MSc in Genetic Diagnostics

A brief description about the course:

This course is a course conducted jointly by the Human Genetics Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and the Institute of Medical Genetics University of Oslo, Norway. The degree will be awarded by the University of Colombo.

This course aims to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes required by medical and science graduates to deliver the latest genetic diagnostics services.

By the end of this course students must have the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes that would enable them to have a working knowledge of:

  • Molecular technologies including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR, reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR), allele-specific PCR (AS-PCR), restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), multiplex ligation-dependant probe amplification (MLPA), conventional and next generation sequencing, and array based DNA technologies.
  • Cytogenetics including terminology, karyotyping, fluorescence in situ  hybridization (FISH) and array comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH).
  • Clinical applications of cytogenetics such as prenatal diagnosis, identification of congenital abnormalities, and diagnosis and monitoring of malignancy.
  • Interpretation of molecular and cytogenetic data from clinical cases and compose diagnostic reports, in correlation with clinical, morphologic, and other findings.
  • Bioinformatics.
  • Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics.
  • Quality assurance, assay validation, ethics, regulatory issues, professionalism, and lab administration.


2 years full time

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should have a MBBS or equivalent degree registered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

Foreign applicants should have a MBBS or equivalent degree registered with the Medical Council of the country of residence of the applicant.

B.Sc. in a Biomedical Sciences Subject or equivalent degree

Course structure and contents:

The course structure and subject areas are as follows:

Semester 1: Core Modules

Module 1: Cytogenetics [10 credit course]

Module 2 : Molecular Genetics [10 credit course]

Module 3: Special Topics [5 credit course]

Module 4: Introduction to Research Methods [5 credit course]

Semester 2:  Molecular Diagnostics Modules

Module 5b: Bioinformatics [10 credit course]

Module 6B: Diagnostic Methods [10 credit course]

Module 7A:  Hands on experience attached to a genetic diagnostics laboratory [10 credit course]

Semester 3 and 4: Research [60 credits] 

Module 8:  Research project, dissertation writing, and defense of the dissertation.


The assessments would consist of written and practical assessments in module 1 to 7A and carrying out a research project, writing a dissertation and defense of the dissertation at a viva.

Tuition Fees:

Rs. 300,000 + 700,000 (bench fees)

10 students will receive full scholarships to follow the course and a monthly stipend of about Rs. 30,000/-

The student who obtains the best results in the first year will receive funding to carry out the second year research project at the Institute of  Medical Genetics, University of Oslo, Norway.

Further Information:

The intake is restricted to 10 students.

Students will receive funding support under the NOMA programme of the Norwegian Centre for International Collaboration in Higher Education.

The course co-ordinator, Dr. Nirmala Sirisena can be contacted on

 How to apply:

Applications will be called in April/May every year. The Course commences on the first week of August. Information will be available on the website of the Human Genetics Unit;

Students will be selected to follow the course from applicants on the basis of their performance at a selection examination which has a written component and an interview.  The written component will contribute 75% and the interview will contribute 25% to the total mark. Students who obtain an overall mark of 50% or more will qualify for selection. The 10 studentships will be filled in the order of merit based on marks at the selection examination.

Teaching style and methods:

This is a two year full time course with classroom teaching, laboratory work and a research project.

**The first intake for this course was taken in August 2010. They graduated in August 2012. The second intake was taken in August 2012. The third intake will be taken in August 2014. Applications will be called in early 2014.