May 23, 2018  

Genomics Concentration

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In 1953, two young scientists published the structure of DNA, a Nobel Prize winning discovery that gave birth to the interdisciplinary field of genomics. Beginning in 1990, scientists around the world embarked upon the Human Genome Project, with the goal of determining the composition of the entire human genome. The project is now complete, but there is so much more to learn from the genome: how our bodies function, how to prevent diseases, what makes different species unique, and even how life evolved on earth.

To ensure that future scientists, physicians, and policymakers are prepared to take full advantage of the genomic revolution, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a report (Bio2010) calling upon academic institutions to alter the way undergraduates prepare for post-baccalaureate education. The genomics concentration fulfills NRC recommendations to provide undergraduates with a strong foundation in biological, mathematical, physical, and information sciences. The diverse academic background provided by this concentration in the context of a liberal arts education will help prepare students of all majors for exciting fields such as drug discovery, pharmaceutical industry, biomedical sciences, patent law, and ethics.


The Genomics Concentration requires six courses that meet the criteria below, with no more than two courses “double counting” for the concentration and a student’s major. No more than three of these six courses may have the same prefix (e.g., BIO). No more than one of these six courses can be taken pass/fail.  A maximum of one transfer course credit can be applied towards the concentration if pre-approved by the advisors.

1. Three required courses

Three courses from the list below

Three courses from the list below or approved independent studies and group investigations.  However, no more than two of these three courses can have the same prefix such as BIO or CSC. The purpose of  this restriction is to foster additional diversity in a student’s curriculum. Because of their similarity, either CSC 121 or PHY 200 can be applied towards the concentration, but not both.

Application Procedure

Students interested in pursuing the Genomics Concentration should contact one of the two primary advisors (Drs. Malcolm Campbell and Laurie Heyer) as early as possible to discuss curriculum options. Those who decide to pursue the concentration must submit a written application to either of the primary genomics advisors no later than the last day of the spring term in their junior year. Certification of completion of all requirements for the concentration is made by the Registrar upon the recommendation of the Genomics Advisory Committee.

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