Genetics and Biotechnology - Bachelor of Science in Genetics

Codirectors of the Program:

Professor, Michele Nishiguchi, Department Head, Biology
Professor, Rolston St. Hilaire, Department Head, Plant and Environmental Sciences

Professors Bailey, Cramer, Hanley, Houde, Milligan, Nishiguchi, Ray, St. Hilaire, Serrano, C. Shuster, M. Shuster, Smith, Unguez, Zhang; Associate Professors Curtiss, James, Xu Assistant Professors Indriolo

Have you ever wondered why your hair or eye color, facial features, or the build of your body resembles that of your parents, grandparents, or other close relatives? What factors are responsible for generating all the variety of colors and shapes of flowers, trees, and different types of animals? If these questions have crossed your mind, then you have been thinking about Genetics; the science of heredity. Genetics is studied at the DNA/gene/genome level (molecular genetics, biotechnology, genomics and bioinformatics), the level of organisms (classical or Mendelian genetics), and within/among populations of individuals (population and quantitative genetics).

One of the most significant scientific accomplishments in history has been the use of genomic technologies to recently identify most human genes, as well as, most genes for a number of other animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. Geneticists now have tremendous opportunities to use molecular, biochemical, mathematical, and computer science-based (bioinformatics) approaches to investigate how these genes determine observable traits. This information can be used to significantly advance human health and well being, and to meet the food and fiber needs of the world.

A degree in Genetics can provide excellent preparation for careers in academic research and technical support, teaching, agriculture, the biotechnology industry, medicine and health sciences, forensic science, technical writing, and sales or marketing. It is also an excellent background for students wishing to enter a graduate program, medical school, and veterinary school.

Undergraduates in the Genetics program must earn a grade of C- or better to receive credit for Departmental and Non-Departmental required courses. Within the Departmental Required courses, Tier I courses must be taken by all majors, for a total of 31 credit hours*. To accommodate differing interests among students, a series of Tier II courses comprising 9-11 credits are provided. Ethical considerations of genetic based technologies will be infused throughout the curriculum, with a focused course on Science and Ethics in the Tier III portion of the core curriculum.

*Note: This includes BIOL 2610G which also counts as a General Education elective.


Students must complete all University degree requirements, which include: General Education requirements, Viewing a Wider World requirements, other Non-Departmental requirements, and elective credits to total at least 120 credits with 48 credits in courses numbered 300 or above. Developmental coursework will not count towards the degree requirements and/or elective credits, but may be needed in order to take the necessary English and Mathematics coursework.

Prefix Title Credits
General Education Requirements
Area I: Communications10
English Composition - Level 1 1
English Composition - Level 2 1
Oral Communication 1
Area II: Mathematics
MATH 1521GCalculus and Analytic Geometry II 24
Area III/IV: Laboratory Sciences and Social/Behavioral Sciences11
General Chemistry I Lecture and Laboratory for STEM Majors4
General Chemistry II Lecture and Laboratory for STEM Majors4
Area IV: Social/Behavioral Sciences (3 credits) 1
Area V: Humanities 13
Area VI: Creative and Fine Arts 13
General Education Elective
BIOL 2610GPrinciples of Biology: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution (Tier I Requirement also)3
Viewing a Wider World 36
Departmental/College Requirements
Tier I Requirements
BIOL 2110G
BIOL 2110L
Principles of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
and Principles of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology Laboratory
BIOL 302Molecular Biology Techniques Laboratory3
or BCHE 424 Experimental Biochemistry I
BIOL 377Cell Biology3
BIOL 446Bioinformatics and NCBI Database3
or GENE 452 Applied Bioinformatics
BIOL 455Biometry3
or A ST 311 Statistical Applications
BIOL 467Evolution3
GENE 1110Experimental Systems in Genetics1
GENE 305 LGenetic Techniques1
GENE 315Molecular Genetics3
GENE 320Hereditary and Population Genetics3
GENE 440Genetics Seminar1
Tier II Requirements9-11
Select one course from each of the three following categories.
Tier III Courses3
Select one from the following:
Genetics and Society3
Science, Ethics and Society3
Biomedical Ethics3
Non-Departmental Requirements (in addition to Gen.Ed/VWW)
CHEM 313Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 314Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 315Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
BCHE 395Biochemistry I3
BCHE 396Biochemistry II3
PHYS 2230GGeneral Physics for Life Science I3
or PHYS 1230G Algebra-Based Physics I
PHYS 2240GGeneral Physics for Life Science II3
or PHYS 1240G Algebra-Based Physics II
Electives, to bring the total credits to 120 418-20
Select electives to bring total to 120 credits including 48 upper division credits.
Recommended Electives
Biology Internship1-6
Genetics Internship1-6
Special Problems1-3
HNRS courses 5
Total Credits120

Second Language Requirement

For the Bachelor of Science in Genetics with a major in Genetics and Biotechnology there is no second language requirement for the degree.

A Suggested Plan of Study for Students

This roadmap assumes student  placement in MATH 1220G College Algebra and ENGL 1110G Composition I. The contents and order of this roadmap may vary depending on initial student placement in mathematics and english. It is only a suggested plan of study for students and is not intended as a contract. Course availability may vary from fall to spring semester and may be subject to modification or change.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
BIOL 2610G Principles of Biology: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution 3
GENE 1110 Experimental Systems in Genetics 1
CHEM 1215G General Chemistry I Lecture and Laboratory for STEM Majors 4
ENGL 1110G Composition I 4
Area IV: Social/Behavioral Science Course 1 3
BIOL 2110G
BIOL 2110L
Principles of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
and Principles of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology Laboratory
CHEM 1225G General Chemistry II Lecture and Laboratory for STEM Majors 4
MATH 1220G College Algebra 3
Area V: Humanities Course 1 3
Elective 1
Second Year
CHEM 313 Organic Chemistry I 3
MATH 1250G Trigonometry & Pre-Calculus 4
GENE 315 Molecular Genetics 3
Choose one from the following: 3
Professional & Technical Communication  
Advanced Technical and Professional Communication  
Area I: Oral Communication 1 3
CHEM 314 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 315 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
MATH 1511G Calculus and Analytic Geometry I 4
GENE 320 Hereditary and Population Genetics 3
Elective Course 3
Third Year
BCHE 395 Biochemistry I 3
MATH 1521G Calculus and Analytic Geometry II 4
PHYS 2230G General Physics for Life Science I 3
Area IV: Creative and Fine Arts 3
Elective 2
BIOL 377 Cell Biology 3
BCHE 396 Biochemistry II 3
GENE 305 L Genetic Techniques 1
PHYS 2240G General Physics for Life Science II 3
Choose from one of the following: 3
Statistical Applications  
Elective 2
Fourth Year
BIOL 467 Evolution 3
BIOL 302
Molecular Biology Techniques Laboratory
or Experimental Biochemistry I
Tier II: Organism Structure Course 3-4
Choose from one of the following: 3
Bioinformatics and NCBI Database  
Applied Bioinformatics  
VWW: Viewing a Wider World Course 2 3
GENE 440 Genetics Seminar 1
AGRO 303V Genetics and Society 3
Tier II: Molecular and Applied Genetics Course 3
Tier II: Physiology Course 3-4
VWW: Viewing a Wider World Course 3
Elective 1-2
 Total Credits120-123