Graduate Program

PhD Program

Our PhD program is designed to foster the development of scientists capable of doing advanced biological research. We offer students research opportunities in:

Our faculty share a common interest in genetic processes. As a result, our students benefit from the high degree of interaction and cooperation among laboratories.

Our program, taken on a full-time basis, requires a total of 90 credit hours. Credit hours include coursework, seminars, and research. The average course load is 12 credit hours per semester.


For a comprehensive review of the PhD requirements, see the PhD Handbook. For information about how to apply to the program and for financial support, see the application process page.

Years One and Two

Each student rotates in three laboratories in the first year, at the end of which he/she chooses a faculty advisor by mutual agreement. Students also take five to six courses over their first two years (selected according to background and research interests) and serve as teaching assistants for two semesters in order to gain teaching experience.

Qualifying examinations are normally taken in June of the second year.

Completing Your Degree

After passing the qualifying examination, students form a thesis advisory committee to help guide them in their research. Completion of the PhD usually takes six years.

Communication and interaction are essential parts of being a scientist. Our students benefit from multiple opportunities to attend seminars by distinguished outside speakers, participate in formal and informal journal clubs and discussion groups, and present their research to their peers.