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Science - Human Genetics and Health Issues, Short Course

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 6 months
University rank #501 (WUR) Online
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. You’ll examine the patterns of inheritance of genes, how genes function and why there are differences between individuals and between populations.


The Science - Human Genetics and Health Issues programme offered by the Open University UK 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.

The characters, including our appearance, depend on the functions of genes. Genes also contribute to a person’s behaviour and health, including susceptibility to certain diseases, such as heart disease. 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. 

Finally, 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. The course will equip you with sufficient background to understand these issues and to engage with discussions presented in newspapers and popular scientific journals. As well as some of the biology of genes, you will learn biology that you can apply to other situations. You will also engage with key issues of concern to health professionals.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date A student can apply at any time for this programme, there is no deadline.
  • Programme intensity Part-time
    • Average part-time duration 6 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

  • If you are a beginner in biology, you will find that the course introduces new ideas, concepts and scientific and study skills as they are needed, and you will progressively develop these skills and your understanding through structured questions and activities. 
  • If you have already done some biology at school, college or elsewhere, you will find that the course extends your knowledge about our genes and the biological, medical and ethical issues behind research on genes.

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

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

  • International

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of 6 months.
  • EU/EEA

    165 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 165 GBP for the full programme and a duration of 6 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


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