phd in human genetics online

Geneticists are biological scientists who study and even manipulate animal and plant DNA. Find out about degrees programs available to undergraduates, and learn about career options in the field.View Schools

Read more about Phd In Human Genetics online, Human Genetics Phd Programs, molecular genetics topics, molecular genetics vs molecular biology, human molecular genetics, and molecular genetics degree UK.

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Phd In Human Genetics online

Genetics is the science of heredity, genes, DNA and molecules. Throughout your completion of a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, you’ll have internship opportunities, research labs and current events seminars with prominent guest speakers. When you begin your studies, you’ll need a strong academic background in geometry, algebra, chemistry, biology and physics.

Typical course topics you may encounter in a genetics major include life sciences, calculus, chemistry, physics and cellular biology. You will explore different branches of genetics as well, such as:

  • Transmission
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Molecular genetics
  • Non-Mendelian inheritance
  • Parametric analysis
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Cytogenetics
Common CoursesLife sciences, calculus, chemistry and cellular biology
Additional Educational ExperiencesDepending upon the institution, students may have the ability to work with faculty on genetics projects
Learning EnvironmentsTypically only campus-based degrees are offered
Possible CareersTeacher, food technologist, soil and plant scientist, agricultural scientist
Job Outlook (2019-2029)*6% (for agricultural and food scientist)
Median Salary (2020)*$68,830 (for agricultural and food scientist)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will There Be Laboratory Research Opportunities?

Depending on the university, you may get the chance to work individually with faculty members on their research projects. You could study the ways in which cancer cells become genetically different from the patient’s own cells, making them unstable. If the DNA molecule itself fascinates you, you might consider research in DNA repair mechanisms or the gene regulation process that activates certain parts of DNA. Working with faculty members on such research projects will gain you credit hours toward the completion of your genetics degree.

Can I Earn It Online?

There is no fully online Bachelor of Science in Genetics degree program available from reputable universities. However, several universities offer specific genetics courses online. Some of these award academic credit to successful students. Others provide continuing education units, and still others are free non-credit resources for the public to use.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

When you successfully complete a major in genetics, you open up many possibilities for your future! One such path is to pursue advanced education in genetics; for example, completing a master’s or doctoral degree in genetics will award you far more job opportunities in the field.

If you wish to apply for a job right out of college, a bachelor’s degree in genetics may allow you to obtain jobs such as agricultural scientist, food technologist, soil and plant scientist, animal scientist and high school science teacher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you prefer to stop your education at the bachelor’s degree level, you are more likely to be considered for a non-scientist job in such fields as marketing, sales and research management.

Vanderbilt Human Genetics Program | Vanderbilt University

Human Genetics Phd Programs

Howard University

Department of Genetics and Human Genetics

The graduate programs in Genetics & Human Genetics are designed to confer the training standards that will develop students for degrees of Doctorate of Philosophy Master’s, and M.D./Ph.D. degree(s). The graduate program is an interdepartmental entity built on a diverse platform.

The program is associated with the department of Pediatrics and department of Biology where students work creatively in their field of special interest but and be able to relate application and relevance to related clinical and science disciplines.


The degree programs are designed to provide a curricular foundation in human genetics for all enrolled students during their first year.Following this, guided by their academic adviser, students elect to pursue their area of interest in genetics . This is accomplished through a combination of elective courses offered in the Department and other departments of the University, as well as in the Washington Area Consortium of Universities. The Masters thesis and Doctoral dissertation research interests likewise can reflect a broad range of interests, provided a suitable research mentor is identified in the graduate faculty. 

This training program design takes into account the fact that genetics is increasingly relevant within the framework of multiple biomedical research and scholarly pursuits. The program design also is intended to foster the important principle of collaborative research and scholarship among biomedical disiplines.


The graduate programs are research-oriented curriculum’s in the study of genetic mechanisms related to the transition from normal to disease states and intended to prepare graduates to participate in laboratory research.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program trains students to become independent researchers in the field of human genetics. Five (5) year (72credit hour) degree program
  • Master’s in Science (MS) program trains students to develop competencies in laboratory techniques, knowledgeable of current trends in Molecular and Clinical Genetics, and capable of analytically discerning Genetic health issues. Three (3) year (36 credit hour) degree program
  • MD/PhD in Human Genetics and Medicine is a combined graduate, non-MSTP, program that allows medical students to pursue PhD work in human genetics. Seven (7) year program



To be accepted into the Graduate Program in Genetics and Human Genetics, students must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 3.0 or B equivalent. In addition, students must meet the University requirement(s) to take the Graduate Record Examination (and the TOEFL if applicable).

