Best Genetics Programs

A bachelor's in genetics opens up doors to a variety of careers in genetic science. Check out the best programs to start yours.

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by Blake Weil

Published on July 8, 2022

Edited by Desiree Cunningham
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Genetics are the fundamental blueprints of humanity. New and exciting healthcare jobs and applications are emerging, taking advantage of progress in genetic research.

A bachelor's in genetics is a doorway to being a part of this exciting movement. After learning basic and evolutionary biology, students pursue advanced subjects such as genomics and molecular genetics. They can also pursue research experience.

A bachelor's in genetics typically takes four years to complete. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition at four-year schools cost an average of $16,618 per year as of the 2020-2021 academic year. Hybrid and online degrees can vary in cost and length compared to on-campus options.

While many learners go on to graduate school, others pursue job options such as those in biotech sales, earning an average annual salary of $108,850 as of May 2022 Payscale data. They can also start jobs in forensic science ($55,810 average annual salary as of June 2022), and clinical research ($69,370 average annual salary as of June 2022).

Keep reading to learn what an education and career in genetics could mean for your future.

Our Top Pick

University of Georgia - Athens, Georgia

Why It's #1: The University of Georgia tops our 2022 list of top bachelor's in genetics programs. The program boasts a high graduation rate (87%) and reasonable tuition for both in-state ($12,080) and out-of-state ($31,120) students. While the admissions rate is highly competitive (45%), the well-above-average number of students receiving financial aid (97%) makes the University of Georgia a top choice for affordable genetics education.

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Best Accredited Bachelor's in Genetics Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $12,080
Out of State | $31,120

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Georgia's bachelor's in genetics program introduces students to genetics and genetics research principles. Coursework covers biological and genetic basics, as well as laboratory work. Upper-level coursework can be taken in other departments in addition to genetics. 

Students are encouraged to pursue independent research projects to prepare for graduate school. About 75% of students go on to graduate and professional school. Applicants must submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.

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#2

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $10,722
Out of State | $39,354

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

University of Wisconsin - Madison offers a BS in genetics and genomics. The coursework includes biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and genetics. Students gain laboratory research experience through lab-based coursework and independent research projects, potentially culminating in honors in research. Students can customize their degrees. 

The University of Wisconsin - Madison offers a specially tailored study abroad program for genetics and genomics majors in Costa Rica every year. Many students go on to graduate and medical school. Applicants must submit transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores are optional through 2025.

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#3

University of California-Irvine

School Information
Location Irvine, California
Admission Rate 27%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $11,928
Out of State | $42,954

Quarter Units to Graduate
180

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of California - Irvine's BS in genetics is designed to provide a foundation in genetics for those interested in genetics as a discipline and those interested in biological applications of genetic technology. The program primarily prepares students for further graduate training. 

Students are encouraged to pursue laboratory research for credit. Electives provide additional specialization options, with focuses including the biology of cancer, genetic disease, and developmental genetics. Applicants must submit transcripts.

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#4

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

School Information
Location Raleigh, North Carolina
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $272
Out of State | $1,178

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

North Carolina State University's bachelor's in genetics program is designed to prepare students for graduate school and biological sciences careers. It allows students to easily acquire minors in other biological sciences as well. The program emphasizes not just scientific understanding but responsible conduct, hands-on problem-solving, and research skills. 

Students also actively help run the genetics club, which is open to all students to promote genetic education and help connect students to genetics research opportunities. Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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#5

University of California-Davis

School Information
Location Davis, California
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $11,928
Out of State | $42,954

Credits to Graduate
99-121

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

University of California - Davis offers a bachelor's degree in genetics and genomics. After students complete entry-level courses in biological sciences, they can pursue specializations, including molecular genetics and embryology. The program focuses on fundamental sciences, potential biotech, and medical applications of genetics.

Students must submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. In-state applicants need a minimum GPA of 3.0, and out-of-state applicants need a 3.4 GPA.

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#6

Purdue University-Main Campus

School Information
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $9,992
Out of State | $28,794
International | $31,104

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Purdue University's bachelor's in genetics program focuses on the way genetics is the fundamental basis for all biological science. As such, it focuses on the flexibility of genetics as a science and its variety of interdisciplinary applications.

Students must submit SAT or ACT scores and transcripts to apply. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have completed at least one college-level calculus course.

