Award: 5 credits at level 3
Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: January (Semester 2)

ENVB30120 Genetics for Environmental Scientists


This module is for students in Semester 2 of the MSc, Graduate Diploma or Certificate in Environmental Sustainability (Negotiated Learning) course.

What will I study?

This module introduces students to basic aspects of genetics and their relevance to environmental studies. Topics include:

  1. DNA as inherited and functional information.
  2. DNA technology (e.g. PCR and RT-PCD, DNA manipulation methods, DNA sequencing) and its practical applications.
  3. DNA as a repository of variation among individuals and species.
  4. Interactions between environmental agents and DNA. 5. Conservation genetics and biodiversity.

How will I study?

  • Online lectures and videos
  • Self-directed study using recommended textbooks and scientific papers
  • Interviews with UCD staff members explaining the relevance of their genetic research to environmental studies.

Expected Commitment

Students are not required to attend any lectures at the UCD campus, however you are expected to take an online mid-semester MCQ exam and participate in online Discussion Boards. The expected workload during the semester is a total of 120 hours, consisting of:

  • Lectures, videos and other online learning materials: 20 -30 hours
  • Assessments and quizzes (throughout the semester): 15 hours
  • Student Autonomous Learning: 80 hours
  • Participation in Discussion Boards: 5 hours

How will I be assessed?

  • Mid-semester MCQ exam – 20 %
  • Participation in Discussion Boards – 10 %
  • Case study: review of relevant scientific article – 10 %
  • Final essay (2 500 words) – 60 %

On successful completion of this module I will be able to

  1. Understand how genetic information is decoded in living cells and how it is transmitted from one generation to the next.
  2. Understand how variation in genetic information is reflected by intra-and inter-species diversity and be familiar with concepts of natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and adaptive evolution.
  3. Get an overview of available DNA technology and molecular genetics tools and have a general understanding of how they are applied in areas relevant to environmental research.
  4. Get familiar with themes of ongoing genetic research at UCD, which are relevant to environmental studies.

Am I eligible?

Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours level degree in a science, engineering or related discipline. Otherwise, there are no pre-requisites for taking this module.