Genetics Major (B.S.)

Genetics Major (B.S.)

Genetics Lab

What is genetics?

Genetics majors are interested in understanding how DNA, along with the environment, encodes traits like hair color or high blood pressure, and how these traits are inherited or regulated. Genetics encompasses topics like molecular genetics, evolution, genetic engineering and bioinformatics. The faculty strongly value hands-on learning and many students conduct undergraduate research under faculty supervision in our state-of-the-art research laboratories. Graduates are prepared for successful careers in the biotechnology fields or for entry into graduate school or health professional programs.

Why study genetics at UNH?

UNH has one of the few dedicated genetics majors in the United States. Students in the genetics degree program interact with faculty committed to excellence in teaching, research and student advising, and our teaching labs provide hands-on training in current research techniques. Our faculty conduct research on diverse topics including evolution, gene structure and function, host-microbe interactions, genome sequencing and analysis, heredity and diversity in populations. There are many opportunities for students to work in faculty laboratories and present research at scientific conferences on and off campus.

Potential careers

  • Biotechnology Patent Agent
  • College professor
  • Forensic scientist
  • Genetic counselor
  • Lawyer
  • Medical laboratory technician
  • Physician
  • Physician assistant
  • Research scientist

Contact

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
Rudman Hall
46 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
603-862-4095
mcbs.dept@unh.edu

  • An Education that Spans Three Colleges at UNH
    If you are curious about how to balance the demands of one major and two minors that are all in different colleges at UNH, ask Matthew Rich ’19.
    An Education that Spans Three Colleges at UNH
    If you are curious about how to balance the demands of one major and two minors that are all in different colleges at UNH, ask Matthew Rich ’19.

Curriculum & Requirements

The Genetics and Genetics:Genomics programs (GEN) explore the world of genetics and genomics in plants, animals, and microbes. Genetics majors are interested in understanding how DNA, along with the environment, encodes simple traits like hair color, and more complex traits like high blood pressure, diabetes, and mental illness. The Genetics faculty strongly value hands-on learning and many GEN students conduct undergraduate research under the supervision of our faculty. GEN graduates are prepared for successful careers in the biotechnology fields or for entry into graduate school, genetic counseling, or health professional programs.


The Genetics program offers course work and laboratories in:

  • molecular genetics
  • bioinformatics
  • human genetics
  • comparative genomics
  • plant genetics
  • microbial genetics and evolution
  • population and evolutionary genetics

Students in the Genetics program may participate in a variety of experiential learning activities including:


GEN graduates have been successful in attaining careers as:

  • research scientists and laboratory technicians in
    • biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies
    • academic research programs
    • forensics
    • biomedical research centers & medical schools
    • government agencies
  • educators
  • genetic counselors
  • technical support associates

GEN graduates are prepared for further education in:

SAMPLE Course Sequence for Genetics

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
GEN 401 Professional Perspectives in Genetics 1
BIOL 411 Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
Discovery course 4
 Credits17
Spring
BIOL 412 Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology 4
MATH 424B Calculus for Life Sciences 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Discovery course 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
GEN 604 Principles of Genetics 4
BMCB 605 Principles of Cell Biology 4
BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I 4
Discovery course 4
 Credits16
Spring
GEN 606 Genetics Lab 4
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
5
CHEM 545
CHEM 546
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
Discovery course 4
 Credits18
Third Year
Fall
BMCB 658
BMCB 659
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry Lab
5
PHYS 401 Introduction to Physics I 4
Discovery course 4
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits17
Spring
GEN 711 Genomics and Bioinformatics 4
PHYS 402 Introduction to Physics II 4
Major Elective (Population or Evolutionary Genetics) 4
Discovery course 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
Genetics Core course 4
Major Elective (Laboratory based) 4-5
Major Elective (Bioscience/possible Capstone) 4-5
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits16-18
Spring
Major Elective (Bioscience) 4
Elective (any course) 4
Elective (any course) 4
 Credits12
 Total Credits128-130

Students majoring in genetics take seven Foundation courses, six Bioscience Core courses, four Genetics Core courses and four Major Elective courses. One capstone experience, supervised and approved within the major, is required of all seniors. In addition, all other University requirements must be completed, including those for the Discovery Program and the University Writing Requirement.

