Postgraduate study
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Genetics and Genomics PhD, MScR

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Genetics and Genomics

Research in the field of Genetics and Genomics aims to advance the understanding of complex animal systems and the development of improved predictive models through the application of numerical and computational approaches to the analysis of the genome.

This includes analyses and interpretation, modelling, and prediction of complex animal systems at multiple levels, from the sequence and behaviour of DNA, RNA species, proteins and other molecules, through cellular and gene networks, tissues and organs right up to whole organisms and interacting populations of organisms.

The biology and traits of interest include:

  • growth and development
  • body composition
  • feed efficiency
  • reproductive performance
  • greenhouse gas emissions and other indices of sustainability
  • environmental adaptation
  • responses to infectious disease and the interactions between host and pathogen
  • population responses to selection
  • inherited diseases
  • behavioural and welfare-associated traits

Research ranges from basic bioscience, computational and mathematical biology to strategic research intended to address grand challenges, e.g. food security.

Research is focussed on, but not restricted to, target species of agricultural importance including:

  • cattle
  • pigs
  • poultry
  • sheep
  • farmed fish such as salmon or tilapia
  • other aquaculture species such as oysters and mussels
  • companion animals
  • organisms of emerging agricultural interest, for example insect species

These are studied together with associated pathogenic and commensal microorganisms, parasites and vectors that infect, colonise, or interact with these hosts.

The availability of genome sequences (both new and pre-existing) and the associated analysis toolkits for genome assembly, annotation, and interrogation enable genetics and genomics research in all these species.

Expertise includes:

  • genetics (molecular, quantitative)
  • physiology (neuroendocrinology, immunology)
  • ‘omics (genomics, functional genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, epigenomics, metagenomics etc.)

Particular strengths are in computational and mathematical biology (quantitative genetics, epidemiology, bioinformatics, phylogenetics, modelling).

(Revised 26 October 2023 to include more detail on the research topics)

Study is by supervised research.

Individual students are integrated within their supervisors group and school. You will participate fully in activities such as journal clubs, group meetings and seminar programmes.

You will be expected to complete a piece of original research, directed towards solving important, novel and open questions.

Studentships are of 3 or 4 years duration and you will be expected to complete a novel piece of research which will advance our understanding of the field.

To help you in this goal, you will be assigned a principal and assistant supervisor, both of whom will be active scientists within the School. Your progress will be monitored in accordance with School Postgraduate regulations by a PhD thesis committee (which includes an independent external assessor and chair). There is also dedicated secretarial support to assist these committees and the students with University and Institute/School requirements.

All student matters are overseen by the School's postgraduate studies committee. Easter Bush also has a local postgraduate committee which will provide advice and support to students when requested. An active staff-student liaison committee and a social committee, which is headed by our postgraduate liaison officer, provide additional support.

You will be expected to attend a number of generic training courses offered by the Transkills Programme of the University and to participate in regular seminars and laboratory progress meetings. All students will also be expected to present their data at national and international meetings throughout their period of study.

The Roslin Institute, where the majority of our research is conducted, occupies a state-of-the-art building on the University of Edinburgh's veterinary campus at Easter Bush.

Our facilities include:

  • rodent, bird, aquaculture and livestock animal units and associated lab areas
  • comprehensive bioinformatics and genomics capabilities
  • a range of bioimaging facilities including a major new large animal imaging facility, extensive molecular and cell biology labs, and a café and auditorium where we regularly host workshops and invited speakers

Through links with major technology and service providers, we have access to the latest genomics technologies, including:

  • next-generation sequencing
  • single-cell/single nucleus sequencing platforms
  • SNP genotyping and microarray platforms
  • large-scale phenotyping platforms

In addition, we have access to world-leading computing facilities through the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility, the Edinburgh International Data Facility and a Data-Driven Innovation program. For large-scale analyses, we also have access to a dedicated HPE Superdome (800+ cores, 23TB RAM).

(Revised 26 October 2023 to include more information on facilities)

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDGenetics and Genomics3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDGenetics and Genomics6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScRGenetics and Genomics1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRGenetics and Genomics2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Easter Bush Veterinary Centre
  • Roslin
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

Before making your application, you must make contact with a potential supervisor to discuss your research proposal. Further information on making a research degree application can be found on the College website:

You will be formally interviewed (in person, by video-conferencing or Skype).

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Easter Bush Veterinary Centre
  • Roslin
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG