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Master's Program in Genetics

Master's  in Genetics

The Program continues to revise and update the genetics curriculum. One of the strengths of the Program is the flexibility it gives to its students to taylor their curriculum to their needs. Apart from the graduate seminar and research ethics, CMM 518 Fundamental Genetic Mechanisms is the only required course for students pursuing a degree in the program. This course provides a foundation of genetics concepts at the graduate level through analysis and discussion of the primary literature.


The students are asked to take additional courses distributed in the areas of genetics and genomics. Graduate-level courses in biochemistry is also an option. Please see the Classes page for more information. In 2020, the Program is reinvigorating its MS Program in Genetics. Additionally, the Program is committed to building and organizing resources in bioinformatics, offering a certificate for a concentration of coursework in this area. 


Degree-seeking students take 4 semesters of the Graduate Seminar, GENE 670 Recent Advances in Genetics, which features internal and external seminar speakers, journal club presentations by the students, and work-in-progress sessions for students to present their on-going research investigations.


The Program allows students to apply directly to conduct their thesis work with a designated faculty member.


Arizona's research laboratories offer a rich array of opportunities. You can work on the genetics of virtually any model system, study the interplay between genetics and evolution, hone your skills in genomics and bioinformatics, tackle problems in human disease or agricultural genetics. Projects have implications for control of infectious disease, feeding a hungry world, understanding basic developmental processes, and understanding human genetic disease in animal models.



The intellectual power and wide-ranging experiences of your fellow students will elevate and inform your education. In the Graduate College of the University of Arizona, the students bring to the educational process outstanding intellectual abilities, impressive academic credentials, and very diverse personal experiences. Your fellow students will inspire, motivate, and befriend you.


We encourage students to share their various work, educational and cultural experiences with the genetics graduate program community. The demanding educational experience at the University of Arizona is characterized by a collegial rather than a competitive environment and is highlighted by the informality and friendly atmosphere found in the Southwest. Students play an integral part in the governance of the Graduate College through the Graduate and Professional Student Council, which promotes the academic, economic, and social aims of graduate and professional students of the University of Arizona and advocates on their behalf, as well as graduate student representation on GIDPAC.


University and Tucson Environment

The Genetics GIDP derives great intellectual strength and interdisciplinary perspective from the diverse academic resources of the University of Arizona. In addition, excellent library facilities and computer resources, world-class museums, good health services, and insurance benefits, and a wealth of cultural activities -- from opera to basketball games -- are available to you as a member of the University of Arizona community. The life of a great university becomes part of your life as a graduate student at the University of Arizona, from lectures by Nobel Laureates to the thrills of national basketball and softball championships to stargazing on the University Mall with renown astronomers. Click here and choose from one of the many tours of the University.



Students are generally supported for their first year in the program and are thereafter supported by the lab Principal Investigator. Students are encouraged to apply for funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, or appropriate philanthropic agencies to gain valuable experience in grant applications and to develop skills needed for a career in the sciences. Students can apply for additional support through fellowships offered by the Genetics Program or from other University of Arizona graduate education and research grants for predoctoral studies. Students that work with Principal Investigators that are part of NIH-funded training programs, such as the Cancer Biology T32, can apply competitively for this funding. The Graduate College can also arrange Teaching Assistantships to provide support for tuition and stipend costs. There are additional fellowship/scholarship opportunities available for specific purposes such as travel to scientific conferences, including the Zukowski Travel Award, which is intended specifically for Genetic GIDP students, and the Herbert E. Carter Travel Award exclusively for students in GIDPs.

Master’s Program Requirements.
The Graduate College mandates that 34 hours of coursework, plus thesis credits, in which regular grades (A/B/C or P) can be earned, and are numbered at the 500 level or above. Master’s students are expected to complete this coursework and a research project within two years, barring exceptional circumstances. The courses must be completed by all Genetics Master’s students. In some cases, certain Program requirements may be waived if equivalent coursework has been completed previously. However, if a waiver is desired, the student must submit a written petition to the Program Committee, which will either grant or deny the waiver. Individual faculty are not authorized to waive any of the Program requirements without prior approval of the Program Committee. Transfer credit from other institutions can be applied to an advanced degree if "approved by the head of the Program, the grade earned is "B" or above, and it was awarded graduate credit at the institution where the work was completed." (For additional information see the UA Graduate College website, If waivers are granted for coursework taken at other institutions, these courses are referred to as "Transfer Credit" by the Graduate College, and must be listed as such on the Master’s Plan of Study form (in UAccess Student, GradPath, after completing the Transfer Credit form). The Master’s Plan of Study must be filed during the third semester.

Expected Student Learning Outcomes for Genetics GIDP

Upon completion of a graduate degree in Genetics students will:

  1. Students demonstrate a strong knowledge of research methods, including analytical and statistical procedures. Students use multiple research approaches to collect scientific data related to their research area and can interpret, analyze, and critique their data.

  2. Students are able to describe, think critically, evaluate, and apply theoretical perspectives within genetic/genomic studies.

  3. Students are able to define a research area and design a research plan, which involves current and cutting-edge methods in their field of specialization within genetics/genomics, to conduct independent research, including ethical considerations.

  4. Students communicate their research (importance, approaches taken, summary, and interpretation of results) effectively through oral presentation.

  5. Students communicate their research effectively in writing as evidenced in written assignments, manuscripts, etc.

Please feel free to contact the Genetics program chair, Nathan Ellis or (520) 626-7979. We welcome your interest, offer encouragement as you begin the admissions process and wish you success in your genetics graduate program career.

Graduate Coordinator, Genetics GIDP 520-626-1452

Last updated 24 Aug 2020