Students with a bachelor degree may enter the graduate program at the Masters level or directly into the Ph.D. program. Eligibility to be considered for direct admission as a Ph.D. student requires a cumulative GPA greater than 3.2 and prior research and/or training experience in during undergraduate school or during a previous Master’s degree

Applicants are required to submit these items for consideration of acceptance and review of potential for success:

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation a statement of interest in genetics,
  • official transcript(s)
  • and the most recent Graduate Record Examination scores.

Master of Science 

Students wishing to enter the master’s program should have a baccalaureate degree and a cumulative GPA average of B or the equivalent. They also should have completed undergraduate courses in modern biology, chemistry through organic chemistry, general biochemistry, mathematics through calculus, and general genetics, or equivalent courses. These prerequisites apply regardless of specialization selected within the master’s program.

Students with less than a B average or who have not completed all of the required undergraduate courses may be admitted conditionally if they have very high Graduate Record Examination scores and/or excellent recommendations.​

Doctor of Philosophy

Students may matriculate into the doctoral program, having completed a suitable Master’s degree, provided they present evidence of previous research experience supported by excellent letters of recommendation, and grades above 3.2 average.

Students who do not meet these general criteria may be considered for the master’s program as indicated above.



Fall semester ( yr 1)

  1. Introduction to Biochemical Genetics (6 cr hrs)
  2. Human Genetics I (3 cr hrs)
  3. Introduction to Research (3 cr hrs, optional)

Spring semester (yr 1)

  1. Biochemical and Molecular Genetics (4cr hrs)
  2. Human Genetics II (3 cr hrs)
  3. Biostatistics (6cr hrs)

Fall Semester (yr 2)

  1. Medical Genetics (3 cr hrs)
  2. Cancer Genetics (3cr hrs)
  3. Electives in specialty (1-9 cr hrs)
  4. Seminar in Genetics (2cr hr)

Spring Semester (yr 2)

  1. Mutation in Human Gene
  2. Gene Structure and Action
  3. Electives (1-9cr hrs)
  4. Dissertation research (1-9cr hrs)


Intro to Biochemical Genetics 219 (6cr) Fall only (MWF) – This 6-credit course is designed as an introductory course in biochemistry with special emphasis on those areas of biochemistry that are especially relevant to genetics and human genetics.  The course is team-taught using faculty members and guest lecturers who have particular interest or training in each topic to be covered.  The course is organized around four major units: Proteins and Enzymes, Nucleic Acids, Hormones, and Metabolism.  The course is designed to develop a students’; recall of cellular biochemistry,  knowledge base of the relationship between the genetic code and the translation of biochemical pathways in disease pathology, comprehension of the relationship between pathological genetic changes to the biological process that cause human disorders.

Research in Genetics 220 GC (1-9cr). This course provides academic credit for independent research.   It is offered on a variable credit basis and students may elect to register for 1 to 9 credits, depending on the level of time commitment to research the student expects to dedicate.  In most cases, the research conducted in this venue is research under the guidance of a faculty mentor of the student’s choosing leading to a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.  This course is structured so that Masters and Doctoral students can focus on and perform literature research, identify mentors & research projects, and conduct thesis and dissertation research in the Department of Genetics & Human Genetics. Because research is rarely completed in a single semester, this course may be taken repeatedly until the research is concluded and the thesis or dissertation judged to have passed. 

Hum Biochemistry & Molecular Gene 222 (4cr).  This course explores the biochemical characteristics of variation in human genetic material and in corresponding gene products. This requires integrating information on gene structure, regulation of gene expression, gene product, and the physiological/anatomical phenotypes which reflect mutations. This course addresses concepts of intragenic repetitive sequences, DNA methylation, imprinting, genetic heterogeneity as it relates to genotype-phenotype correlation. The molecular evolution of specific genes are explored through both orthologous and paralogous sequence homologies. The goals of the course is to develop familiarity with a sample of genetic disorders distributed over various human anatomic, biochemical, and physiological systems, develop skills in integrating inherited abnormalities in molecular and biochemical structures as rational explanations for selected phenotypes. The format of the course consists of lectures by a spectrum of clinicians and researchers who have a high degree of familiarity with their subject matter.

Human Genetics I 223 GC (3cr) Fall only. The course is distributed over two semesters as Human Genetics I & II. This course offers a  careful study of the conceptual terrain for the discipline to develop a working familiarity with many of the central concepts in contemporary human genetics,  recognize the roles of technology and human values in shaping the central concepts,  develop proficiency in analyzing models of heritable variation and corresponding phenotypic expression, and their distributions in pedigrees and populations, and to identify evidence for interactions between gene expressions and environment to yield phenotypes.  The course format combines lecture, discussion, assigned readings to provide further content depth and breadth.

