A genetics degree can lead to a career in scientific research or industry, as well as help you develop skills that can be used in a range of alternative jobs

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Practical experience gained through work shadowing and placements in the laboratory or field may increase your chances of finding genetics-related work. It's also useful to build up knowledge of the range of techniques used in the area. Some courses provide the opportunity for a year out in industry or with a research institute, or some form of shorter work placement either in the UK or abroad.

It's a good idea to gain some experience within industry as well as academia so you can compare the two and decide which you prefer. Temporary work within a healthcare environment, for example in a hospital, may also prove useful in helping you explore career ideas.

You might decide to do some volunteering with organisations that specialise in researching genetic conditions or supporting people with inherited disorders.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Many careers relating to genetics are based in the health services, so employers tend to be hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities.

However, opportunities within food and drink companies, the health and beauty care industry, biotechnology and research and consultancy companies are also available. The government-sponsored research councils have laboratories that recruit scientists, but you'll usually need a higher degree.

You may want to consider opportunities in industries related to biological sciences, such as biotechnology, biomedical research, agricultural and horticultural, conservation and environmental assessment. It's also possible to use your skills in unrelated fields like teaching, business, finance and retail.

Find information on employers in healthcare, science and pharmaceuticals, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying genetics provides you with specialist subject knowledge, as well as skills in biological research and laboratory practice, which is essential if you intend to pursue a career in a genetics-related job.

However, you also develop more general practical and technical skills such as:

  • analysis and interpretation of masses of scientific data
  • logical thinking, numeracy and computing skills
  • awareness of current issues and ethical debates
  • communication skills including report writing and making presentations
  • time management
  • problem solving
  • self-reliance and initiative
  • business awareness
  • team work and strong interpersonal skills.

Further study

Many genetics-related employers value postgraduate study and the technical skills you develop to a higher level. It's particularly useful for jobs in research, but also helps with other transferable skills such as critical analysis and report writing.

There are many options at postgraduate level to enhance the knowledge gained in your first degree. Some subjects are directly related, such as medical and molecular genetics, while others derive from genetics, like immunology and pharmacology.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search for postgraduate courses in genetics.

What do genetics graduates do?

Just over two-fifths of genetics graduates are in employment in the UK six months after graduation, with almost half going on to further study or a combination of work and study. Graduates use the transferable skills gained from their degree to enter a wide variety of professions, with just under a third entering science-related professions.

DestinationPercentage
Employed41.7
Further study42.8
Working and studying6.1
Unemployed4.9
Other4.5
Graduate destinations for genetics
Type of workPercentage
Science professionals17.7
Retail, catering and bar work14.5
Technicians and other professionals13.4
Business, HR and financial9.0
Other45.4
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other science graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.