Discover Molecular Genetics at The Ohio State University. 
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James “Rocky” Lagno’s oncologist gave him a year to live. The diagnosis was late-stage lung cancer. An additional diagnosis of thyroid cancer soon followed and the treatments weren’t working. Not chemotherapy, not radiation. Then came a breakthrough. After a biopsy revealed a genetic mutation linked to lung cancer, James entered into a clinical trial testing an experimental cancer treatment called molecular targeted therapy designed to attack specific cancer mutations. 

That was three years ago. Ever since, two pills a day have kept James’ cancer in check.

What if we could treat other cancers just as effectively? What if we could cure schizophrenia with a targeted pill? How about bipolar disorder or heart disease? Such speculation is no longer the stuff of Science Fiction, it’s the inevitable. We stand at the dawn of what will someday be called The Century of Genetics. It is a time of remarkable discovery and innovation. No one can say where we will be in ten years, but with a degree in Molecular Genetics—whether you are preparing for a career in medicine, life sciences, or business—you will be right in the thick of things, helping shape tomorrow.


The Department of Molecular Genetics conducts advanced research in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and developmental biology. We approach scientific problems from the molecular to population levels in a number of different research areas. Current faculty research includes the study of viruses, fungi, protists, plants and animals, as well as human beings.


While in the past it was enough for every scientist to know how to use a microscope, today’s students must be familiar with everything from analyzing and manipulating the genetic material of organisms to sequencing DNA and splicing genes. Research opportunities for undergraduates exist from day one and interested students are encouraged to get involved early by exploring ongoing faculty research and getting in touch.



A Bachelors of Science in Molecular Genetics is a solid basis for a career in any number of fields from research to law enforcement to business. The majority of Molecular Genetics undergraduates pursue an advanced or professional degree but it is possible to enter the workforce directly.
  • Laboratory Research
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Forensics
  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Wildlife Biology
  • School Science Teacher
  • Public Health
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Pharmaceutical Development


The Molecular Genetics Club of The Ohio State University provides undergraduate students majoring in the biological sciences or students with an interest in genetics with an opportunity to meet discuss and learn from experienced researchers, OSU faculty, and professionals working in the field.

The Genetics and Genomics Interest Group explores the intersection between genetics and human health. Through lectures, patient panels and other activities, the Genetics and Genomics Interest Group helps students understand the connections between health and genetics , the burden of living with a genetic disease, and ethical issues related to genetics. The interest group also helps students explore possible careers in genomic medicine -- from clinical genetics to personalized oncology.

Stephan A. Reyes, Senior
Molecular Genetics major
I came into Ohio State knowing that I wanted to major in the biological sciences but I wanted something more specific than Biology since it is just too broad. That only left me with a couple of choices and from them Molecular Genetics appealed to me the most. It was specific and broad at the same time. 

The best part of the program so far would be the research. It is very easy to get into a molecular genetics lab and it really solidifies what is taught in class. This field is relatively new and experiments you would talk about in class you could be doing in a lab; this happened to me recently. I remember talking about an experiment in class and then saying to myself "Oh wow, I did that same thing about two weeks ago." It really makes what you are learning have some kind of meaning other than just text from a lecture or book.
I was exposed to genetics in high school and knew that I wanted to pursue it in some capacity in college. I was initially a biology major, but soon realized that I wanted something more specific that I could really become an expert in. Ohio state is unique in that they even offer this major in the first place. I decided to take an intro course and was immediately convinced to switch.

My favorite part of being a student in the major has been the passion and commitment exhibited by the faculty and staff. They are truly interested and involved in their research and teaching and are always there for assistance. They are especially involved in furthering the field of genetics, particularly in recruiting students and assisting them in their education/career path. It has been very easy to create bonds with many faculty members because of small class sizes and their willingness to help.
Julia Cooper, Senior
Molecular Genetics major

Justin Bale, Alumnus
Molecular Genetics & Spanish major
My initial attraction to the program was a desire to find a major that was consistent with the pre-med track but was an alternative to biology. I already had AP credit from biology, chemistry and physics going into college and had a fascination with genetics and nanotechnology which both fit with the Molecular Genetics major. It also sounded incredibly interesting, so just the name of the field was enough to get my interests piqued.

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The Bachelor of Science program focuses on studying topics in modern biology concerning how genes control cellular functions, development, and disease.
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Students interested in focusing on plant biology may earn the Bachelor of Science in Molecular Genetics with a PCMB specialization.
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The Department of Molecular Genetics offers undergraduate minors in two disciplines, Molecular Genetics and Plant Biology.
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