School of Biotechnology

Genetics and Cell Biology

Genetics and Cell Biology
CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
Minimum Points
Four Years
+353 (0) 1
700 5708
Programme PDF

Discoveries in genetics and cell biology are opening up a new era of understanding, both of ourselves and the world around us. Genetics give us insight into what contributes to our development and individuality, and when this knowledge is combined with cell biology, we can explore exciting scientific applications benefiting all of society.

Our improved understanding of the genetic basis for life has opened up approaches to the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of disease. As a consequence, we’re making unprecedented advances in the creation of medical diagnostics, therapies and therapeutics.

The Genetics and Cell Biology course provides you with theoretical and practical resources for a career in the healthcare industry. You’ll enhance your biology expertise and learn the laboratory skills that are the foundation for major, modern scientific breakthroughs that affect society.

The first year of the course is taken in common with other science courses, so you will be studying biology, chemistry, physics, biostatistics and computing.

In Year Two, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of genetics, the biochemistry of the cell and microbiology. You’ll also be introduced to pharmacology and instrumentation.

In the first semester of Year Three, you’ll gain the practical skills and techniques that form the basis of cell and gene technologies. These include gene cloning and bioinformatics (the application of computing in genetic analysis). With this knowledge, you’ll be well prepared for your six-month work experience placement (INTRA).

In the final year, you’ll explore the advances arising from research in genetics and cell biology as well as medical products and the healthcare industry. A significant research project must also be completed.


View the current course structure

For more information on every aspect of studying at DCU visit our CAO Hub where you can listen to taster lectures, hear from our student ambassadors and find answers to frequently asked questions.

We have a unique and vibrant culture on our modern campus close to Dublin city centre. We provide state-of-the-art study facilities for all our courses and everything else you need for a healthy, fun and active student life.

Exceptional Facilities

DCU students enjoy exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our 3 academic campuses. These include modern learning theatres, research centres, television and sound studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced laboratories in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and a virtual hospital ward.

A Vibrant, Dynamic Social Environment

Student facilities include a superb sports complex with a 25 metre pool, two libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre. In 2016 we announced plans to invest over €230m in developing new, world-class facilities across our three academic campuses. Already building has begun on an exciting, new €14m Student Centre that will be home to the more than one hundred and twenty student clubs and societies. This commitment to student facilities means that our world-class learning experiences are complemented by a vibrant, dynamic social environment.


This degree equipped me with all the knowledge I needed to know regarding DNA, protein structures and amino acid sequences for me to enter the Biopharm industry with great confidence in myself. I also enjoyed the clinical aspect of the course, learning a great deal about diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and ongoing stem cell research.

Robert Hickey

Career Prospects
Molecular and cellular biology
Medical Therapeutics
Healthcare Device Production
Veterinary Diagnostics
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Research and Development


The expansion in the industrial healthcare sector means that there is a huge demand for a workforce that is equipped with scientific knowledge, particularly in molecular and cellular biology. Your skills in research and development and your ability to undertake management and operational roles in the production of healthcare products will be invaluable to employers.

You will find employment in the many Irish industries that produce medical therapeutics, diagnostics and healthcare devices. Moreover, in recent years there has been significant growth in the production of medical and veterinary diagnostics and vaccines as well as the manufacture of medical devices.

Advances in genetics and cell biology have the potential to transform medical science and to make a significant contribution to improving the quality of life. This degree is the perfect starting point for a career in this area.



Leaving Cert

In addition to the general entry requirements for admission to the university the following entry requirements apply:

Minimum of O3 or H6 in Mathematics and minimum of O3 or H5 in one of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics with Chemistry, Agricultural Science or Computer Science

GCE A Level

In addition to the general entry requirements for admission to the university the following entry requirements apply

GCE A Level D or GCE AS Level C or GCSE B Mathematics and GCE A Level D or GCE AS Level C or GCSE B in one of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics with Chemistry or Agricultural Science

FET Level 5

For details of QQI requirements and relevant codes please click here. Simply enter the DC code for the programme you are interested in or if you are not sure of the code enter DC in the Select by Institution option, then click on Go. 

EU Transfer Applications

Holders of Higher Certificate/National Certificates or Bachelor (Ordinary) Degree/National Diplomas with Merit or Distinction may be admitted into second year if the relevant Programme Boards are satisfied that the candidate has achieved an appropriate standard in the major subjects covered in Year One. Direct entry into third year is possible for well-motivated students holding a distinction at Diploma level in a related discipline. Please apply directly to DCU using the R10 form. Closing date for applications 1st July.

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here


Full time

Student Contribution
€3,043 per annum
EU Status Fee
€6,679 per annum
Non EU Fee
€15,000 per annum

Next Steps

Mature Applicants

All mature applicants apply through the CAO by 1st February. For further information and for special application procedures for mature students, please click here

Applicants presenting EU school Leaving Examinations

Applicants presenting EU School Leaving/FETAC Level 5 examinations: Apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February or 1st May

Applicants presenting examinations from outside the EU

Candidates should apply directly to DCU. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis up to 1st July. All Non-EU candidates are advised to apply early, as places are limited.

EU Transfer Applicants

Apply directly to DCU by the 1st July

Make an Application

Candidates required to apply through the CAO can apply online at
Candidates required to apply directly to DCU can download, print and complete a direct application form R10 by clicking here