The Genetics and Genomics Graduate Program
The Interdepartmental Genetics and Genomics (IGG) graduate program trains students to become the next generation of practicing geneticists in careers that range across basic and applied sciences. Students enroll in doctor of philosophy [Ph.D.] or master of science [M.S.] degree programs to complete training via a coursework curriculum and through research with a faculty mentor they choose from among fourteen participating departments. The diversity of faculty in the IGG program ensures a broad, well-balanced education from the best instructors, while offering flexibility in choice of research specialization. Genetics and Genomics faculty have strengths in many areas, from fundamental studies at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels, to research with immediate practical application. Ongoing research projects span all the major areas of theoretical and experimental genetics, including molecular studies of gene regulation, systems biology, developmental genetics, functional genomics, transposable element studies, quantitative and mathematical genetics, evolutionary genetics and genomics, and population genetics. Consistent with the ISU mission, our graduate students learn to leverage these approaches to address grand challenges in biology and biotechnology related to agriculture, medicine, and other areas.
Student applications are reviewed by the Genetics and Genomics Admissions Committee and then admitted by the approval of the IGG Chair. Students are admitted either to participate in several research rotations with different Genetics and Genomics faculty before deciding on a major professor and laboratory, or to directly join a specific lab and department and commence their program without research rotations. The rotations are administered as a course (GENET 697, Graduate Research Rotation) as part of the first year curriculum.
Brief History of Program
From 1973 to 1992, graduate degrees in genetics were awarded by the Departments of Genetics and then Zoology and Genetics. By 1991, Iowa State University had faculty geneticists housed in 12 departments and four colleges, underscoring the interactions of genetics with other disciplines. After the dissolution of the Department of Genetics in 1990, Professor Joan Stadler proposed restructuring genetics into an interdepartmental program to promote faculty collaborations and provide the best graduate student training. Participating departments quickly approved this proposal, and a Curriculum and Training Plan was developed. In anticipation of final approval, student recruitment for admission began in spring 1992 for fall 1992. The Board of Regents formally approved the Interdepartmental Genetics (IG) major in September of that year. IG arose from "grass roots" ideas by the faculty that were supported and allowed to flourish by a forward-looking administration, and embraced by graduate students.