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, Bosland, Cramer, Hanley, Houde, Milligan, Nishiguchi, O’Connell, Ray, St. Hilaire, Sengupta-Gopalan, Serrano, C. Shuster, Smith, Unguez, Zhang; Associate Professors Curtiss, James, M. Shuster, 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 111G 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: Mathematics4
Calculus and Analytic Geometry II 24
Area III/IV: Laboratory Sciences and Social/Behavioral Sciences11
General Chemistry I 34
General Chemistry II 34
Area IV: Social/Behavioral Sciences 1
Area V: Humanities 13
Area VI: Creative and Fine Arts 13
General Education Elective
BIOL 111GNatural History of Life (Tier I Requirement also)3
Viewing a Wider World 46
Departmental/College Requirements
Tier I Requirements
BIOL 211GCellular and Organismal Biology3
BIOL 211GLCellular and Organismal Biology Laboratory1
BIOL 302Molecular Biology Techniques Laboratory3
or BCHE 494 Biochemical Genetics Laboratory
BIOL 377Cell Biology3
BIOL 446Bioinformatics and NCBI Database3
or GENE 452 Applied Bioinformatics
BIOL 455Biometry3
or A ST 311 Statistical Applications
BIOL 467Evolution3
GENE 110Experimental 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.
1. Molecular and Applied Genetics: AGRO 462, ANSC 423, BIOL 442, BIOL 475, BIOL 478, BIOL 488, BIOL 489, GENE 486, GENE 488
2. Physiology: ANSC 421, BIOL 354, BIOL 381, BIOL 385, BIOL 451, BIOL 474, BIOL 485, EPWS 314, HORT 471
3. Organism Structure: ANSC 370, BIOL 311, BIOL 313, BIOL 322, BIOL 382, BIOL 465, BIOL 470, BIOL 490, EPWS 302, EPWS 373
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 221GGeneral Physics for Life Sciences I3
or PHYS 211G General Physics I
PHYS 222GGeneral Physics for Life Sciences II3
or PHYS 212G General Physics II
Electives, to bring the total credits to 120 520-18
Select electives to bring total to 120 credits including 48 upper division credits.
Recommended Electives
Biology Internship1-6
Genetics Internship1-6
Special Problems1-3
HON courses 6
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.