Human Genetics II 224 (3cr) This course is a continuation of Human Genetics I. This course will cover a minimum of 30 multifactorial phenotypes (congenital malformations and late onset disorders). This course distinguishes and characterizes each of the models of inheritance as it pertains to relationships between genes and phenotype. It’s designed to cover principles of multifactorial or polygenic models for estimating empiric recurrence probabilities, correlations between genetic and environmental factors of phenotypic value and heritabilities. One goal is to identify the spectrum of approaches currently envisioned for medical intervention in genetic disorders.

Cytogenetics  229 (3cr). This course is designed to develop a basic understanding of cytogenetics. The course covers chromosomal abnormalities and the etiology of how chromosomal aberrations contribute to congenital disease and cancer. The course will provide in-depth content and focus on cytogenetic and molecular cytogenetic diagnostic techniques. The goal of this course is to have students become proficient in preparing detailed genetic counseling case studies.

Seminar in Genetics  229 (2cr). This course is offered each semester and current residents are invited to register continuously.  Course format involves student participation in group discussion and article presentation each class period. The course is designed to focus on acquiring familiarity with current research in basic, clinical, and translational genetic disorders presented in various peer reviewed journals. The format promotes developing skillsets for; gathering, organizing, validating, and interpreting data of peer reviewed articles in molecular, biochemical, clinical, and population genetics.   Students will develop the knowledge base to identify and compare the quality of molecular techniques and analytical tools used to perform research. The goal is to acquire skills to employ information from peered reviewed publications as a guide to understanding molecular evolution and forming individual research hypothesis.

Introduction to Medical Genetics 231 (3cr) This course introduces students to the clinical aspect of a broad range of human genetic disorders, focusing on phenotypic characteristics, current confirmatory diagnostic techniques for each disorder, and approaches to interventions in terms of either prevention of occurrence, reduced morbidity, or achieving improved coping with disease. The course is designed to develop a students ability to construct pedigrees and to interpret modes of inheritance. Course formats consists lectures organized in a case study format such that an integration of all components of phenotype can be understood in relation to rationale for diagnostic methodology, and relevant intervention approaches. Students perform assigned reading, on-line searches on genetic diseases.

Intro to Research in Genetics 233 (3cr) This course is required for all Master’s and Ph.D. students in the first year. The course is designed for development of a hypothetical research project and writing of a detailed research proposal as a semester-long exercise. The course objective is to acquaint the student with a multitude of issues that bear on the successful conduct of independent research which include; understanding how to conduct literature searches, development of a hypothesis, identification of specific aims that will test the hypothesis, experimental design using principles of the scientific method, preparation and presentation of a written research proposal. This exercise will prepare the student for developing a thesis or dissertation proposal.

Gene Structure & Action 236 (2cr). This course explores the molecular process by which the synthesis, expression, and manipulation of genetic material is organized in chromatin and in cis-acting elements governing the process of the ‘central dogma’. It will include a critical review of gene organization, regulation of gene expression by hormones, growth factors, and oxidant stress emphasizing signal transduction pathways and the action of ligand-receptor mediated transcription regulators. Attention will be paid to regulation of gene expression, transcription, and translation by RNA interference and natural & synthetic xenobiotics. The goal of this course os to understand  the nature and function of gene expression in proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in development and disease. 

Psychosocial Aspects of Gene Disorders  312 (3cr) Analyzes psychosocial consequences of genetic disorders for each member of the family, impacts on life plan, decision-making, coping strategies, and approaches to counseling for such psychosocial consequences. Case studies are included together with development of skills in psychosocial interviewing and pedigree construction. Enrollment is limited.

Ethical, Legal, Social Issues in Medicine 313 (3cr) This course introduces students to ethical and bioethical issues confronting healthcare providers in the context of health care delivery and research. Students are introduced to the main theories and principles of bioethics and the moral foundations of patient-provider relationships, professionalism, relevant ethical and legal considerations and the concepts of moral reasoning. By utilizing the Bebeau Grid method to collect and analyze case information, students to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to identify and analyze ethical dilemmas and to construct well-reasoned responses to the dilemmas and resolving case material presented in the small group class sessions.

Cancer Genetics I: Clinical Aspects of Cancer 315 (3cr). This advanced elective course focuses on the genetics of cancerspecifically clinical aspects of cancer.  Course format follows two hours of didactic lectures with one hour of an active learning component, bioinformatics and labs.  This course will provoke dialogue by engaging class participation in questions & answers, as well as targeted discussions of information on the lecture topic gathered from other resources.  The course is designed as a valuable resource for mainly graduate and health professional trainees, with interests in genetics and clinical cancer genetics.   This course serves as a prerequisite to Cancer Genetics II: Molecular Aspects of Cancer.

