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Graduate Course Catalog 2016-2017

Graduate School


Genetics (GEN)


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This program is offered in Durham.

Professor: J. Brent Loy


Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

The interdepartmental genetics program offers graduate work leading to the degrees of master of science and doctor of philosophy. Faculty members are housed in the Departments of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences; Biological Sciences; and Natural Resources and the Environment. The genetics graduate program integrates disciplines ranging from molecular and cellular biology to environmental and evolutionary genetics and genomics, in microbial, plant, and animal systems. 

Admission Requirements

Qualified applicants are admitted with the approval of the genetics graduate faculty. Undergraduate preparation should include mathematics, including calculus; chemistry, including organic; physics; microbial, animal, or plant biology courses with laboratories; and at least one course in genetics. A course in statistics is also desirable. Admitted students with deficiencies in background courses may be required to complete necessary coursework without graduate credit. 

Applicants must submit a personal statement, current scores (within five years) from the general GRE test, and three letters of recommendation. If possible, the personal statement should specify the applicant's research interests and potential faculty mentors. International applicants living outside the U.S. should initially complete a free online pre-application. If approved for a full application, applicants must submit current TOEFL scores in addition to the items listed above.  

Degree Requirements

M.S. Degree Requirements

The coursework for the master of science degree is formulated with input from the student's guidance committee. Students admitted to the M.S. program are required to conduct a research project under the guidance of a faculty adviser, write and submit a thesis based on this research, and pass an oral examination covering graduate courses and thesis. 

Students must take a minimum of 30 credits, including at least three genetics courses (minimum of 10 credits), preferably covering breadth in genetics, attend MCBS 997, Seminar each semester, present one seminar per year, and write and defend a 6-10 credit thesis (GEN 899) before their guidance committee.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The coordinator of the genetics graduate program, with the concurrence of the student's thesis adviser, nominates the student's guidance and doctoral committees, which administer the qualifying and final examinations, respectively. Doctoral students are expected to have a broad exposure to genetics courses, exceeding that required of master's degree students. Specific course requirements are developed by the student and the guidance committee. Students must attend MCBS 997, Seminar, each semester and present one seminar per year. Upon completion of coursework, the student must pass written and oral qualifying examinations conducted by the guidance committee in order to advance to candidacy. Doctoral students must complete a dissertation on original research in genetics, give a public seminar, and orally defend their dissertation before the doctoral committee.


In addition to courses in genetics, all graduate students are required to attend MCBS 997, Seminar , every semester as well as any other courses approved by the graduate coordinator