Genetics Degree Programs

The field of genetics explores everything from where you get your hair color to how we can produce more disease-resistant crops. You can study genetics as an undergraduate or graduate student through a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. program; professional degree programs like an M.D. program may also have a strong genetics component. Learn more about the degree options in this field and common genetics coursework. Schools offering Sequence Analysis and Genomics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Degree in Genetics Cover?

The study of genetics explores human, plant and animal genes as well as examining how they play into hereditary traits, like eye color and inherited health disorders in people and animals or the production characteristics of crops. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in genetics are available, and they offer you the opportunity to study genetics from single molecules to entire populations.

An undergraduate degree in genetics can prepare you to work in various fields, such as biotechnology or forensic science. This degree may also be used as a part of your educational pathway to graduate studies in areas including genetic counseling, bioinformatics or pharmacology, or it can prepare you for veterinary or medical school. Graduate degrees in genetics are typically designed for those who want to go into research or teaching. However, programs are also available for those who are interested in pursuing careers in genetic counseling. Additionally, M.D. and Ph.D. programs are available for prospective doctors who want a better understanding of how genetics relates to human health.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's and doctorate
Undergraduate Common Courses Genomics, molecular genetics, chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry
Graduate Common Courses Genetic disorders, epidemiology, ethical issues, gene structures, gene mutation
Related Degree OptionsAssociate's degree in biotechnology

What Courses Will I Take as an Undergraduate?

A bachelor's degree program in genetics includes general education courses along with core genetics courses. You'll learn about the principles of genetics, molecular genetics, genomics and the ways in which genes influence behavior and health, among other topics. You'll also be required to complete work in the lab with most of your science courses. Some classes you can expect to take in an undergraduate program include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Population genetics
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Biotechnology

What Courses Are Offered at the Graduate Level?

Master's degree programs in genetics explore a number of topics from the latest genetics findings in current literature to epidemiology, gene structures, ethical issues and genetic disorders, among other topics. Degree programs with specializations in genetic counseling cover issues that genetics counselors face, such as the biological, psychological and social ramifications of genetic disorders. This specialization generally requires a clinical practicum. In either type of program, you'll likely need to complete a thesis based on the research you've completed during your studies. Some of the courses you can expect to find in a master's degree program include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Human genetics
  • Experimental methods
  • Biostatistics

Doctoral degrees in genetics are largely research-based and offer focused study in a variety of areas in genetics, from the ways genetics applies to disease prevention and treatment to the effects of specific genes on humans. You'll take courses exploring past and contemporary genetics research, as well as choosing a faculty advisor to supervise your research, which will lead to your dissertation. You may also be required to complete a semester as a teaching assistant. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Genetics and endocrine functions
  • Screening for genetic disorders
  • Gene mutation
  • Molecular medicine

Are There Other Programs Available?

If you're an undergraduate student interested in basic genetics study, you may find associate's degrees in biotechnology or related science fields that include genetics coursework. Associate's degree programs in these areas include courses on such topics as microbiology, statistics, genetics and cell biology. These types of programs may prepare you for careers in the allied health field, agriculture, environmental science or lab technology work.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • The George Washington University

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    • Massachusetts: Boston