Student in lab

Pick up any newspaper or surf the web for the latest news, and you will definitely read about advances in genetics and genomics. The rapidly expanding field is impacting a wide range of academic and health disciplines, as well as major corporate and governmental institutions.

With the genetics concentration in biology, you will develop a broad understanding of the field by taking courses in human genetics, molecular biology and biometry, preparing you for a career after graduation or for continued studied in graduate school or in professional programs in the health sciences.

While many of our students are interested in working in a laboratory setting, our curriculum and faculty can also prepare you for non-laboratory fields, such as genetics counseling through our developing Pre-Genetics Counseling Program.

What It’s Like to Study Genetics at Ball State

Ball State’s genetics faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • cellular development and genetics
  • plant genetics and genomics

Our students also have opportunities to gain experience researching with our cellular and molecular biology faculty on topics such as:

  • studying which genes and proteins are changed in cancer cells and how this leads to unregulated cell growth
  • studying vault function in cancer multidrug resistance
  • identifying nonpoint pollution contamination in rivers
  • examining drinking water for potential bacterial pathogens on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)
  • developing DNA- and RNA-based methods (DNA fingerprinting, SYBR green-based melt curve analyses, and real-time RNA amplification) for pathogen detection in foods
  • integrating pest management of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental diseases
In a laboratory-focused field, it is important to have access to authentic labs and equipment that you will use in your career or in graduate school with pipetting equipment, incubators, autoclaves, fluorescent readers, and more. At Ball State, you will be able to conduct research and apply your knowledge utilizing tools such as sophisticated confocal and electron microscopy, laser technologies, flow cytometry, and advanced genomic analyses to solve real research problems.

The Department of Biology is home to several academic clubs that provide an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion.

A few student organizations you may be interested in joining as a cellular and molecular biology student include:

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in genetics fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 47-48
  • Genetics Concentration: 22-23
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the genetics concentration are:

  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • BIO 452 – Advanced Genetics
  • BIO 453 – Human Genetics
  • BIO 454 – Genomes
  • BIO 457 – Molecular Biology
  • 5 hours from the 200-400 level of biology, biotechnology, botany or zoology

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Genetics?

The advances in genetics have increased the demand for broadly trained geneticists with competency in human, molecular, cytogenetics, organismal, and population genetics in fields such as:

  • agriculture and agribusinesses
  • bioethics law/ and biotech intellectual property
  • bioinformatics
  • biotechnology
  • epigenetics research
  • forensic analysis
  • genetic counseling
  • genomics research
  • medical genetics
  • pharmacogenetics
  • research and development laboratories
  • wildlife conservation genetics

Additionally, a biology degree with a concentration in genetics serves as an excellent entry point to applying to graduate school, medical school or a number of health professions programs.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

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Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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