2022 Genetics Degree Guide

Do you ever wonder why you have green eyes and your sister has blue eyes? In the study of Genetics you will follow in the footsteps of that famous monk, Gregor Mendel, who discovered how physical traits were passed through observing generations of peas. He pioneered the research in genetics, how DNA works, and the four letter codes that DNA is made up of.

During your time as a Genetics major you will learn all aspects of cell growth, reproduction, and mutations. Mutations are responsible for cancer as well as a host of other diseases. You will also explore Darwin's theory of natural selection.

Some of the courses you will take are: biochemistry, populations genetics, developmental genetics, molecular genetics, evolutionary genetics, genetic data analysis, human genetics, chemistry, advanced mathematics, biology, organic chemistry.

Concentrations in this major include: Molecular Genetics; Microbial and Eukaryotic Genetics; Animal Genetics; Plant Genetics; Human and Medical Genetics; and Genome Sciences. This major is most often offered as a Master's or Ph.D. However, some schools offer it as a Bachelor's degree.

Rapid Growth in Genetics Degrees Awarded

#218 Most Popular Major
1.3k Degrees Awarded
4.2% Increase in Graduates

In 2019-2020, genetics was the 218th most popular major nationwide with 1,345 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 56 over the prior year, a growth of 4.2%.

The United States has 89 different schools where you can get a degree in genetics. This year's Best Genetics Schools ranking compares 74 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom genetics rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Genetics

The study of genetics can be quite fascinating, but it also can take a lot of work and dedication. A passion for science and discovery will help you get through long hours studying math and science and memorizing formulas. You will also be studying evolution and history. Curiosity, innovation and ability to adapt to new technology will aid you. Do not get frustrated; persistence is the key to success in this major.

You will be working closely with peers and professors for a variety of group projects. Interpersonal and teamwork skills will aid you in completing these projects. Communication skills will help you write clearly when reporting your discoveries in lab, as well as complete research papers. Time management and organization will help you balance time spent in the lab with your other assignments.

Genetics Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic genetics program qualifications, to serve in some genetics careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Genetics Degrees

Genetics degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in genetics to the highest genetics degree, a . Genetics programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to genetics, with approximately 25.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to genetics tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Post-Doctoral Training 31.5%
Doctoral Degree 26.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 22.1%
Master’s Degree 13.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.0%

About 56.7% of workers in careers related to genetics obtain at least doctor's degrees. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in genetics careers have.


This of course varies depending on which genetics career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Genetics Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$31.2k Average Starting Salary
12% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Most people interested in this field will continue their education to get a minimum of a master's degree. You may also decide to focus on medicine, veterinary medicine, or biology in graduate school.

If you do not want to continue your education, genetics majors can also find work upon graduating in a number of fields. Some options include government or independent research, agricultural laboratories, botanical gardens, national parks or private research.

Solid Growth Projected for Genetics Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your genetics degree? Genetics careers are expected to grow 12.3% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to genetics.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Medical Scientists 136,100 13.4%
Biological Science Professors 71,700 15.1%
Natural Sciences Managers 62,300 9.9%
Biological Scientists 41,800 8.0%

How Much Money Do Genetics Grads Make?

Genetics graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $31,167 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $25,300 to as high as $37,100. As you might expect, salaries for genetics graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Genetics Careers

Salaries for genetics graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers genetics grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers $139,680
Biological Science Professors $97,340
Medical Scientists $96,420
Biological Scientists $83,600

Getting Your Genetics Degree

With over 209 different genetics degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased genetics school rankings to help you with this.

Genetics is one of 14 different types of Biological & Biomedical Sciences programs to choose from.

Genetics Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
General Genetics 558
Molecular Genetics 336
Human/Medical Genetics 278
Genome Sciences/Genomics 71
Animal Genetics 70

View All Genetics Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
General Biology 101,264
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 14,088
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 10,406
Physiology & Pathology Sciences 8,339
Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology 7,057

View All Genetics Related Majors >


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