Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Undergraduate Genetics

Why Study Genetics?

What is Genetics?

  • Genetics is the study of heredity at various levels from molecules to populations. Because genetics occupies a central position in modern biology, its understanding is essential for any serious student of life sciences. Outside of academia, genetics touches many everyday aspects of human life. The food we eat and the clothes we wear come from organisms improved by application of genetic principles. Increasingly, management of human health also depends on genetic and genomic information.

Why study Genetics at ISU?

  • Iowa State University offers one of the few undergraduate Genetics programs in the Midwest. ISU also offers majors in many other complementary life sciences such as Microbiology, Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Agronomy, Animal Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Horticulture. Many of these share common introductory core coursework. Up to 20% of Genetics students have a second major. An even larger number of students earn at least one minor. Microbiology, Agronomy, and Psychology are currently the most frequent double majors or minors.

  • ISU faculty in at least 20 different ISU departments are involved in some type of basic or applied genetics or genomics research. These faculty provide students with a multidimensional perspective on genetics and offer a broad range of opportunities to get involved in research using a diverse range of organisms (bacteria, yeast, viruses, nematodes, fruit flies, zebrafish, reptiles, corn, soybeans, cotton, Arabidopsis, and many more).

  • First-year and early transfer students join a very active genetics learning community that helps facilitate their successful transition to university life and supports them in science coursework during their first two semesters. Students are assisted during June orientation and the fall semester by Learning Community peer mentors and by Academic Advisor Lois Girton who also teaches the Genetics 110 orientation class. Genetics students are assigned to a faculty advisor from one of the three departments that oversee the major during their second semester. Students are also invited to join the Genetics Club.

    Link to Genetics Learning Community here.

    Link to Genetics Club Website here.

What can I do with a B.S. in Genetics?

  • Students with the B.S. degree find employment in the biotechnology, health, or food industries or in academic research laboratories. Recent graduates work as technologists and project managers for biotechnology companies such as Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, and Orion Genomics and in chemistry, biology, cytogenetics, and genotyping labs in hospitals, zoos, and universities.

  • Completion of the B.S. in Genetics also fulfills the coursework requirements for entry into almost any health-related professional program as well as into graduate programs leading to an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in biological sciences disciplines.

  • Students are encouraged to check graduate and professional programs of interest early in their academic careers for specific entrance requirements including both courses and research, job-shadowing, work, teaching, mentoring, or volunteer experiences.

What careers have been pursued by recent alumni?

  • The following link shows information about which graduate programs have accepted students with Genetics B.S. degrees from our program, the distribution of current careers of our graduating class of 2003, and individual profiles to give examples of the types of careers our recent graduates have followed:

  • Alumni Careers

Iowa State has state-of-the-art techonology that is utilized to deepen the educational experience for our Genetics students.