A major in genetics can prepare you to work as an assistant in a genetics lab or for graduate school in the field. Genetics incorporates many branches of science, from chemistry to biology, so you will need to have basic science skills in order to understand your core genetics classes. High school classes in chemistry, biology, calculus and even physics can help you get ready for a major in genetics.
Like every other major, your genetics degree requires that you complete your college's core requirements. Because a genetics degree is a Bachelor of Science, your school's core requirements may place a stronger emphasis on math and science, and you might be required to take more math and science classes than students pursuing a Bachelors of Arts. You will still need to take classes in the humanities. At Louisiana State University, for example, students have to take eight hours of foreign language classes, 12.5 hours of communication classes and 15 hours of general education courses in the humanities.
To predict outcomes of experiments, understand data from genetics studies and fully master the process of genetic reproduction and coding, you will need a strong math background in algebra, calculus and statistics. At Louisiana State University, for example, students have to take Calculus I and II and statistics. If students have already taken calculus, they can choose instead to take a course in mathematical modeling for the life sciences.
General Science Classes
During the first two or so years of your college career, you will need to take science classes that prepare you to understand the complexities of genetics. At Clemson University, for example, students take courses in biology, physics and organic chemistry. At Louisiana State University, students are required to take between 37 and 40 hours of science classes called "supporting sciences" -- courses that prepare students to understand upper-level genetics classes.
After you have completed your school's core requirements and taken your prerequisite science classes, you will begin courses in genetics. The number of genetics courses you take depends upon the school you attend and your specific course of study. At Louisiana State University, students take between 32 and 36 hours of genetics classes. Your classes might include molecular biology, genetic engineering, plant genetics, evolutionary genetics, biology of microorganisms and analytical genetics.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.