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Please Note: Program Changes

The Genetics program is now an emphasis area within Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Biosciences and is not accepting students for fall 2015; please go to the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Biosciences site to learn more about this new program and apply.


Providing exceptional research opportunities in genetics — ranging from molecular, cellular, and biomedical genetics to computational analysis of molecular evolution, populations, and genomes — while promoting the academic and professional development of our students

Genetics is a remarkable field in which classical concepts combine with cutting edge approaches to reveal the mysteries of biology. These exciting developments are reflected in the Intercollege Graduate Program in Genetics.

Program overview

Four Genetics graduate students talk about the program and why they like it. Read the transcript.

  • Provides training opportunities with more than 100 faculty members. Laboratory rotations allow incoming students to work with several faculty members to assess multiple opportunities for doctoral thesis research and explore new areas within the diverse field of Genetics.
  • Trains graduates for rapidly expanding careers in Genetics: at academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, private research institutes, and governmental research laboratories. Training in the Genetics Program encompasses the full spectrum from the molecular to the population level in a wide range of model systems.
  • Supports cutting edge research with well-equipped laboratories and facilities. These include a suite of specialized instrumentation and core research facilities providing excellent support for Genetics research. In addition, highly sophisticated hardware and software resources are available for research involving bioinformatics and computational methods.


The Genetics program is highly focused on student development through:

  • Exceptional research and training opportunities
  • A curriculum designed to impart depth and breadth in Genetics
  • A variety of professional development activities, including a student-organized annual research symposium featuring guest lectures by leading geneticists from around the world as well as presentation of research conducted by our own students and faculty.

These efforts support the primary goal of our program: to provide bright and talented young scholars with the opportunity and freedom to realize their great potential in the field of Genetics.

Faculty Spotlight
Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
The discovery of a "maternal age effect" by a team of Penn State scientists that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells — and the transmission of these mutations to children — could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. Children born to older mothers have greater rates of mitochondrial mutations - Full article
Genetics Ph.D. candidate Elyse Muñoz and faculty researcher Dr. Scott Lindner study the malaria parasite. Video profile: Elyse Muñoz & Scott Lindner - Full article
Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biosciences Ph.D. candidate Marta Byrska-Bishop and faculty researcher Dr. Ross Hardison study genomics and gene regulation in relation to inherited diseases. Video profile: Marta Byrska-Bishop & Ross Hardison - Full article
Penn State World Campus is offering a new graduate certificate in applied bioinformatics that will train a new generation of biomedical researchers in computational thinking and procedures. Penn State launches new online graduate certificate in applied bioinformatics - Full article
Research-to-startup program helps build entrepreneurship among scientists including Huck Institutes faculty researchers Tony Jun Huang and Gong Chen. Ben Franklin's TechCelerator turns promising research into startups with promise - Full article