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Applied Genomics MSc

Learn about the course below
October 2021
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,400 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Dr Martijn Timmermans

Technological advances in genomics are revolutionising life sciences. Whole genomes can be sequenced with ease, full communities can be characterised by their genetic content, the spread of pathogens and emerging diseases can be investigated at the molecular level, and traits can be mapped with base-pair precision. As DNA sequence technologies are producing more and more data every day at an ever-decreasing cost, there is a clear need for specialists in this rapidly-evolving field.

Why study MSc Applied Genomics at Middlesex University?

This is an interdisciplinary programme with teaching provided by Life Sciences and Computer Science research active academics as well as other experts in the field. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of genomics principles and methodology to investigate economically and ecologically relevant traits. You will be trained to pursue a genomics career in the life sciences sector.

This programme has a strong applied and practical focus. You will use cutting edge technology to generate novel sequence datasets and analyse these over the course of the programme. A hands-on approach will give you the practical and computational skills in genomics in our laboratories and computing facilities; skills needed for a successful career in genomics.

Course highlights

  • Integrated approach to teaching with a strong link to research
  • Expert input from biological, biomedical and computer scientists
  • Possibility to perform dissertation study within external organisation
  • A flexible course that provides broad but thorough basis in genomics
  • Individual dissertation project allows high degree of specialisation in sub-area of own interest.

Find out more

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What will you study on MSc Applied Genomics?

This programme will provide you with a solid understanding of the structural complexity of genomes, their evolution and the sophisticated processes underlying gene control. In conjunction, specialist classes will provide you with practical skills for genome analysis. Access to on campus facilities may be restricted as a result of the ongoing Covid 19 outbreak. Alternative approaches have been designed to facilitate your learning and skills.

Computational tools and statistical techniques for whole genome research will be introduced using real datasets and will specifically focus on coding, data handling and the analysis of large sequential datasets.

A strong link between research and teaching ensures you will develop good practical skills in genomics, preparing you for the job market.

What will you gain?

You will gain a thorough understanding of molecular biology principles as well as critical research skills in genomics. The programme also aims to teach computing skills including computing languages and statistical analysis of big data.


  • Modules

    • Informatics for Genomics (30 credits) - Compulsory

      In this module, you will be equipped with the theoretical and algorithmic basis for analysing large, multidimensional genomics datasets.

    • Genomics Techniques (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of molecular biology techniques in genomics and relevant data-processing skills.

    • Comparative Genomics (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with the theoretical and technical skills to compare genomic data among organisms, with a focus on detecting structural changes, pinpointing genetic similarities and differences, and investigating biological diversity.

    • Population Genomics (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to give you a thorough understanding of how evolutionary processes affect the genome and what can be concluded from such changes.

    • Genome Structure and Function (15 credits) - Compulsory

      In this module, you will gain a detailed understanding of the structural complexity of genomes, their maintenance, and the intricate regulation of gene expression via molecular interactions and biochemical modifications.

    • Ethics (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module explores the ethical issues present in the rapidly developing area of genetic technology, including genetic testing and selection, genetic engineering and the concept of genetic disease.

    • Dissertation (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module comprises an individual research project where you will have the opportunity to work with a research supervisor in a project of your chosen field.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module,  or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the MSc Applied Genomics taught?

This programme will be delivered in a blended learning format using live interactive teaching sessions via a number of learning platforms e.g. Kaltura newrow Adobe Connect or Zoom. These sessions will be recorded so that you can return to this learning in your own time and study at your own place.  Learning may be supplemented by pre-recorded lectures, demonstration of laboratory techniques or data analysis activity where students can access the information at any point. Practical sessions will either be virtual or on campus where this is possible in light of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.  This wide range of teaching and learning approaches are used to build up your skills and knowledge.

You will take part in online problem-solving discussions, critical debates and exercises, online workshops, and in-class activities. You will supplement all this with your own guided and independent reading. The mix of delivery modes will be varied and suitable to the content being delivered.

