Functional Genome Biology - MRes

Start date
1 year, full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2023/24:
UK: £10,980
International: £26,040

More details for fees and funding.


Programme suspension

This programme is currently suspended and not accepting applications. Please continue to check our website for the latest information.

Genome biology is the biological science of the 21st century and has the potential to transform medicine. It is powerfully informative about how DNA and genomes are organised and controlled. An understanding of its core principles and how it responds to stresses and interventions is a requirement for future research leaders. 

This programme places you at the centre of world-leading expertise to provide a unique training experience, offering cutting-edge taught and research training in all aspects of genome biology.

As a research Masters degree, it prepares you for the next stage in a research career. Its delivery focuses on substantial hands-on, real world training to give you the employability skills you will need for PhD and industry positions.

Molecular mechanisms are at the basis of physiology, development, diseases and infections, and are key to the development of novel treatments for diseases. The programme will allow you to develop an understanding of the fundamental aspects of genome regulation, repair and replication. You will gain bioinformatics/computer-based skills that use the latest omic technologies to analyse large and complex datasets, along with lab-based interventional approaches using new technologies. You will also develop a deep knowledge and understanding of genome biology analysis and experimentation, and how this links to addressing biomedical questions. This will be complemented by a wide range of practical laboratory skills and hands-on experience of cutting-edge techniques, as well as transferable skills of time and project management, teamwork and scientific communication.

Why study this course?

  • Only programme of its kind in the UK
  • Research-driven Masters, informed by our world-leading research in genome biology
  • Teaching and assessments are centred around giving you a real world experience of being a researcher in a laboratory
  • We will offer laboratory projects to every student, government guidance permitting
  • Opportunity to participate in the Birmingham Symposium on Genome Structure and Function.


  • Genome Dynamics (20 credits)

This module aims to consider critical aspects of how genomes, particularly the human genome, are organised, regulated, maintained and copied. This module will go into the detail required to understand and study how a genome functions as a physical, dynamic package of information and the vulnerabilities that it is prone to. We will introduce students to a variety of experimental model systems and techniques used in cutting edge genome research being carried out by researchers at the University. Finally, we will encourage critical assessment of published literature and creative thinking around experimental design in genome biology. This module will build on previous learning anticipated from students’ BSc-level learning.  

  • Introduction to BioInformatics (20 credits)

This module aims to develop an understanding of how bioinformatics is at the core of modern biomedical science. It will deliver a practical grounding in how computing, maths and statistics underpin the modern analytical approaches of “Big Data” generated using 'omic technologies. The module underpins and complements the other taught modules in the programme and will provide both understanding and practical skills to students to enable them to use appropriate bioinformatics tools in their research projects, while also facilitating effective communication with bioinformaticians. 

  • Application of Genomic Approaches to Biomedical Research (20 credits)

This module aims to explore how functional genome biology informs advances in biomedicine. The module will deliver a firm grounding in the way that modern analytical approaches of Big Data generated using cutting edge ‘omic technologies have influenced advances in our understanding of human disease and its management. It will consider ‘omic technologies that can capture genetic, epigenetic, and expression changes in different biological sample types in the lab and clinic and the computational approaches utilised to process and analyse the generated data. It will also explore the types of patient cohorts and samples needed to generate the most fruitful data sets and examine how ‘omic data provides novel means to manage specific diseases risk, progression, and treatments. 

  • Research Project (120 credits)

This module provides students with an opportunity to take the knowledge acquired during the taught elements of the course in ‘Introduction to Bioinformatics’, ‘Genome approaches’ and ‘Genome Dynamics’ to develop their research skills in laboratories that use functional genomic approaches to address fundamental questions in genome biology. Therefore, projects will have both ‘wet’ lab and ‘dry’ lab elements to ensure that the students acquire a broad range of experimental skills relevant to the study of genome biology. To cater for individual student needs, exclusively ‘wet’ lab and ‘dry’ lab projects will also be offered. Projects will typically be offered in the areas of cancer genetics, developmental genetics, DNA damage, replication and segregation, translational biology, and drug development, all of which are research strengths at UoB, and all utilise omic technologies and informatics approaches for large dataset analyses. 


Annual tuition fee for 2023/24:

UK: £10,980
International: £26,040


Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

As a UK resident you can apply for a government loan for postgraduate Masters study. This is a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Loan


International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Visit our website for information about scholarships for international students.

For information about all Home and International funding opportunities please visit the Postgraduate Funding Database.

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in biomedical science, biological sciences or biochemistry.

Applicants who do not meet this requirement but who have relevant experience, may be considered. Please get in touch with us to discuss your suitability prior to applying.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of international qualifications - use the dropdown box below to select your country and see the equivalencies to the above UK requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.

If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not already meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course. If you successfully complete this, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without needing to take a further qualification.

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

International Requirements

As a student at the University of Birmingham, you will learn from world-leading academics and researchers, as well as from your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

You will also benefit from personal and welfare tutors to support both your studies and your wellbeing.

Contact hours per module:

  • Introduction to Bioinformatics: 50+ contact hours for students
  • Application of Genomic Approaches to Biomedical Research: 25+ contact hours for students
  • Genome Dynamics: 30+ contact hours for students
  • Research project: 30 week research project

Assessment Methods

Modules are assessed through essays, assignments, exams, oral presentations and computer based problem-solving.

The course is aimed at developing students into biomedical scientists with an interdisciplinary profile. 

With this wide range of skills, graduates of the programme will be well suited to careers in academic genomic research, and in the pharmaceutical and data science fields. This may include roles in oncology, genome editing, the drug development pipeline, tissue engineering and in clinical laboratories.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.