Molecular Biology Human Genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Mol​ecular Biology and Huma​​n Gene​​tics​​ ​



This programme will equip you with both a theoretical and practical background in the basic concepts of molecular biology and human genetics. It comprises lectures, tutorials, assignments, journal article analytical discussions, writing of a project proposal, participation in a six-month research project, a research report, an oral research presentation and written examinations. ​

Programme Details

Duration: One calendar year on a full-time basis

Programme content:  

Molecular Biology and Human Genetics Theory 751 (45)

Molecular Biology and Human Genetics Project 775 (75)

Important notice: Prospective students interested in doing a Human Genetics project within the MBHG Division should apply for BSc Honours (Molecular Biology) and notify Dr Jennifer Jackson ( ​​​that they are interested in the Human Genetics track. 

Those that are interested in a Human Genetics project in the Department of Genetics at Stellenbosch campus (i.e. not in our division based at Tygerberg campus)​ should please contact Dr Nathaniel McGregor ( for further information.​​

Programme Structure:

Foundational sub-modules (compulsory): This section includes a laboratory techniques course which runs concurrently with, and complements the theoretical components.

  • Basic Laboratory Practice
  • Molecular Biology (Genomes, chromosomes & gene expression; Methods in functional studies)
  • Immunology (Innate and adaptive immune systems and their roles in pathology; Development of diagnostic tests)
  • Biostatistics & Study Design (Applied statistics focusing on a non-mathematical, conceptual, resampling-based approach)
  • Bioinformatics (Computational processing and analysis of genetic and proteomic data)

Advanced sub-modules (elective): One of these is selected in association with the student's research project. The student will acquire a deeper level of insight into a specific field and will be equipped for further studies and a career in science.

  • Human Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Mycobacteriology

Research Project: a six-month research project resulting in a written research report and an oral research presentation.

Assessment and examination

  • Students are required to pass both modules with a minimum of 50% to earn the applicable credits.
  • If you do not pass the theory module with a minimum of 50% after the second opportunity, you will not be permitted to continue with the research project.
  • Assessment opportunities include:
    • written examinations and coursework for each of the theory sub-modules.
    • a project proposal, research report, research presentation, supervisor's report and written examination for the project module.
  • The calculation of the final mark is subject to the “Provisions Relating to Examinations and Promotion" set forth under the chapter “University Examinations" in Part 1 (General) of the Calendar.


Programme outcomes

On completion of this programme, the student will:

  • Understand concepts, research methodologies and techniques relevant to Molecular Biology and Human Genetics and apply this knowledge to answer a research question.
  • Competently perform basic molecular biology procedures and use these skills to conduct research to answer a defined question.
  • Appreciate the complexities and limitations of current molecular biology techniques and use this knowledge to inform experimental design.
  • Be equipped to analyse and critique scientific literature to identify current knowledge and inform experimental design.
  • Have developed their initiative to acquire new knowledge and understanding and to generate strategies for solving research problems.
  • Understand basic statistical concepts and methods and be able to apply this knowledge appropriately to the analysis of data.
  • Be able to effectively communicate scientific concepts and research methods and results via oral and written presentations.


Admission and Selection requirements

An average final mark of at least 60% in one of the following qualifications from a recognized tertiary training institution:

  • A bachelor's degree in science with a major in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Physiology, Zoology, Biotechnology, Physical or Mathematical Sciences; Or
  • A BTech or equivalent qualification from a recognized institution for tertiary education, provided that you have passed a preliminary examination that:
    1. Was conducted according to clearly defined criteria stipulated by the Faculty Board in order to ensure an adequate scientific standard;
    2. Was designed to assess your theoretical background and scientific maturity; and
    3. Was conducted by the head of the department/division as convenor in which the intended postgraduate studies are envisaged, or by his/her delegate, together with at least one other expert in the relevant field of study who has been nominated by the Dean.
    4. You will be considered on merit by the Committee for Postgraduate Education on the basis of a curriculum vitae and a written recommendation by the Preliminary Examination Committee.​

You may be admitted with an average final mark of less than 60% for the BSc at third-year level based on:

  • An adequate motivation and/or;
  • Successful completion of additional work, and proof of competence. 

Important Notice: Submitting your completed application form and meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee admission.​​

Any course queries regarding the BSc Honours programme can be sent to​
Dr Jennifer Jackson
BSc Honours Programme Coordinator​​​​