Now both lab genetic

Genetics degree entry requirements

A good honours degree is required and relevant subjects include life and medical sciences and agricultural and horticultural sciences. In particular, the following degree subjects are helpful:

  • agriculture;
  • biology;
  • biotechnology;
  • botany and plant science;
  • crop and plant science;
  • genetics;
  • horticulture;
  • molecular biology.

A postgraduate qualification in a relevant topic can be advantageous.

Entry with a HND is only possible for technical support roles in breeding programmes. It may be possible to work your way up from here to the role of plant breeder/geneticist, if further qualifications are studied for.

Relevant pre-entry experience will increase your chances, e.g. vacation work or a sandwich placement in a plant breeding company/laboratory or agricultural setting. Most companies take students over the summer, especially during harvesting. Posts are usually advertised on individual company websites.

Undertaking a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate project or choosing a PhD funded by industry will make you more competitive during the application process. It will also be a way to gain useful contacts that could lead to employment opportunities.

Candidates need to show evidence of the following:

  • enthusiasm, commitment and a strong interest in plants and plant science;
  • good problem-solving skills;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • the ability to carry out work independently and with patience;
  • a flexible approach;
  • the ability and stamina to undertake research and long-term projects;
  • the skills to manage a busy laboratory;
  • strong team-working skills;
  • an analytical and investigative mind;
  • computer literacy and technical skills, as most laboratories are highly computerised.

Some posts may require a driving licence.

You should research the industry to determine which area you would like to work in. You will need to consider which areas are likely to be most commercially in demand in the future.

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