The Department of Genetics provides a supportive and unique environment for students to understand the full spectrum of molecular, evolutionary, and population genetics. Our major prepares students for careers in biomedical fields, as well as teaching, academic research, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. And, our students are competitive for admission to the top medical and professional schools and graduate programs in the country.
Genetics is a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms. Genetics is the process of trait inheritance from parents to offspring, including the molecular structure and function of genes, gene behavior in the context of a cell or organism, gene distribution, and variation and change in populations. Given that genes are universal to living organisms, genetics can be applied to the study of all living systems; including bacteria, plants, animals, and humans.
After taking introductory courses in genetics and evolutionary biology, majors may choose from a variety of upper level Genetics courses. Depending on the interests and career goals of a particular student, majors can satisfy requirements for major electives by taking upper level courses in other departments. Along with lecture courses, majors can choose from several different laboratory courses, which focus on molecular genetics, evolutionary genetics, or genomics. We strongly encourage undergraduates to pursue independent research with one of our faculty. In addition to the high value placed on research by medical and graduate school admissions committees, undergraduate research consolidates your training into a single keystone experience.
Why has our program been so successful?
The answer is relatively simple. Along with classroom instruction in a wide ranging series of topics, a special feature of the major is the requirement for two semesters of laboratory research. Frequently, this research is done on cutting-edge projects in a faculty member's lab. As such, many of our undergraduate students have the opportunity to co-author research papers published in the primary scientific literature.
The true quality of our program can be directly measured based on the success of our recent graduates. In the past 5 years, our students seeking Ph.D.'s have gone to the top graduate schools, including Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Duke, University of California,Berkeley, UNC, Yale, and Michigan. The rigor of our program gives students applying to medical schools a decided edge: recent graduates now attend the University of Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Vanderbilt, the University of Virginia and Washington University.
Another important feature of the undergraduate major is that every student has a faculty mentor who meets with the student individually every semester to discuss course selection and career goals.
Taken together our program offers the advantages of both a large, active Department one would expect in a major research university coupled with the personal attention one would obtain at a smaller college. This approach provides a special environment for achieving a high-quality education.
For more information contact:
Susan White, Undergraduate Administrator
Dr. Rodney Mauricio, Undergraduate Coordinator