The programme has a strong practical element, with an emphasis on developing the skills needed in a laboratory/computational/analytical setting and in gaining hands-on experience of genomic techniques.  Access to on campus activity is subject to ongoing and further Covid-19 restrictions and virtual laboratories, data analysis and pre-recorded lab and practice demonstrations will be used to facilitate your learning. Group work is prominent in many modules and there will be opportunities to discuss and explore work with peers, academics and the technical team.

Middlesex is committed to equipping and accommodating learners fully online where they cannot reach campus, and where a second lockdown is in place. In such event, the fully online scenario will be in place to provide and support students’ learning.

As part of the programme, you will perform an individual research project. Potential topics are diverse and previous works in the department have been on:

  • The evolution and spread of antibiotics resistance in microbial communities
  • Epigenetics in osteosarcoma metastasis and chemoresistance
  • Molecular genetics of biofilm formation and the role of biofilms in infectious disease
  • Genomics of mycoremediation (bioremediation by fungi)
  • Metabarcoding based biodiversity assessment of uncharacterized communities
  • Genome evolution in ungulates
  • The evolutionary genomics of wing-pattern diversity in butterflies
  • Genomics of pesticide resistance in economically relevant fish parasites.



Assessment is diverse and includes portfolio-work, writing a scientific paper, analysing genomic data, preparing a poster and presenting results. Additionally, you will submit a dissertation on your major research project and undertake a viva related to the work.

The project will be supervised by a member of academic staff, but you are strongly encouraged to work with external partner institutions in the UK or overseas (subject to the appropriate risk assessment). In this case, you may also have a mentor based at the external institution.

Teaching and learning

Changes for students in 2020

If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some small group sessions on campus, with other interactive teaching as well as larger lectures delivered online and recorded sessions available to you on-demand. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes and make arrangements for any face to face sessions (for example, in some cases these could take place every two weeks with an increased number of hours), the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario 1: course delivered fully online


Live learning

Contact time per week, per level:

10.5 hours


Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week, per level:

34.5 hours


On demand resources

Average hours per week, per level:

0.3 hours

Scenario 2: course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place


Live learning

Contact time per week, per level:

12 hours


Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week, per level:

33 hours


On demand resources

Average hours per week, per level:

0.3 hours


Face-to-face sessions

Contact time per week, per level:

10 days of laboratory practical work.
Additional days for laboratory-based dissertation.

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover everything you’ll do with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, and we’ll schedule all of this for you. This might include some study outside your regular timetable, like taking part in discussion forums or online blogs where you’re supported by academic staff.
  • Independent learning – Independent learning is all the studying you’ll do outside your live learning sessions with teaching staff. This self-paced study will give you the chance to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time as you need to, and you’ll have access to on-demand resources and materials to help you do your best.
    • Self-paced study – Self-paced study will give you the chance to learn wherever and whenever you want to and at your own pace, outside your live learning sessions. This independent learning could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework along with access to other online activities such as quizzes.
    • On-demand resources – You'll have access to on-demand resources like pre-recorded video lectures and workshops as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review and revisit whenever you need to at your own pace.
  • Face to face sessions – Wherever it’s possible to do so, and we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure your safety, you’ll be able to attend scheduled sessions, workshops or appointments on campus as part of your live learning. The number of hours given in this scenario provides an indication of the number of hours of face to face learning you could expect, and a full timetable will be provided to you before the start of your course.


You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will mainly be delivered online and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MSc Applied Genomics support your career?

This course encompasses several real-life research projects that will prepare you for your dissertation and for the job market. These projects will be of clinical, forensics or ecological relevance. You will gain hands-on experience via the generation of genomics datasets, research planning and laboratory management, bioinformatics analyses and reporting.

Upon graduation, you will be able to move into a variety of careers such as Plant Breeder, Molecular Geneticist, DNA-Based Ecological Assessment, Molecular Diagnostics, Bioinformatician or progress into academic research.

Dr Martijn Timmermans
Senior lecturer

Dr Timmermans’ research aims to link the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity to changes in genomes. He uses insects as model organisms to gain understanding of the genetics underlying phenotypic divergence.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation in Action MSc/PGDip

Start: 13 September 2021

Duration: 1 year full-time

Code: PGC180

Medical Genomics MSc

Start: October 2021

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGC451

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