- Offered as:
- Graduate program
Genetics and cell biology is the science of heredity. It is studied at the level of whole organisms (classical or transmission genetics), the DNA itself (molecular genetics), or whole populations (population and evolutionary genetics).
Geneticists use molecular approaches to investigate how genes determine physical traits, including susceptibility to diseases and inherited disorders. Cell biology focuses on the structure and function of the components of living cells (such as the cell membrane, the flagella responsible for cell movements, cell differentiation in developing organisms, abnormal cell division, and metabolic interactions between cell compartments).
The genetics and cell biology major at WSU offers a specialization track for pre-medicine students and a minor in genetic counseling that prepares students for entry into Masters programs in this field.
- Strengths of the program
- Learn research techniques and operate advanced equipment.
- Undertake a research project of your own with the guidance of a renowned faculty researcher.
- The prestigious STARS program helps ambitious, high-achieving students get an early start on research and earn their Ph.D. in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, or microbiology up to two years faster.
- You can join a math, science, and engineering community residence hall at WSU Pullman—share classes with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s computer lab.
- Individualize your course of study within the School of Molecular Biosciences.
- Study with faculty noted for their work on the genetics and cell biology of model organisms such as zebrafish, worms, yeast, mice, fruit flies, and archaea and bacterial species. Faculty interests in reproductive biology provide opportunities for students interested in exploring human genetics.
- Requirements and core courses
Bachelor of science in genetics and cell biology
Students take the following core courses as well as other university, college, and degree requirements.
Biol 106 & 107—Introductory Biology I & II
Chem 105 & 106—Principles of Chemistry I & II
Chem 345—Elementary Organic Chemistry I
Math 140—Math for Life Sciences
or 171—Calculus I
Math 212—Intro to Statistical Methods
or Stat 412—Biometry
Phys 101 & 102—General Physics I & II
or 201 & 202—Physics for Scientists and Engineers I & II
MBioS 301—General Genetics
MBioS 303—Introductory Biochemistry
MBioS 304—Micro/Molecular Biology Lab
MBioS 305—General Microbiology Lecture
MBioS 401—Cell Biology
MBioS 402—General Genetics Lab
MBioS 404—Molecular Biology
MBioS 423—Human Genetics
MBioS 442 General Virology
or Biology 476 Epigenetics
MBioS 494—Senior Project
One lecture and one laboratory elective course.
Pre-med students and those interested in advanced degrees should take a year of organic chemistry, which includes Chem 345 and 348.
See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
- Scholarships and financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.
Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
For all students at WSU
To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:
- Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.
For students in genetics and cell biology
- Genetics and cell biology facilities
Genetics and cell biology students have access to the following outstanding facilities:
- Equipment for ultracentrifugation, recombinant DNA techniques, HPLC, protein analysis and purification, DNA sequencing and synthesizing, and more
- Bioanalytical Laboratory
- Electron Microscopy Center
- Nuclear Radiation Center
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center
- X-ray Crystallography Laboratory
- Owen Science and Engineering Library, the largest of its kind in the Northwest
- Suggested strengths, interests, and preparation
- A good high school preparation in biology, chemistry, and mathematics
- At least three years of sciences and math in high school recommended
- Strong reading, writing, reasoning, and computer skills
- Transfer students are encouraged to complete before arrival at WSU one full year each of introductory biology and chemistry, and math through Calculus 1.
- Careers in genetics and cell biology
Genetics and cell biology majors have wide and diverse career opportunities in the life sciences.
Career possibilities include technical positions in pharmaceutical, food, and biotechnology industries; private or governmental laboratories; and nonprofit institutions such as clinical and hospital laboratories or institutes that focus on research.
Graduates are also prepared to pursue professional degrees in human medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and other fields.
Advanced degrees can lead to work teaching at the college level or conducting basic or applied research in the government, higher education, or private industry. Other careers include consulting, management, and administration.
WSU also offers a minor in pre-genetic counseling through the School of Molecular Biosciences.