Master's Degrees in Cytogenetics

A genetics or genetic counseling master's degree program could allow you to take cytogenetics classes and work as a microbiologist, biochemist or genetic counselor. Learn about options in the field. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Cytogenetics Master's Degree Programs Are There?

Cytogenetics is the study of heredity with an emphasis on the chromosomal activity that occurs inside cells. Master's degree programs in the specific subject of cytogenetics are rare. However, you can find genetics, developmental biology or genetic counseling master's degree programs that include cytogenetics courses in their curricula. Some programs might allow you to concentrate your studies in cytogenetics.

Due to the hands-on research and specialized equipment used in these master's degree programs, online options in the field of genetics and cytogenetics are generally not available. Some schools do offer master's programs in biotechnology that include molecular science and biology topics taught in a cytogenetics-related program. Biotechnology programs also include information technology, computer science and management coursework.

Degree Options Master's degrees available in fields that include coursework in cytogenetics
Common Courses Genetics, biotechnology, cytogenetics, evolution, engineering
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree and standardized test scores are required; institutions may also require applicants to have completed previously related coursework
Possible Careers Genetic counselor, biological scientist

What Courses Will I Take?

Programs usually allow you to specialize in plant, animal or human genetics. You might learn how to grow disease-resistant crops or study particular patterns of heredity in humans. Courses often include fieldwork, clinics and laboratory classes. Common topics that you'll examine during a master's program include:

  • Biochemical genetics
  • Cytogenetics research
  • Evolution and genetics
  • Human genetics
  • Molecular cytogenetics
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic engineering

What Are the Prerequisites?

To apply to a master's degree program, you usually need to meet undergraduate GPA requirements and take a graduate admissions examination. Most schools require prerequisite classes in calculus, biology, chemistry and physics. Programs in genetic counseling might also necessitate courses in psychology, sociology and statistics. Some programs allow you to make up these courses during the program if you're lacking academic experience.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

With a master's degree in genetics or developmental biology, you can work as a biological scientist and specialize in animal, plant or human DNA. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for scientists in the field of life science was predicted to rise eight percent from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that microbiologists earned an average salary of $81,150 in 2018, while biochemists averaged $105,940.

With a master's degree in genetic counseling, you can become a genetic researcher or counselor. Though not required for practice, you might want to consider certification with the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc. A master's degree is required to qualify for the Certified Genetic Counselor designation, and earning the credential stipulates that you adhere to the professional standards, ethics and practices of the vocation (www.abgc.net). According to PayScale.com, genetic counselors reported an earnings range of approximately $56,000-$90,000 as of July 2019.

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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