quantitative genetics. The first genetic department was set up in the University of Edinburgh in 1919, and the postgraduate Diploma in Genetics was offered to students beginning in 1949, with a substantial component of quantitative genetics. The MSc in Animal Breeding started in 1975 through a collaboration with the Agriculture Department. This reputation is continued with Edinburgh being at the forefront of research in the genetics of animal breeding, evolution, and human health.

Four MSc programmes are offered within the Quantitative Genetics suite. All students have access to the same courses, but three programmes are tailored to specialised interests and have specific compulsory components. The choice of programme within this suite can be made either at the application stage or after enrolment. 

How You Will Be Taught

Animal Breeding and Genetics

This programme is for students wanting a focussed degree on animal breeding.

Evolutionary Genetics

This Programme offers focus on aspects of evolutionary genetics.

Human Complex Trait Genetics

This Programme is for students wanting a degree focussing on human genetics, particularly the genetics of complex traits.

Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis

This Programme offers the most flexibility in terms of course choice. It is for students wanting a broad discipline degree. We recommend that you apply to Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis if you are initially unsure if the specialist programme is best for you. Matriculated QGGA students can choose to transfer to other programmes within the QG suite at any point throughout the year.