You have your mother’s eyes and your father’s nose. How is it that humans or individuals of any other species tend to resemble their close relatives more than unrelated individuals? This question has always fascinated curious observers, but only after Mendel’s discovery of the basic laws of inheritance have we been able to study the transmission of genes, the hereditary factors. Since Mendel’s discovery, genetics has changed from a science in which geneticists studied the transmission of genes in a relatively few plants and animals to one which occupies a central position in the biological sciences.

Does Genetics Fit Your Interests?

Do you have a sharp mind and imagination? Do you have a special kind of curiosity that makes you eager to uncover hidden relationships? Are you looking for a career exploring the edges of today’s scientific knowledge? If so, a major in Genetics may be just what you are looking for.

Putting Genetics to Work

The Laboratory of Genetics is the oldest and one of the finest genetics centers in the nation. It is highly regarded for its research contributions in the areas of plant genetics, population genetics, developmental genetics, molecular genetics,immunogenetics, neurogenetics, cytogenetics, viral genetics, bacterial genetics, mammalian genetics, behavioral genetics, and medical genetics.

The University of Wisconsin has inaugurated a major initiative in the area of Genomics. Genomics is a significant new field of genetics, which contributes to and uses the knowledge of many biological, mathematics, and engineering disciplines. Genomics encompasses genome sequencing, functional genomics, comparative genomics and bioinformatics.

Undergraduate Training

All undergraduates are required to take strong foundational course work in chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, general genetics, biochemistry and bacteriology. Students choose advanced courses, such as: cytogenetics, human genetics, microbial genetics, quantitative and population genetics, plant genetics, crop improvement, immunology, biotechnology, evolution, animal breeding, and parasitology.

Additionally, our students are required to take course work designed to develop strong written and oral communication. They also take courses in economics, ethnic studies, humanities, social science and international studies.

Experience Outside of Class

While classroom lectures and laboratories provide the foundation of your education, we offer abundant opportunities for practical,hands-on experience:

  • Students can work part-time in labs. This interaction with nationally and internationally renowned researchers gives our students experience in “cutting-edge” research.
  • The undergraduate Genetics Association (UGA) is a student-run organization that helps students learn about careers in Genetics, fosters academic excellence, and provides a social network.

Where You’ll be Learning

There are about 250 undergraduate and 50 graduate students currently enrolled in the Genetics program.

The offices and laboratories are located in the Genetics and Genetics-Biotechnology complex on Henry Mall. The Genetics Building, a relatively new structure undergoing complete renovation, houses well-designed laboratories provided with all the equipment necessary for state-of-the-art genetic research. In 1996 a new Genetics/Biotechnology Building was completed. This approximately doubled the research space available and created one of the most modern Genetics facilities in the nation.

Career Opportunities

The biotechnology industry has exploded within the last decade and is providing many diverse career opportunities for our graduates. A strong background in Genetics will prepare you for: research support, technical support, technical writing, quality control, assay development, and sales or marketing.

Many of our graduates continue their education by pursuing an advanced degree. Our students are competitive for admission to medical schools, veterinary schools and graduate schools throughout the country. Graduate students may elect a PhD course of study to prepare them for careers in research, academia and industry. Others may elect an MS for a career in Genetics Counseling.

Financial Assistance

Approximately $500,000 in scholarships are awarded each year to College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students. Criteria are based on curricular activities and scholastic achievement.

For more information contact the Laboratory of Genetics:

Prospective Student Services: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Office of Academic Affairs

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an AA/EEO institution. University policies create additional protection that prohibits harassment on the basis of cultural background and ethnicity. Inquires concerning these policies may be directed to the appropriate campus admitting or employing unit or to the Equity and Diversity Resource Center, 179-A, Bascom Hall, (608) 263-2378, TTY (608) 263-2473.