Geneticist working with microplate

How to become a geneticist

Find out what you need to know to work in genomics and precision medicine
Genomics and precision medicine is a discipline that impacts all areas of healthcare, research, and medicine. We can help you to gain the experience and qualifications to work in this in-demand field.

1. Start with a science or medical degree

The journey to working in genomics and precision medicine begins with a university education. You’ll first need to gain a Bachelor of Science or a Doctor of Medicine* degree.

The Doctor of Medicine can also be taken as part of a combined degree in the Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine, or Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine.

2. Take the next step with a postgraduate degree

Once you have your medical or science degree, you can upskill in genomics and precision medicine through our range of postgraduate programs. These courses are taught by Australian leaders in the fields of clinical genetics, laboratory genomics and precision medicine.

If you have a Bachelor of Science

We offer a:

If you have a Doctor of Medicine

You could choose to undertake a:

Many people are drawn to the field of medicine because they have a deep passion for helping others and improving people's health and wellbeing.

The principles of medical genetics and genomics, inborn errors of metabolism, newborn screening and genetic therapies are included as part of your studies in the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Sydney.

Due to the increasing relevance of genomics in every area of medicine, many non-genetics specialists are also seeking upskilling in genetics through one or more units of study in our Genomics and Precision Medicine coursework program.  

There’s also the option of delving further into the field of genomics and precision medicine through a research degree such as a Master of Philosophy or a Doctor of Philosophy.

There is a range of research areas that you could contribute to including genomics of rare diseases, gene therapies and precision medicine, cancer genomics, as well as many genomic and precision medicine areas across basic science and medical subspecialties. 

3. Specialise**

To work as a Clinical Geneticist in Australia you will need to complete specialist qualifications in Clinical Genetics after medical school, as part of physician training (either adult or paediatrics), with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).

After completing the RACP Basic Physician Training (BPT), including the RACP written and clinical examinations, RACP trainees can apply for advanced training in Clinical Genetics. One of the units of study in our Genomics and Precision Medicine coursework program is approved as the University coursework component of advanced training in Clinical Genetics.

4. Start your new career

Being a geneticist is a rewarding career that may enable you to contribute to discoveries that can have profound implications for both medicine and science.

Clinical Geneticists (who come from a medical background) specialise in the field of genetics, and are increasingly involved in gene therapies and management of genetic conditions.

Laboratory Geneticists (who come from a science background) including diagnostic molecular scientists and researchers, play a crucial role in understanding the genetic basis of various biological processes, diseases, and traits, and furthering the field of genomic diagnostics and precision medicine research.

Geneticists have a wide range of career options. They can work in academia, research institutions, hospitals, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies.

*The Doctor of Medicine (MD) replaced the University of Sydney’s previously offered Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 2014. Graduates of the MBBS also meet the requirements to undertake our postgraduate coursework degrees in Genomics and Precision Medicine.

**Specialising in Clinical Genetics requires prior study in medicine.

19 December 2023

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