University Masters Degree in Genetics: Program Overviews

Learn about master's degree programs in genetics. Find out about prerequisites, program specializations and courses, as well as career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Master's degrees in genetics are often featured as part of dual degree doctoral programs and may not be offered individually. The degree conferred is typically a Master of Science in Genetics. In this program, students can choose a specialization area, such as molecular genetics, biomedical genetics, human genetics and cellular genetics.

Molecular genetics is the study of how genes function at the molecular level, focusing on how genetic information is transferred between generations. Biomedical genetics is concerned with the study of hereditary disorders. Human genetics differs from biomedical genetics because it focuses specifically on human genes and does not investigate genetic applications in medical care. Cellular genetics, or cytogenetics, is a branch of genetics that studies hereditary components of cells (namely chromosomes). All fields of genetics study variations in hereditary information among living things.

Master's degrees in this field typically take 2-3 years to complete. Programs commonly offer both thesis and non-thesis options. Students who elect to pursue non-thesis programs usually take more courses than those pursuing thesis options. Additionally, non-thesis candidates complete comprehensive examinations.

Genetics programs require state-of-the art instruments and laboratory facilities, and faculty members are expected to be specialized and highly trained. As a result, these programs are often found at well-endowed institutions. Also, admission to these programs is competitive.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants to master's degree programs in genetics must have at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission. College transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay will likely also be required for consideration. The strongest applicants typically have volunteer or work experience in a related field, such as medicine, biology or chemistry.

Program Coursework

Students can expect to log extensive hours in laboratories throughout the course of a master's degree program in genetics. However, many courses are structured around traditional lecture formats as well. Some classes that might appear in the curriculum are:

  • Biomedical statistics
  • Genetic model systems
  • Population genetics
  • Biology of the gene
  • Molecular evolution

Popular Career Options

A master's degree in genetics can open the door to a number of career paths. They may also precede doctoral programs in a related field, including a medical doctorate. Career options for graduates include:

  • Molecular biologist
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Pharmaceutical scientist
  • Genetic engineer
  • Governmental research positions
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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Maryland (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MS in Bioinformatics
        • MS in Biotechnology
        • Master of Biotechnology Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • California (4)
    • Colorado (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
        • Human Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
        • Molecular Genetics
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Botany
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
        • Animal Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
        • Molecular Genetics
        • Plant Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
        • Animal Genetics
        • Human Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences

Popular Schools

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