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Biomedical Research Careers

zebra fish eye

Why Choose Genetics for Biomedical Research?

The field of genetics continues to grow at an exponential rate and is relevant to all areas of biomedical research. The ability to create large volumes of genetic data, to modify the human genome through gene editing, and to use genetic information to create targeted therapies for a variety of diseases, has created a demand for students trained in genetics.

A B.S. degree in Genetics at Iowa State meets the coursework requirements for graduate programs in biomedical fields and includes courses in bioinformatics. Genetics majors have access to the numerous faculty and labs that stretch across the three departments (BBMB, EEOB and GDCB) that oversee the major. Experiential learning staff connect students with department funded and for credit research opportunities on campus as well as regional and national internship opportunities. A Genetics degree from Iowa State will prepare you for the next steps in your career.

Choose Iowa State Genetics as your next adventure!

Genetics Student

Degree Requirements & 4-Year Plans

Students with a B.S. in Genetics obtain employment in academic, industry and government positions. These positions are primarily involved in conducting experiments (wet lab) or analyzing data (dry lab) or in a lab management role. Many of our students pursue M.S. or PhD programs.

Genetics major course requirements here.

Genetics majors receive their degree through either the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Degree requirements include university requirements, college general education requirements, and major requirements. All students complete the same major and university requirements.

Degree requirement checklist including a side by side comparison of the college general education requirements here.

4-year plans are available as a general guide to the program and particularly freshmen year. Students will create their own unique 4-year plan in their orientation course.

4-year plan for LAS students

4-year plan for CALS students

Transfer credits here

Additional Recommended Courses

The core Biology and Genetics coursework and required supporting courses meet the standards for admission to most life sciences graduate program.  The science electives you choose will depend upon the specific areas in which you are most interested.  While the minimum acceptable GPA is 3.0 for most programs, you should strive to achieve a 3.5 or better. To improve the strength of your application consider adding a minor in Statistics, Bioinformatics, Leadership Studies or General Business.

While programs do not require courses in anatomy, physiology, and toxicology for admission, these can be extremely helpful in your graduate coursework.

Additional Elective Coursework:

  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 335 and 350) 
  • Pharmacology (BMS 439)
  • Endocrinology (BIOL 434)
  • Human Genetics (GEN 340)
  • Attendance and Critic of Genetics Seminars (GEN 496)
  • Research (GEN 499)

Additional Info on Biomedical Careers

Potential Extracurricular Activities

To be a considered a strong candidate for graduate programs, you'll need a 3.0 GPA, significant research experience and involvement in non-academic activities.

Genetics Research! Develop organizational, problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills and a close relationship with mentors who can then provide meaningful letters of recommendation. Graduate programs are looking for students that have conducted an independent research project and/or research at other institutions. Opportunities on campus include GEN 299, GEN 499, Fung Fund Summer Internship, and many more (See experiential learning opportunities here). Also consider presenting your research at a local or national conference.

Teaching: Teaching experience (as a tutor, undergraduate TA or LA, peer mentor, or SI leader) will be valuable in developing communication skills.

Career Prep - Informational Interviews: connect with your academic advisor for alumni contact information. Also consider job shadowing professionals in industry or a faculty member on campus.

Clubs: Genetics, Rare Disease Awareness (demonstrates interest in the field)

Leadership Opportunities: here

Association Memberships: Demonstrate commitment to the field by participating in professional associations. Attend events and present your research.