Genetics is the study of heredity in its general sense and, particularly, is the study of genes. The discipline of genetics forms one of the central pillars in biological studies and is also related to other disciplines such as agriculture, medicine, and biotechnology.

Since the beginning of human civilization, humans have started studying hereditary traits of plants and animals. This continuous search for answers has pushed for the development of scientific inquiries until the advent of modern-day genetics known today. Various educational and research institutions have consistently led at the forefront of the science of genetics, rising above others. Here are the top seven genetics universities worldwide!

Top Genetics Schools in the World

1. Harvard University

Harvard University’s history started with the creation of the first college in the American colonies in 1636 and got its current name in 1639 upon recognition of its benefactor, John Harvard. The Charter of 1650 called for the incorporation of Harvard College, while the Massachusetts Constitution recognized Harvard as a university in 1780.

Harvard University created the Department of Genetics in 1981 upon realizing the study of genetics as an important emerging field. Years later, Harvard has been recognized as a top university for genetics across the globe, recruited various talented faculty, and initiated several programs to push forward the genetics discipline in Harvard.

Although the graduate studies of genetics in the Department of Genetics, the undergraduate course for the discipline is under the Department of Molecular Cellular Biology. Through this setup, Harvard was able to rapidly advance in the field while providing countless contributions to science. Harvard University remains at the top of international rankings for genetics education and research.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was incorporated in 1861, in its first building in Boston, until its transfer to Cambridge in 1916. MIT is among the top universities for genetics in the world that focuses on joining academic knowledge and practical purpose to guide itself in creating innovations and improving its disciplines further.

MIT’s Department of Biology focuses on teaching, research, and service in biology. The department incorporates molecular cell biology in all aspects of answering and exploring biological inquiries. The Department of Biology aims to mentor the next generation of field experts while upholding excellence, innovation, and leadership in genetics.

MIT has maintained its relevance in the field of genetics through recruiting a strong faculty with multiple awards and recognitions to ensure the best possible mentoring program for its students. MIT, through the Department of Biology, ensures access to state-of-the-art genetics research facilities for its students and researchers. Such focus on excellence and support to its community places MIT in the upper bracket of genetics university rankings worldwide.

3. Stanford University

Stanford University is another excellent school for genetics in the world that started in 1885 through the initiative of Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Stanford to provide accessible education to the people of California. Stanford officially opened its doors in 1891 and has since then created innovations to advance the various disciplines taught in the institution.

The history of Stanford University’s Medical Center predates the establishment of the university itself as Stanford adopted an already existing Cooper Medical College in 1908 to remake the institution as Stanford’s School of Medicine. Years later, the Medical Center has advanced with countless innovations and contributions to society.

The quality of Stanford Medicine’s faculty is unparalleled as several teachers are Nobel Prize recipients as well as other awards and recognitions. The facilities are constantly modernized to keep up with the demand of the evolving medical research field, especially in genetics. Stanford University maintains its top spot in international university rankings for excellence in genetics teaching and research.

4. University of California – San Francisco

The University of California – San Francisco is a leading institution for genetics across the globe that traces its history to 1864 when South Carolina surgeon Hugh Toland founded a private medical school in San Francisco named Toland Medical College. The medical college was then affiliated with the University of California until it gained autonomy in 1964 under the name University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

The UCSF Institute for Human Genetics was established by Charles Epstein in 1967 as the Division of Medical Genetics under the Department of Pediatrics. A series of UCSF faculties and researchers have pushed the study of genetics forward since the 1970s, greatly contributing to medical advancements and technologies.

Due to the research and service orientation of the Institute for Human Genetics, the institution does not have its undergraduate and graduate programs. However, its teaching faculties and researchers provide academic support to several graduate programs that teach topics under genetics. The setup did not stop the Institute for Human Genetics from gaining prestige for its excellence in the discipline. UCSF is currently one of the best schools to study genetics worldwide.

5. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University’s name came from its benefactor, Johns Hopkins, who believed in improving public health and education in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, followed by the institutions for publication and health care. Today, the university focuses on investing in its students and facilities to create better experts and more innovations in the medical field.

The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is one of the departments under the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The department started in 1959 as the Department of Microbiology with an outstanding faculty that eventually became Chairs of Microbiology at other medical schools.

In the 1980s, the Department of Microbiology was renamed by the administration to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics since a majority of the faculty’s research focus deals with basic molecular genetics. The following years were characterized by rapid facility expansion and recruitment of young, talented teachers and researchers, making Johns Hopkins University one of the best genetics universities across the globe.

6. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s history dates to 1740 when a plan to erect a Philadelphia charity school was initiated but was unfinished. In 1749, Benjamin Franklin organized a group of trustees, restarted the educational institution, and named it Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania.

The Department of Genetics, under the Perelman School of Medicine, delivers a world-class genetics program and provides support to various core facilities that are important to various services and research laboratories in the School of Medicine. The genetics department also maintains a talented team of faculty members that will ensure top-notch training for its students and researchers.

Over the years, the Department of Genetics has consistently delivered innovations to genetics, benefitting the medical and health care community worldwide. These advancements to genetics are done by constantly updating its facilities and training its genetics community. The University of Pennsylvania remains at the highest ranks of international universities offering genetics.

7. University of Washington

The University of Washington started in 1861 and is one of the well-known public universities for ecology globally. The institution aims to preserve, advance, and disseminate knowledge to its students and, in turn, the world. Innovations were initiated, ensuring the university’s place was above the standard for years.

The University of Washington’s Division of Medical Genetics was created through Dr. Arno Motulsky in 1957. Since the Division of Medical Genetics is one of the very few medical institutions that provide training in medical genetics, physicians interested in the field joined the division and went on to become faculty members of other schools in the United States and Europe.

The passion for genetics research and teaching, pioneered by Motulsky, was carried over to the current administration and faculty of the University of Washington. The university, through the Division of Medical Genetics, remains one of the best in the discipline of genetics worldwide.


I hope that this article on Best Schools for Genetics in the World was helpful. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad.