COSAM News Articles 2020 December New genetics degree prepares students for careers in a growing field of biosciences

New genetics degree prepares students for careers in a growing field of biosciences

Published: 12/15/2020

By: Maria Gebhardt

On December 11, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education approved a new Bachelor of Science degree in genetics. 

The new major will be offered by the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) at Auburn University and will offer a broad range of coursework including a solid concentration of study on heredity and genetic variations. 

“COSAM has exceptional opportunities for undergraduate students to pursue research and interact with scientific mentors,” explained COSAM’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Robert Boyd. “Our college can help students gain valuable experience in the lab early on while building a solid foundation for science and discovery in the classroom.” 

In this new degree program, students will be able to learn about many facets of genetics including mutations, patterns of inheritance, whole genome analysis, and interactions between genes and the environment. At COSAM, this degree offers a specialized focus. 

“While other programs may focus on the biomedical field, this genetics degree gives students a broader perspective, including comparative and ecological aspects, and also will include exciting insights into the emerging field of bioinformatics,” Boyd added.  

Students who earn a degree in genetics will be better prepared for rewarding careers in research, agriculture, ecological work in national parks or major gardens, forensics, genetic counseling, and academia. Students who complete this program can apply to professional schools such as medical, pharmacy or veterinary schools 

Since more than 10,000 Alabamians are currently employed in the biosciences field, this new degree program will help the land-grant university help apply these skills through careers in this state.  

Of the 120 hours to complete this degree, 65 hours will be in major courses such as Genetics and Lab, Genomic Biology, Molecular Genetics and Developmental Genetics. 

The degree was approved at a September meeting of the Auburn Board of Trustees and was then peer reviewed and posted for public review before being approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.   

No special admission requirements are necessary to pursue this degree. 


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