Genetics - B.S.

General Information

Degree & Major: Genetics - B.S.
College Name: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Department Name: Genetics
Brian Norman, Undergraduate Administrator
(706) 542-1442

Dr. Jonathan Eggenschwiler, Undergraduate Coordinator
(706) 542-2813

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Degree Requirements

College-wide Requirements

University-wide Requirements

Description: Genetics is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms. The Department of Genetics provides a supportive, rigorous, and unique environment for students to understand the full spectrum of genetics, from genes and genomes to populations and species.

Genetics is about problem-solving, and our curriculum is centered around teaching students how to approach and answer problems creatively, critically, and from a variety of perspectives. Courses in the Core provide important foundational skills in chemistry and biology along with tools from mathematics and physics that allow students to solve problems from theoretical models. We encourage students to take both our gateway courses, GENE 3000 and 3200, early in their programs of study (first or second year); both courses have only introductory biology as required prerequisites.

After our gateway courses in genetics and evolutionary biology, majors take advanced and elective courses that progressively guide them to being able to engage meaningfully and critically in the primary scientific literature. Majors complete two laboratory courses that allow students to participate actively in the process of solving problems by collecting data and testing hypotheses. Alternately, students can elect to complete this laboratory requirement with a 3-semester independent research sequence with our faculty, ending with a thesis. All students complete two capstone seminars, where they dive deep into the primary literature in a specific topic in genetics. We strongly encourage students to pursue independent research experiences.

All details of the Genetics major are available at, and information about the department is available at

Career Opportunities: Our major prepares students for careers where creative problem-solving and research skills are valued, including positions in genetic counseling, medicine and allied health professions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, teaching, and research. Our majors are competitive for admission to the top medical and professional schools and graduate programs in the country.
of Transfer Students:
Transfer students must have completed a year of introductory biology (the equivalent of BIOL 1107 and 1108, both with lab) before beginning coursework in genetics. Completion of Area III and VI courses in differential calculus and chemistry would be helpful for timely completion of the major.

Scholarships: The University of Georgia can nominate up to four sophomores or juniors for Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships to support outstanding students pursuing careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Genetics majors have been successful in winning these selective national awards. The on-campus selection process begins early in the fall semester. Information on this scholarship, and others, can be provided by Jessica Hunt, Scholarship Coordinator for the Honors program (706-542-6206).
Internships: The Department strongly encourages undergraduates to pursue independent research with one of our faculty. We have a series of independent research courses that each fulfill the University’s experiential learning requirement. We especially encourage students to consider spending multiple semesters in one lab and completing a thesis. In addition to the high value placed on research by medical and graduate school admissions committees, an undergraduate research experience serves to consolidate all your Genetics training into a single keystone experience. Students should consult a list of faculty research interests ( and make contact with a faculty member to inquire about the possibilities of doing independent research in his/her lab.
Other Learning Opportunities: For 10 weeks each summer, the Department hosts an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program on Fungal Genomics and Computational Biology (see Participants are recruited nationally from groups currently underrepresented in the sciences. The application process occurs in the spring semester. Contact Dr. Jonathan Arnold (706-542-1449) for more information.
Available Graduate Programs: The program prepares students for professional schools, particularly in medicine and allied health professions (including genetic counseling), and for advanced graduate degrees.