Each Molecular Genetics undergraduate student has access to a faculty member who will serve as your major advisor. Your major advisor can help guide you through coursework specific to the Molecular Genetics major, including coordinating pre-requisites with core courses and choosing elective courses. Your major advisor can also help you find research positions, and give you advice on career options. It is a good idea to get to know your major advisor early, as they can best help you the better they know you. You also have an Arts and Sciences advisor who can provide advice about GEs, general advice about the major, and help you do things like sign into classes that require permission.
Find your advisor:
Dr. Gregory Booton (Last Names: A-M, coordinating advisor)
578 Aronoff Laboratory
Dr. Harald Vaessin (Last Names: N-Z)
972 Biological Sciences Building
Dr. Gregory Booton (Plant Molecular Genetics Advising Questions all students)
578 Aronoff Laboratory
Undergraduate Honors Advisors:
Dr. Harold Fisk (last names beginning A-L)
216 Biological Sciences Building
Dr. Anita Hopper (last names beginning M-Z)
800 Riffe Building
Arts and Sciences Advisor for Molecular Genetics Contact Information:
Who is my Molecular Genetics major advisor?
For most Molecular Genetics students, your advisor can be found from the above list of four Undergraduate Advisors based on your last name; Dr. Gregory Booton (last names A-M), or Dr. Harald Vaessin (last names N-Z). However, you can also contact Dr. Gregory Booton, the Molecular Genetics coordinating advisor, if you need help contacting your major advisor. Once you have found or been assigned a major advisor, contact that person to arrange an appointment.
Can I get academic credit for undergraduate research?
Yes! Once a student has found a faculty member willing to host them in their lab for an undergraduate research project, they can sign up for MG 4998/4998H (or the equivalent) under that faculty member. Up to three credit hours can count towards the major (either as an elective credit or to waive the lab course requirement). Further credits count towards graduation, but not towards the 30-hour major program.
How much time must I spend in the lab to get credit for undergraduate research?
The credit given for undergraduate research varies with the type of research, and is up to the discretion of individual faculty members, but ranges between 1 credit hour for every 3-5 hours per week a student spends in the lab. However, because no more than 3 semester hours can be counted toward the Molecular Genetics major, students should not get too caught up in how much credit they receive, and it is common for student to receive 1-2 semester hours for a modest commitment in a lab, and 3 semester hours for a larger commitment.
How much undergraduate research can I count toward the MG degree?
Up to 3 semester hours can be counted as elective credit toward the 30 hours needed in the Molecular Genetics major under the semester system. Students with research credit under quarters should contact their major advisor to determine how that credit will count toward the major requirements.
Can I use undergraduate research to waive the lab class requirement?
Yes! Molecular Genetics majors are required to take one of the Molecular Genetics laboratory courses (either MG 5601 or MG 5602) as part of the Molecular Genetics core series. This requirement can be waived if a student accumulates at least 4 semester hours over two different semesters (the semesters do not need to be consecutive). This waiver must be approved by your major advisor, as noted by their signature on your major advising form or honors contract, and MG 4998/4998H credit in excess of or 4 semester hours cannot be counted toward the Molecular Genetics major. Students with research credit under quarters should contact their major advisor to determine how that credit will count toward the major requirements.
Can I use undergraduate research to write an honors thesis? (see also next FAQ about a non-honors thesis)
Yes! Students who wish to write an honors thesis must enroll for MG 4999H, Honors Thesis Research in Molecular Genetics. This option is limited to Honors students with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher. In order to write an honors thesis, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.4, file an application to graduate with honors and research distinction with the ASC Honors Office at least two semesters before graduation (the necessary paperwork can be obtained from the ASC Honors Office or online at aschonors.osu.edu/honors/research-thesis), and accumulate a minimum of 4 semester hours of MG 4999H. For students interested in also waiving the lab course requirement, it is important to note that when MG 4999H is used toward an honors thesis it cannot be counted toward the 30 semester hours required for the Molecular Genetics major or used to waive the lab course requirement.
I am not an honors student, can I still write an honors thesis?
Yes! Any student who has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is eligible to write a thesis and graduate with research distinction in Molecular Genetics, provided they maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, complete 4 hours of MG 4999 (Thesis Research in Molecular Genetics), and file an application to graduate with research distinction with the ASC Advising Office (or online) at least two semesters before graduation (the necessary paperwork can be obtained from the ASC Advising Office or online at ascadvising.osu.edu/node/192). For students interested in also waiving the lab course requirement, it is important to note that when MG 4999 is used toward a thesis it cannot be counted toward the 30 semester hours required for the Molecular Genetics major or used to waive the lab course requirement.
Can I waive the lab class requirement and write an honors thesis?
Yes, provided you have conducted a sufficient amount of research to fulfill both the lab waiver requirements (two semesters and 3 semester hours of 4998/4998H) and the thesis requirements (4 hours of 4999/4999H). These are separate requirements, and both ASC Advising and the ASC Honors Council stipulate that a thesis must reflect work beyond what is required for the major. Accordingly, none of the MG 4999/4999H credit required used toward a thesis can be counted toward the 30 semester hours required for the Molecular Genetics major. The typical thesis student takes 4998/4998H (which can be used as elective or to waive the lab course requirement) until their senior year, when they prepare a thesis proposal and apply for graduation with research distinction, and sign up for 4999/4999H. Typically, this means a one and a half to two-year commitment to research and requires that you begin research early in your junior year.
Do I have to work in a Molecular Genetics lab to get credit for research?
No. There are many outstanding labs outside of the department, and 4998/4998H and 4999/4999H courses from other departments in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences will be counted as the equivalent of MG 4998/4998H and/or MG 4999/4999H in regard to elective credit, waiving the lab course requirement, and writing a thesis as discussed above. In general, 4998/4998H or 4999/4999H courses from other colleges will also be counted as the equivalent of MG 4998/4998H or MG 4999/4999H. It is also possible to get credit for working in labs in other colleges, such as the College of Medicine, where 4998/4998H and 4999/4999H courses are not available. In such cases MG advisors can serve as co-advisors for faculty in other departments to enable your receiving credit, and you must contact your Molecular Genetics major advisor to determine whether you can get credit for your research.
What do I do if I start under quarters but finish under semesters?
Don’t panic! The changes in the Molecular Genetics major due to the semester conversion are minimal. The biggest change is that the majority of topics from the first two courses in the Molecular Genetics core series under quarters (MG 605 and MG 606) were combined to create the first core course under semesters (MG 4606), while the population and quantitative genetics components of 605/606 were used to create MG 5645. If you completed MG 605 and MG 606 before the semester conversion, you have completed the equivalent of MG 4606 and MG 5645, and thus do not need to take MG 5645, although you may take MG 5645 as an elective course if you wish. However, if you did not finish MG 606 by spring quarter 2012, you will have to begin the core series again under semesters. Of greater concern for students who begin under quarters are sequence courses in other departments (e.g. inorganic and organic chemistry, math, and physics). Some of these departments offer bridge courses for students who were partway through a series before the semester conversion. One other area of concern is the total credit hours needed to graduate with a Molecular Genetics degree for students who begin under quarters and finish under semesters. Generally speaking, quarter hours are multiplied by 0.67 to determine semester hour equivalents, and the total number of semester hour equivalents must equal 30 semester hours. However, you should meet with your major advisor to discuss exactly what you need to complete to graduate.