Skip to main content

UCC Undergraduate courses


Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesEU Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138. See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 509
CAO Points Range2023: 509-613

Course Outline

Genetics is fundamental to all areas of biological study, as genes carry the information which largely determines what we are and how we function in the environment.

The BSc Genetics will teach you to understand how genes work in individuals and populations, and how this genetic information is passed from one generation to the next. Our Genetics programme places particular emphasis on the molecular basis of genetics, and our graduates will obtain a strong foundation in modern genetics. We also cover a wide range of topics such as classical medical genetics, evolutionary and population genetics, animal breeding, and the genetic manipulation of animal and plant genomes.

In Year 1 you will focus on foundation knowledge for Genetics, including how genes work in individuals and populations and how cutting-edge programmes such as the Human Genome Project are revolutionising the way we tackle biological questions.

Year 2 is designed to provide fundamental background knowledge in preparation for the specialisation in Genetics in Years 3 and 4.

Year 4 also includes a three-month project in the laboratory, during which time you will receive training in the use of genetic approaches to solving a contemporary question or problem in biology. These projects are based in the departments that contribute to the Genetics course.

Year 1 Modules

  • BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease (5 credits)
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BT1001 Introduction to Biotechnology (5 credits)
  • CM1200 Fundamentals of Modern Chemistry Part 1 (10 credits)
  • GN1001 Principles and Methods in Genetics (10 credits)
  • MB1003 Microbiology in Society (5 credits)
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part 1 (5 credits)
  • MA1002 Calculus for Science Part 2 (5 credits)
  • PY1010 Physics for Biological and Chemical Sciences (10 credits)  

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • You can expect 288 lecture hours per year. This may include directed study/reading hours, depending on the module. 
  • Lectures and practicals are conducted between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
  • There is also 216 hours of lab/tutorial/practical work per year.
  • In your final year, you wil undertake a three-month project in the laboratory, during which you receive training in the use of genetic approaches to solving a contemporary question or problem in biology. These projects are based in the research labs that contribute to the Genetics course and include: Biochemistry and Cell Biology; Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Medicine; Microbiology, and Pathology. 
  • This is a multidisciplinary course and includes lecturing staff from a number of different departments in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science and project supervisors from the College of Medicine and Health.
  • This course comprises small classes of approximately 25 students.

Why Choose This Course

After I graduated from UCC, I completed my MSc in Genetic Counselling. I currently work in Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and General Genetics.

Audrey Dearing, Graduate

Learn More

This is a multidisciplinary course and includes academic staff from a number of different departments in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS) and project supervisors from the College of Medicine and Health. This approach will consolidate your knowledge of modern genetics and open a huge number of doors across the science sector.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

As a Genetics student you will have the opportunity to take an optional Microbiology Work Placement module (MB3019) after your second-year examinations.  You will also have the opportunity to take a Work Placement module (BC4021) after your third-year examinations. This placement provides students with exposure to, and experience in, a professional environment relevant to their degree for a period of at least four weeks (and preferably eight weeks). Placement is directed by a workplace manager and/or academic supervisor and students submit a placement report of 1,500 words.

Study Abroad

There are some options for students to spend part, or all, of third year abroad through the Erasmus programme.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options 

As a graduate, you will be eligible to compete for entry into MSc and PhD programmes, in Ireland and overseas, in many disciplines including biochemistry, ecology, medical genetics, medicine, microbiology, neuroscience, plant science, and zoology. Relevant postgraduate programmes at UCC include:

Phd programmes include: PhD Biochemistry, PhD Genetics, PhD Medicine, PhD Microbiology and the Graduate Entry Medicine programme.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the BSc in Genetics are versatile and multi-skilled graduates. You will graduate from this course with a strong foundation in modern genetics, molecular biology, and functional genomics. The practical applications of these disciplines include: animal breeding, biotechnology, forensics, genetic counselling, and medical genetics, making you an attractive candidate for a variety of careers. This course will also equip you with the skills to pursue careers in the pharmaceutical industry, molecular diagnostics, medical research, science journalism, and teaching. Recent graduates work in a variety of jobs including: research scientist, research assistant, laboratory technician, technical writer, quality control analyst, and medical laboratory analyst. 

The following companies have recently recruited students from the course:

  • Abtran
  • Advertising Standards Authority
  • Anulab CUM
  • Biosciences Institute
  • Clonakilty Community Hospital
  • Education and Research Center
  • Eirx Therapeutics
  • Human Genetics Division, University of Southampton
  • Kerry Ingredients
  • Kostal
  • Lavanagh Centre
  • Millipore
  • NASA Space Station
  • Nottingham Hospital
  • Quintiles
  • Science Recruitment Ireland
  • University College Cork
  • University of Texas
  • Vistakon Limerick
  • Wyeth Biopharma

Graduates have also been successful in securing a broad range of graduate courses in related and non-related areas including accounting, tax, and human resources.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab Science
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 H4 in Biology

Students presenting with 2016 (or previous) Leaving Certificate must present with an HC2 in Biology (meets the Laboratory Science requirement).

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Applicants must have studied Biology at second level or QQI FET or demonstrate involvement with Science related areas.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact