module specification

BC6055 - Medical Genetics (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Medical Genetics
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
117 hours Guided independent study
33 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Problem-solving exercise (1000 words)
Coursework 50%   Practical Report (1000 words)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

Description: This module builds on the knowledge and understanding developed at level 4, through the module Cell and Molecular Biology. It will also be underpinned by topics covered in the module entitled “Molecular Biology”. In this module specific diseases will be used to illustrate genotype/phenotype relationships. The module will address the application of current knowledge to clinical practice in the NHS and will examine how a family with affected offspring, would be counselled.
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The module aims to help students develop their understanding of genetic mutations and how they relate to human disease. It will enable students to relate disease phenotype to mutations in gene products or aberrations in gene expression. The module develops an understanding of how human biology has been enriched through the huge increase of genetic data now available. The lectures and practicals enable students to appreciate how these data have allowed the development of novel therapeutic strategies, predictive testing and illustrate how an affected family may be counselled with respect to their inherited condition, in the UK NHS. This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and, the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Prior learning requirements



The Human genome; gene structure and function. Review of Mendelian principles:  complications of Mendelian inheritance, epigenetics. Chromosomal basis of disease: Karyotyping and clinical cytogenetics.
Haemoglobinopathies; biochemical genetics; multifactorial inheritance of complex disorders; cancer genetics
Predictive testing, preimplantation diagnosis, modern gene therapy and genetic counselling.
PID and epigenetics LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of medical genetics through a variety of teacher led activities and self-directed study. Tutor led activities will include traditional and interactive lectures, problem solving tutorials and laboratory practical classes. Theoretical and practical problems will be employed to assist students in the development of their analytical and problem solving capabilities. Students' ability to handle and interpret information will be encouraged through laboratory practical and reading of additional literature on the subject, video material and other learning resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1.  Evaluate the  genetic basis of a range of hereditary diseases;
2.  Critically evaluate how changes in gene structure or expression cause disease phenotype, with
named examples;  
3. Assess how understanding of genetic diseases has been advanced through research including the use of animal models and has informed the development of gene therapy;
4. Appraise the application of predictive genetic testing and genetic counselling in a UK NHS setting;
5. Evaluate the application of commonly used laboratory techniques to the detection of selected genetic diseases.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by the completion of a practical report and by a problem solving exercise. To pass the module students must achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.


Fletcher H.L., Hickey G.I. and Winter P.C. (2006) Instant Notes in Genetics (3rd edit).
Jorde L.B., Carey J.C. and Bamshad M.J. (2015).  Medical Genetics (5th edit). Mosby.
Read A. and Donnai D. (2010) New Clinical Genetics (2nd edit). Scion.
Tobias E S., Connor M and Ferguson Smith M (2011) Essential Medical Genetics. (6th edit.) Wiley Blackwell.
Turnpenny P and Ellard S MD (2017) Emery’s Elements of Medical Genetics. (15th edit.) Churchhill Livingstone.
Young I.D. (2010). Medical Genetics. (1st edit.) Oxford University Press.