Molecular Biology Human Genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics

​​Education - Human Genetics

Are you interested in human molecular genetics?

Then consider the following postgraduate degrees:

  • Hons BSc (Human Genetics - 1 year
  • M.Sc (Human Genetics) - 2 years
  • PhD in Human Genetics - 3 to 4 years

These courses are all offered at the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Tygerberg Campus.

We offer research projects in the following fields:

Genetics of Parkinson's disease

Dr Soraya Bardien     021 938 9681

We are the only research group in South Africa working on the genetic basis of Parkinson's disease in the various sub-population groups and we are part of an international consortium called GEO-PD. In the last decade this relatively common neurodegenerative disorder has been shown to have a significant genetic component and at least six causative genes have been identified. The aim of our research is to identify the genetic causes of Parkinson's disease in South African patients. Identification of these mutations will facilitate improved clinical management of the family members and provide the option of pre-symptomatic genetic testing.

Genetics of anxiety disorders

Dr Sian Hemmings      (021) 938 9695

Our research involves investigating the genetics basis of a number of anxiety disorders, with a focus on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Although a large proportion of individuals are exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, only a minority develop PTSD. This has generated a large amount of interest in identifying not only the risk factors involved in the development of the disorder, but also the factors that confer resiliency against developing PTSD. We currently have a number of molecular research projects in order to identify these risk and resiliency factors, including genetic case-control association, gene expression and epigenetic projects. The data generated by our group, and many others around the world, looks promising, and may eventually allow us to create a profile of biological markers that can aid diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.


Genetics of Human Susceptibility to Tuberculosis

Prof Eileen Hoal          (021) 938 9412
Our research group is investigating the genetic causes of susceptibility of some individuals and populations to Tuberculosis. Association studies on our existing DNA bank will involve genotyping and investigation of polymorphisms in promising candidate genes and, in some cases, following up on functional aspects.

Click here to download postgraduate opportunities as a PDF document.

Please contact the relevant project leader if you are interested in applying for M.Sc or PhD.

Hons B.Sc (Human Genetics)

This course is done over a period of ONE year (full time) or (under exceptional circumstances) TWO years (part time).

Course outline:

The course usually starts the first week in February and entails the following:

  • A 6-week molecular biology techniques course
  • You will attend lectures to cover course several modules that will be presented during the first semester
  • You will write a literature review on a topic related to your research project
  • You will be involved in a laboratory research project (for 6 months)
  • You will also be required to attend weekly seminars, departmental meetings and laboratory meetings.


There are three examinations:

  1. May and July: Theory papers
  2. October/November: Article analysis paper.

The following components will count towards your final marks:
Theory: Literature review, two written exams
Project: Project report, oral presentation on project, project leader's assessment, article analysis

Both modules (theory and project) must be passed with a minimum of 50% to pass the course.

Please contact the course co-ordinator, Dr Marlo Möller, if you are interested for more information on the BSc(Hons) degree:

Email: ; Tel: (021) 938 9694


Work opportunities:

Our BSc (Hons) degree will equip you with various skills in molecular biology for a wide range of positions or job options including:

  1. Research assistant
  2. Diagnostic laboratory assistant
  3. Rep for pharmaceutical companies
  4. MSc in any related molecular biology discipline
  5. Teaching/ Junior lecturing position