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Genetics is the study of the units of heredity known as genes.

Genetics programs include topics such as:


In genetics programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in genetics. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Few colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in genetics. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities or medical schools offer graduate degrees in genetics. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree (usually in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry), good grades, and good test scores. Good preparation in mathematics, including calculus and statistics, is important.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

A bachelor's degree program in genetics typically requires that you study courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

A graduate program in genetics typically includes courses such as the following:

In addition, graduate programs typically require the following:

You may be required to give presentations to the departmental journal club. Club meetings are held on a regular basis, often twice weekly. When it is your turn, you present a review of an article that has appeared in a professional journal. The experience improves your presentation skills and gives you the chance to research a topic of interest to you.

It is also important to note that most of your courses will require significant laboratory work. In addition, most programs require you to participate in laboratory rotations. This means that you do scientific research on different genetics-related topics.

Things to Know

Many genetics programs are included in microbiology departments.

With a bachelor's, you may work as a technologist in a genetics laboratory. You might work in developing new pharmaceuticals, or in crime scene analysis.


East Side Area

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle