Job Description:

Geneticists study genes, which contain the information controlling what a living organism is like.

Job Category:
Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences

What you will do:

Geneticists use the information in genes to make discoveries and developments in a range of areas like medicine and agriculture. Depending on the area you work in, your role could include:

  • developing disease and drought-resistant crops
  • finding and recording disease-causing genes
  • using genes to chart animal populations and conserve wildlife
  • researching and developing new drugs and gene therapies
  • using genetics in archaeology
  • teaching students about genetics in a university
  • diagnosing genetic diseases

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • using laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse samples of genetic tissue
  • recording and interpreting the results of experiments and tests
  • using data and statistics to develop computer models of genes
  • writing reports for other professionals
  • reporting and publishing your findings in scientific papers
  • planning lectures and teaching students
  • supervising, training and mentoring other laboratory staff (Leadership Skills)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to read English
  • the ability to work with statistics and relevant computer packages

As well as:

  • practical scientific skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (Organisational Skills)
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to think clearly and logically
  • problem-solving skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You’ll usually need a degree or a postgraduate master’s qualification in genetics or a related course which includes genetics, like biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, life sciences or biological sciences.

A PhD, or working towards a PhD would also be helpful.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You may also need to work evenings and weekends.

You’ll spend a lot of time in a laboratory using scientific instruments like microscopes. You may also spend a lot of time working at a computer.

In a laboratory, you’ll be expected to wear protective clothing, like a laboratory coat and safety glasses.

Career Path & Progression:

As a research geneticist, with experience, you may be able to work your way up to laboratory supervisor or clinical study manager. Lecturing in a university or teaching may also be an option. You could move into scientific sales or, with further studies, qualify as a genetic counsellor.