Mutation Human Genes 412 (2cr). This course is structured for research ideas and current advances in genetic and biochemical alterations  as a tool for clinical and translation research. This entails an integration of current events and data into the learning modality that utilizes current peer reviewed journal articles. This course focuses on using the substantial array of literature and bioinformatics to develop skills for analyzing data and addressing concepts of interpretation of data. Current peer reviewed publications are the materials used to generate an active learning education that supports group teaching, individual communication, and development of analytic skills. Course format is seminar based where students will present a 2-3 page written summary on the topic covering the molecular lesion, biochemical pathology, and a specific clinical disease associated with the genetic mutation of topic.


National Human Genome Center

As the only research center of its kind at a predominantly African American university, the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) is singular in its capacity to provide leadership for America and the global community in genetic studies of diseases common in African Americans and other people of color throughout the African Diaspora.  In concert with the mission of Howard University, particular emphasis at the NHGC is placed on providing education opportunities of exceptional quality for African Americans and other historically disenfranchised groups.  The NHGC is also dedicated to attracting, sustaining, and developing a cadre of research scientists, who through their investigations, are committed to reducing health disparities among ethnic groups, preventing disease and promoting health.

The National Human Genome Center (NHGC) Molecular Genetics Training Program accepts and supports promising students who seek research training in molecular genetics, genomics, and related clinical fields. The overall goal of these programs is to promote interdisciplinary, collaborative and innovative research training in areas relevant to the mission of the National Human Genome Center at Howard University.

The NHGC is a strong, valuable, and supportive center for supervising, training, and developing the professional scholarship if residents of the Genetics & Human Genetics department.

Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI)

The RCMI Program focuses on the enhancement and further development of the necessary research infrastructure which will ensure the University’s ability to contribute to the investigation of diseases and provide collaborative consolidation of instrumentation, technical expertise, and support personnel to enhance the impact and availability. These research infrastructure components include the expansion of two research core laboratories: The Laboratory of Molecular Computations and Bioinformatics (LMCB), the Proteiomics Core Facility and the Biomedical NMR Laboratory (BNMR).

New efforts and programs are being developed to train Genetics students in bioinformatics and computational biology.

Sickle Cell Disease Center

The Center is committed to a six-fold goal that includes comprehensive medical care, research, testing, education, counseling, and community outreach. Recently, the Center has expanded its clinical research program and developed a collaborative consortium with Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) and in working together with Howard University Hospital and NIH.

The Center has a long history of major participation and leadership in national and international research projects that have led to the development of effective therapies for sickle cell disease. With many of the basic molecular issues in sickle cell disease being better understood, major research efforts now focus primarily on clinical issues such as treatment for the disease.

The Center for Sickle Cell Disease offers clinical services and patient care:

  • A weekly outpatient clinic for adults with sickle cell disease.
  • Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease Services
  • Sickle Cell Disease Patient Screening
  • Group support meetings – Families Advocating for Children and Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

The Center for sickle cell disease has trained Genetics students in research-intensive thesis and dissertation projects that have produced scholarly work.

Cancer Center

Howard University Cancer Center (HUCC) is our natural ability and strength to address cancer disparities with an emphasis on those cancers that disproportionately impact African-Americans, in particular. There are three overarching programmatic areas in the Cancer Center: (1) cancer biology; (2) cancer etiology; and (3) cancer prevention, control, and population sciences; whereby cancer disparities represent the underlying theme of the research focus.

The ultimate goal of the Cancer Biology Program is to translate basic laboratory results from the bench to the bedside. Research activities that are currently underway in the cancer biology program include the following: (1) prostate cancer genetics; (2) methylation profiling and risk of colorectal cancer; (3) differential transcription factor activation of H. pylori; (4) triple negative breast cancer in young African-American women; (5) nicotine, biogenic amines and depression; and (6) in vivo NMR spectroscopy for noninvasive pharmacokinetics.

The Cancer Etiology Program focuses on epidemiologic research among predominantly African-Americans and underserved populations. This program examines risk factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of developing cancer risk and its precursors.

The Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Science Program’s goal is to reduce the burden of cancer measured by incidence, morbidity, and mortality utilizing behavioral and clinical research interventions.

The department of Genetics and Human Genetics and the Division of Medical Genetics have faculty in the Cancer center that assist in the training and prospectus documents of our Ph.D., masters, and masters in counseling students.

The steps in the application process are as follows:

  • Complete all aspects of the application for medical school.
  • Submit a brief letter of interest in applying for the M.D. Ph.D. programs to the program director.
  • The M.D./Ph.D. program committee will review the application to medical school. If a candidate meets the minimum eligibility criteria, he/she will receive a supplemental application for the combined program.
  • The program committee may invite a candidate for a visit to the campus for an interview.
  • Concurrent with the visit, a candidate will also be invited to apply to the graduate department of his/her choice through the Graduate School.

The application for the M.D./Ph.D. program should be returned to: 

Kareem Washington, Ph.D. 
Director M.D./Ph.D. Program 
Howard University College of Medicine 
520 W Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20059
email: kareem.washington

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