A grade of C-minus or better required in Statistics and all Biological Science Foundation, Genetics Core, and Major Elective courses.

Foundation Courses

CHEM 403General Chemistry I 14
CHEM 404General Chemistry II4
CHEM 545
CHEM 546
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
5
MATH 424BCalculus for Life Sciences 34
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I4
PHYS 401Introduction to Physics I4
PHYS 402Introduction to Physics II4

Bioscience Core Courses

BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular 44
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
5
BMCB 605Principles of Cell Biology4
BMCB 658
BMCB 659
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry Lab
5

Genetics Core Courses

GEN 401Professional Perspectives in Genetics1
GEN 606Genetics Lab4
GEN 711Genomics and Bioinformatics4
Select one of the following:
GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes 55
GEN 771Molecular Genetics4

Major Electives

A total of four unique major electives is required: one course from the Laboratory-Based Major Elective group, one course from the Population Genetics or Evolutionary Genetics major elective group, and two courses from the Bioscience Major Electives group.

Laboratory-Based Major Electives (Select One)

GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes 55
GEN 705
GEN 725
Population Genetics
and Population Genetics Lab 5
5
GEN 717Molecular Microbiology5
GEN 774Techniques in Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology4
GEN 795Investigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 795WInvestigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799HHonors Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
BMCB 753Cell Culture5
BMCB 754Molecular Biology Research Methods5
INCO 790Advanced Research Experience (4-credit minimum) 61-4

Population or Evolutionary Genetics Major Electives (Select One)

GEN 705
GEN 725
Population Genetics
and Population Genetics Lab 5
5
GEN 715Molecular Evolution4
GEN 772Evolutionary Genetics of Plants4

Bioscience Major Electives (Select Two)

GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes 55
GEN 705
GEN 725
Population Genetics
and Population Genetics Lab 5
5
GEN 706Human Genetics4
GEN 712Programming for Bioinformatics5
GEN 713Microbial Ecology and Evolution4
GEN 715Molecular Evolution4
GEN 717Molecular Microbiology5
GEN 721Comparative Genomics4
GEN 771Molecular Genetics4
GEN 772Evolutionary Genetics of Plants4
GEN 774Techniques in Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology4
GEN 795Investigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 795WInvestigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799HHonors Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
ANSC 602Animal Rights and Societal Issues4
ANSC 701Physiology of Reproduction4
BIOL 702Lab Techniques in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry4
BIOL 704Plant-Microbe Interactions3
BIOL 711Experimental Design & Analysis4
BIOL 752New England Mushrooms: a Field and Lab Exploration4
BMCB 750Physical Biochemistry3
BMCB 753Cell Culture5
BMCB 754Molecular Biology Research Methods5
BMCB 760Pharmacology4
BMCB 763Biochemistry of Cancer4
BMCB #783Proteomics for Biological Discoveries4
BMCB 794Protein Structure and Function4
BMS 650Molecular Diagnostics4
BMS 702Endocrinology4
BMS 705Immunology3
BMS 706Virology3
BMS 718Mammalian Physiology4
BMS 719Host-Microbe Interactions4
BMS 740Human Microbiome4
INCO 790Advanced Research Experience (4-credit minimum)1-4
MEFB 750Marine Ecological Genomics4
NR 706Soil Ecology4
ZOOL 625
ZOOL 626
Principles of Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Laboratory
5
ZOOL 690Evolution4
ZOOL 736Genes and Behavior4
ZOOL 777Neuroethology: The Neural Basis of Animal Behavior3

Approved GEN Capstone Courses

The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning. The capstone requirement may be satisfied through a course, a created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors thesis, mentored research project, or other approved student activity). The capstone requirement can only be fulfilled once a student has senior standing in the major.

GEN 704Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes5
GEN 705
GEN 725
Population Genetics
and Population Genetics Lab
5
GEN 715Molecular Evolution4
GEN 717Molecular Microbiology5
GEN 790Undergraduate Teaching Experience (4 credit minimum; classroom presentation required)1-4
GEN 795Investigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 795WInvestigations in Genetics (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
GEN 799HHonors Senior Thesis (4-credit minimum) 61-4
INCO 790Advanced Research Experience (4-credit minimum) 61-4

Explore Program Details

Click here to learn more about Capstone experiences.

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