The study of heredity and gene action is one of the most rapidly developing fields of biology. Genetics is essential to understanding all aspects of biology, and this field has driven many of the modern advances in medicine, agriculture, and the pharmaceutical industry. Analysis of genetic sequences has yielded deep insights into cellular and developmental processes, and is rapidly becoming a major tool in tracing evolutionary lineages and in reassessing biological classification. The goal of the Concentration in Genetics is to provide biology majors with an in-depth exposure to modern aspects of genetics, including research experience in a genetics laboratory.

The concentration in genetics provides a solid foundation for those planning careers in medicine, and there is a growing demand for geneticists in pure and applied research. Developments in biotechnology have shown the potential for using genetic techniques to synthesize complex proteins for medical and commercial use, for developing new drugs and chemotherapeutic agents for cancer and other diseases, for improving crop plants and animals, and for understanding and controlling pathogenic organisms, including fungi and bacteria. In addition, gene therapy that replaces defective genes with intact copies is becoming a medical reality. Many students are now choosing to combine their studies of genetics with related fields such as business or public policy, with a view to managerial positions in biotechnology fields, or positions in government or law.

Students fulfilling the requirements of the Area of Concentration in Genetics will receive a note on their official transcript.

Area Advisor

Area Advisors Area Faculty

Dr. Amy Bejsovec, Department of Biology
phone: 618-8162 e-mail:


Molecular and Developmental Genetics:
Baugh, Bejsovec, Benfey, K. Dong, X. Dong, Haase, He, Kiehart, Onishi, Pei, D. Sherwood, N. Sherwood, Spana, Strader, Sun, Volkan

Population and Evolutionary Genetics:
Cunningham, Donohue, Magwene, Mitchell-Olds, Noor, Rausher, Uyenoyama, Vilgalys, Willis, Wray




  • CHEM 101DL Core Concepts in Chemistry OR
  • CHEM 110DL Honors Chemistry: Core Concepts in Context OR
  • CHEM 21 General Chemistry Credit


  • CHEM 201DL Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 202D Organic Chemistry

NOTE: CHEM 210DL is also recommended for pre-med, pre-vet, biochem and pharm students.


  • MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 121 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 21 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • BOTH MATH 105L/106L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I and II


  • MATH 112L Laboratory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 122L Introductory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 22 Introductory Calculus II OR
  • STA 102 Introductory Biostatistics or STA 199 Intro Data Science OR
  • STA 101 or above OR
  • BIOLOGY 304 Biological Data Analysis (cannot also count as an elective)


  • PHYSICS 121L/141L General Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 151L Introductory Mechanics OR
  • PHYSICS 161D Fundamentals of Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 25 (AP credit)

NOTE: PHYSICS 122L/142L is also recommended for pre-med, pre-vet, biochem and pharm students.

Biology Major Requirements (minimum 10 courses)

The following courses are required for students pursuing both the B.S. and B.A. biology credentials.

Gateway Courses (2 or 1 courses)

The gateways are not sequenced and can be taken in either order.

  • BIOLOGY 201L Molecular Biology (prerequisite: Chem 101D or equivalent)
  • BIOLOGY 202L Genetics & Evolution


  • BIOLOGY 203L Molecular Biology, Genetics & Evolution (prerequisite: Biology AP 5 and Chem 101D or equivalent)

Biology Area Requirements (3 courses)

Select 1 course from EACH of the following three areas. Courses listed in more than one area may only be used to meet one area requirement.

  • 1 course - Organismal Diversity (see course listings). If using BIO 212L, cannot double count it as an elective below.
  • 1 course from the Biological Structure & Function area: BIOLOGY 220 Cell Biology or BIOLOGY 320 Molecular Genetics & Genomics
  • 1 course - Ecology (see course listings)

Genetics Concentration Electives (5 or 6 courses)

  • BCH 301 Introductory Biochemistry I
  • BIOLOGY 318/EvAnth 318 Human Evolutionary Genetics OR BIOLOGY 460 (formerly 250) Population Genetics OR one time special topics course: Fall 2024, Bio 490S, It's Not all in the Past (S. Marion)
  • Research Independent Study, BIOLOGY 293 or 493 or equivalent (ex. MGM 293/593).  Must be with area faculty or by approval of area advisor
  • BIOLOGY 414LS Experiments in Developmental and Molecular Genetics (recommended) OR a 2nd semester continuation of approved Independent Study OR BIOLOGY 212L.
    NOTE: Cannot double count BIO 212L for the organismal diversity requirement and as an elective. If using Biology 212L for organismal diversity, choose for this requirement any Biology course at the 200-level or above or from the list of approved alternative elective courses
  • 1 elective course listed or cross-listed in Biology at the 200-level or above or from the list of approved alternative elective courses (if using Bio 201L & 202L) OR 2 biology elective or approved alternate elective courses (if using Bio 203L)

Lab Experience Requirement

Students are required to take 2 full lab courses in addition to the gateway courses. For the Genetics Concentration Area, this requirement is fulfilled by taking Research Independent Study (BIO 293/493 or MGM 293.493, etc.) and BIO 414LS, 212L, 416L or another BIO with lab. Only one semester of Independent Study can count for this requirement.

Capstone Course Requirement

You must take at least 1 full 400-level or higher biology 'Capstone' course or other approved capstone course. Independent study can count towards this requirement if it is a second semester continuation.