Genetics (BS)

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

The Genetics program offers undergraduate majors classroom training in fundamentals of genetics and other sciences, as well as opportunities for meaningful research experience. The degree in genetics is the only genetics major offered in the UNC system.

The genetics major complements other degree programs in the biological and life sciences at N.C. State, as it prepares students for further graduate study, professional schools (such as medical, dental, veterinary, genetic counseling) or careers in industries whose products are based on biological and agricultural research, including biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Building on the strength of NC State as a leader in science and technology, students in the program can easily earn a concurrent minor in any of the other life sciences curricula, as well as other programs such as statistics or biotechnology.

Responsible conduct as a scientist and citizen are emphasized in the genetics coursework, and students will also have opportunities for public service and engagement through participation in the genetics outreach program. Students will be challenged to master their coursework while practicing hands-on problem-solving in both the classroom and active research settings. Genetics students also will be required to read the primary literature and present papers and their research findings, thus gaining valuable experience in scientific communication.

Plan Requirements

LSC 103Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences1
Advanced Writing/Communication
ENG 333Communication for Science and Research 13
Select one of the following Communications courses: 13
Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Argumentation and Advocacy
Mathematical Sciences & Physics
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 13
or MA 141 Calculus I
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 13
or MA 241 Calculus II
ST 311Introduction to Statistics 13
or ST 371 Introduction to Probability and Distribution Theory
PY 211College Physics I 1,34
PY 212College Physics II 1,34
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 13
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 13
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 11
CH 221Organic Chemistry I3
CH 222Organic Chemistry I Lab 11
CH 223Organic Chemistry II 13
CH 224Organic Chemistry II Lab 11
Required Life Sciences
LSC 101Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 12
BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 14
BIO 183Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 14
GN 311Principles of Genetics 14
GN 312Elementary Genetics Laboratory 11
GN 421Molecular Genetics 13
GN 423Population, Quantitative and Evolutionary Genetics 13
GN 425Advanced Genetics Laboratory 12
BCH 451Principles of Biochemistry 14
Select one of the following Cell Biology/Physiology courses: 13
Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (A): Nervous, Skeletal, Muscular, & Digestive Systems
Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology (B): Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems
Cell Biology
Plant Physiology
Research/Teaching Requirement
GN 496Genetics Research Experience (S allowed)3
or GN 497 Genetics Teaching Experience
Genetics Electives
Select two of the following: 16
Introductory Bioinformatics
Genes and Development
Human and Biomedical Genetics
Genome Science
Epigenetics, Development, and Disease
Human and Biomedical Genetics
GEP Courses
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts)3
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives3
GEP U.S. Diversity (verify requirement)
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Restricted Electives
Restricted Electives 18
Free Electives
Free Electives (12 Hr S/U Lmt) 29
Total Hours120

Restricted Electives

ANT 370Introduction to Forensic Anthropology3
BIO 270Introduction to Evolution3
BIO 432Evolutionary Medicine3
BIO 434Hormones and Behavior3
BIO 440The Human Animal: An Evolutionary Perspective3
BIO 444The Biology of Love and Sex3
BIO 488Neurobiology3
BIO 588Neurobiology3
BIT 410Manipulation of Recombinant DNA4
ENT 425General Entomology3
GN 450Conservation Genetics
MA 331Differential Equations for the Life Sciences3
MA 341Applied Differential Equations I3
MB 351General Microbiology3
MB 352General Microbiology Laboratory1
MB 441Immunology3
MEA 220Marine Biology3
PB 400Plant Diversity and Evolution4
PSY 430Biological Psychology3
TOX 401Principles of Toxicology4
TOX 501Principles of Toxicology4
ZO 350Animal Phylogeny and Diversity4
ZO 402Invertebrate Biology4
ZO 410Introduction to Animal Behavior3

Semester Sequence

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
LSC 101 Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences 1 2
BIO 181 Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 1 4
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science 1 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 1 1
MA 131 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 1 3
LSC 103 Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences 1 1
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
Spring Semester
BIO 183 Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology 1 4
CH 221 Organic Chemistry I 1 3
CH 222 Organic Chemistry I Lab 1 1
MA 231 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 1 3
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
Second Year
Fall Semester
CH 223 Organic Chemistry II 1 3
CH 224 Organic Chemistry II Lab 1 1
ST 311 Introduction to Statistics 1 3
Restricted Elective 1 4
GEP Social Sciences 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
Spring Semester
GN 311 Principles of Genetics 1 4
GN 312 Elementary Genetics Laboratory 1 1
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 1 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 1 1
Restricted Elective 1 4
Communications Requirement 1 3
Third Year
Fall Semester
GN 421 Molecular Genetics 1 3
BCH 451 Principles of Biochemistry 1 4
PY 211 College Physics I 1 4
ENG 333 Communication for Science and Research 1 3
GEP Humanities 3
Spring Semester
GN 425 Advanced Genetics Laboratory 1 2
GN 423 Population, Quantitative and Evolutionary Genetics 1 3
PY 212 College Physics II 1 4
GEP Social Sciences 3
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts) 3
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Genetics Research/Teaching Requirement 3
Select one of the following: 1 3-4
Cell Biology  
Plant Physiology  
GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives 3
Free Elective 4-5
Spring Semester
Genetics Electives 1 6
GEP Humanities 3
Free Elective 4
 Total Hours120

Career Opportunities

Many students majoring in the Department of Biological Sciences take advantage of scholarship and honors programs available at NC State, including the University Honors Program and the University Scholars Program.  In addition, we offer a discipline-based Undergraduate Honors Program in Biological Sciences (DBS Honors Program).  The DBS Honors Program requires students to design a challenging program of advanced study, including eight credits of honors coursework in biology and at least two semesters of research or teaching scholarship.  Participants write an honors thesis and are required to present their scholarly work at a local, regional, or national meeting.  Invitations to join the DBS Honors Program are sent in the first three weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters.  Students in any major in the Department of Biological Sciences who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 after completing 30-65 credit hours at NC State will receive an invitation to join the DBS Honors Program; transfer students in any of our majors who have earned an overall GPA of 3.60 in 15 credit hours at NC State also will receive an invitation.  

Students who graduate from the Department of Biological Sciences are well prepared for employment in various government agencies and private industries. Graduates may continue their education with studies leading to advanced degrees in many areas of the biological sciences, including cell biology, ecology, microbiology, genetics, zoology, neurobiology, and biomedical disciplines. Many choose to seek advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, public health, and other health-related fields. Students who plan to seek certification for pre-college teaching may want to pursue a second major in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education.