The Science: Human Genetics and Health Issues programme offered by the Open University UK deals with a subject of importance to us all – our genes, which is an area at the forefront of developments in medical science. 


By studying the Science: Human Genetics and Health Issues programme offered by the Open University UK, you’ll examine the patterns of inheritance of genes, how genes function and why there are differences between individuals and between populations. Science: human genetics and health issues is one of a series of 100-hour flexible online courses introducing fascinating topics in science. It allows you to learn about this topic just for interest and enables you to try out a new area of study before you commit yourself to further study. You can register and begin this course at any time and will have at least 6 months to complete it.

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

By the end of this course you should be able to:

Demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts and principles relating to human genetics, including the relevant health issues and human biology. In particular:

  • the patterns of inheritance of genes and characters
  • how the interactions between genes and environment affect characters
  • the structure and function of genes: DNA to RNA to protein
  • the relationships between gene structure, gene function and characters
  • the process of genetic change, and the factors that cause cancer
  • the sequence and content of the human genome
  • the factors that influence the distribution of gene variants around the world
  • the medical, social and ethical issues arising from knowledge of our genes.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date A student can apply at any time for this programme, there is no deadline.
  • Programme intensity Full-time
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
  • More information Go to the programme website

Programme Structure

  • The course examines: the patterns of inheritance of genes, including those associated with genetic diseases; the sequence and content of the human genome; how genes function; how the physical and biochemical characteristics of the body are produced; and why there are differences between individuals and between populations.
  • It explores some of the issues surrounding research into genes, from biological, medical and ethical points of view: for example, how knowledge of our genes has the potential to revolutionise our ability to change the genetic fates of individuals. 

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

Academic Requirements

  • You need little more than an interest in biology (and genetics in particular) and debates in health and the motivation to discover more about these topics.
  • You should be able to read and understand written English of a style and complexity characteristic of a professional magazine or quality newspaper. Mathematically you need only to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers. The structured teaching introduces simple fractions, ratios, percentages and probability.
  • You can study at your own pace and attempt the online quiz at any time before the end date for the course. Information about the end date is available when you register and will be at least six months after registration.

Tuition Fee

  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of  .
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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