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#7

Iowa State University

School Information
Location Ames, Iowa
Admission Rate 92%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition & Fees per Year
In State | $10,133
Out of State | $26,617

Semester Hours to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Iowa State University's bachelor's in genetics highlights the program's small class sizes and impressive resources. Administered by three different departments, the program has a multidisciplinary approach to genetic science. First-year students can also access early research opportunities, including genetic modification using CRISPR technology.

Applicants must submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Prospective students must also have an RAI score of 245 or higher for Iowa residents or 255 for non-residents. Students entering the fall 2022 semester have the testing requirement waived.

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#8

Washington State University

School Information
Location Pullman, Washington
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 60%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $11,266
Out of State | $26,950

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Washington State University offers a bachelor's in genetics and cell biology. The major is considered a specialization track for medical students, which along with a minor in genetic counseling is a pathway for a master's program in genetics. The STARS program also allows talented students to begin research early to accelerate their pursuit of a Ph.D. WSU requires transcripts from all students but does not require SAT or ACT scores. 

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#9

New Mexico State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Las Cruces, New Mexico
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition per Year
In State | $8,409
Out of State | $26,735

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree-Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

New Mexico State University's BS in genetics prepares students for careers in academia, research, and technology. It also prepares students for further education. The coursework emphasizes the ethical use of genetic technology.

Applicants must be ranked in the top 20% of their class. Or, they must have a minimum 2.75 GPA, an ACT composite score of 21, or an SAT score of 1060 for admission consideration. ACT or SAT testing is not required but recommended.

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#10

Ohio Wesleyan University

School Information
Location Delaware, Ohio
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Tuition
Private | $49,962

Units to Graduate
34

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Ohio Wesleyan University's undergraduate genetics major offers an introduction to biological science with a specialization in genetics at a micro and macro level. Students are encouraged to pursue field research opportunities, including participation in the school's Summer Science Research Program and student symposium. 

Students also receive support in pursuing internships and grant funding for original research. To apply, students must submit transcripts and may choose to submit SAT or ACT scores.

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Popular Online Genetics Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Genetics ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 29 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Genetics Programs

Is a bachelor's in genetics worth it?

Yes. A bachelor's in genetics degree is often worth it for students interested in biological science. The degree introduces students to biology. Graduates majoring in genetics gain the appropriate knowledge to pursue careers in research and progress to graduate-level education, including medical school.

When determining whether a degree is worth the time and expense, it is important to review your financial situation. Compare your resources, potential financial aid, and the cost of pursuing your education. With a combination of scholarships, grants, and loans, college is accessible for many people.

What can I do with a bachelor's in genetics?

Graduates with a bachelor's in genetics can pursue a career right after college. Possible positions include clinical research assistant, biotech salesperson, and forensic scientist. These careers allow graduates to apply their genetics knowledge in the real world.

What links all jobs you can do with a bachelor's in genetics is a fundamental understanding of biological science and proof you can tackle complex scientific issues. A bachelor's in genetics gives you knowledge in the field, and it helps you develop research and learning skills applicable to many positions.

What continuing education is available for genetics graduates?

Continuing education is a common tactic to switch specializations, qualify for more senior positions, and increase earning potential. Possible next steps for professionals in genetics include medical school or a Ph.D. to investigate independent research questions. However, graduates go on to all kinds of continuing education programs, including master's degrees, law degrees, and MBAs.

Graduates also continue to develop in the genetics field outside of school. Many pursue independent research through their work and publish and present it. Even those not publishing may attend conferences and read academic publications to keep up with the latest findings. Some workplaces also offer programs to update their employees on the latest science.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in genetics?

A bachelor's in genetics opens the door to many well-paying fields. According to Payscale, graduates can work in forensic science and earn over $55,000 on average per year as of June 2022. They can also work as biomedical engineers, who earned an average annual salary of $69,130 as of June 2022.

Higher degrees may lead to even higher-paying careers. When choosing whether to pursue further education, compare potential salary increases to the cost of education.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in genetics?

With a bachelor's in genetics, the highest-paying jobs include biotech salesperson and clinical researcher. According to Payscale data, these professionals earned average annual salaries of $108,850 as of May 2022 and $69,370 as of June 2022, respectively.

Students looking to maximize income may need to pursue more education. A master's degree in genetics, along with a Ph.D. and degree in law and business, are common next steps for graduates. Some positions also require further licenses and exams.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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