The Department of Genetics is committed to high quality, innovative undergraduate teaching that is tightly integrated into our research mission. Our courses are designed to encourage research and innovation. Since Genetics is basically a problem-solving discipline, our courses go beyond exploring the concepts and processes of the discipline by teaching students how to analyze and interpret data. Assigned problems simulate laboratory exercises. Students also learn to read original research articles. By reading historical research papers, they learn to interpret the evidence that support scientific "fact." Our courses also discuss the scientific, societal, and political implications of genetic research.
All Genetics majors are expected to take our two-semester Genetic Analysis course, which is our "signature course." In addition, majors complete a 3-credit laboratory course (either Introduction to Research or Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics), which are interactive introductions to research. All our upper-level elective courses are taught by Professors and also share the focus on research. Finally, all majors conduct a minimum of two semesters of research in an active lab. Students discuss their project with other seniors in a research seminar. The final report is written as a scientific paper suitable for publication in a journal such as Cell or Genetics. Students pursuing Departmental honors present their research as a platform talk at a senior symposium. Every major in the Department now has the research opportunities formerly available to selected honor students.
Students in Genetics join a community of scholars. Students interact with each other and with faculty members and graduate students in their courses and through the active Association of Undergraduate Geneticist. There are also opportunities to interact with Alumni through a LinkedIn site. Our alumni are highly successful in obtaining Ph.D, MD and other advanced degrees and in the scientific workforce.