Genetics Major

Geneticists are biological scientists who study and even manipulate animal and plant DNA. Find out about degrees programs available to undergraduates, and learn about career options in the field. Schools offering Sequence Analysis and Genomics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Involved in Genetics Studies?

Genetics is the science of heredity, genes, DNA and molecules. Throughout your completion of a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, you'll have internship opportunities, research labs and current events seminars with prominent guest speakers. When you begin your studies, you'll need a strong academic background in geometry, algebra, chemistry, biology and physics.

Typical course topics you may encounter in a genetics major include life sciences, calculus, chemistry, physics and cellular biology. You will explore different branches of genetics as well, such as:

  • Transmission
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Molecular genetics
  • Non-Mendelian inheritance
  • Parametric analysis
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Cytogenetics

Common Courses Life sciences, calculus, chemistry and cellular biology
Additional Educational Experiences Depending upon the institution, students may have the ability to work with faculty on genetics projects
Learning Environments Typically only campus-based degrees are offered
Possible Careers Teacher, food technologist, soil and plant scientist, agricultural scientist
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 7% (for agricultural and food scientist)
Median Salary (2018)* $64,020 (for agricultural and food scientist)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will There Be Laboratory Research Opportunities?

Depending on the university, you may get the chance to work individually with faculty members on their research projects. You could study the ways in which cancer cells become genetically different from the patient's own cells, making them unstable. If the DNA molecule itself fascinates you, you might consider research in DNA repair mechanisms or the gene regulation process that activates certain parts of DNA. Working with faculty members on such research projects will gain you credit hours toward the completion of your genetics degree.

Can I Earn It Online?

There is no fully online Bachelor of Science in Genetics degree program available from reputable universities. However, several universities offer specific genetics courses online. Some of these award academic credit to successful students. Others provide continuing education units, and still others are free non-credit resources for the public to use.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

When you successfully complete a major in genetics, you open up many possibilities for your future! One such path is to pursue advanced education in genetics; for example, completing a master's or doctoral degree in genetics will award you far more job opportunities in the field.

If you wish to apply for a job right out of college, a bachelor's degree in genetics may allow you to obtain jobs such as agricultural scientist, food technologist, soil and plant scientist, animal scientist and high school science teacher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you prefer to stop your education at the bachelor's degree level, you are more likely to be considered for a non-scientist job in such fields as marketing, sales and research management.

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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