Graduate Program


Graduate Program

The 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.

The biology department is a five-minute walk from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). In addition to the Cancer Center and the Center for Aging and Development Biology, URMC also houses the departments of:

The physical closeness of these groups facilitates intellectual exchange and collaboration among the graduate programs of the basic and biomedical disciplines.

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 a teaching assistant for two semesters in order to gain teaching experience.

Qualifying examinations are normally taken at the end of the second year.

Completing Your Degree

After passing the qualifying examination at the end of year two, students form a thesis committee to help guide them in their research. Completion of the PhD usually takes five or six years.

Financial support, health benefits, and tuition scholarships are provided to all PhD students in good standing.

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.

Master of Science in Biology

The department also awards a master of science degree. The MS degree is usually offered under Plan B (dissertation not required). The department does not offer financial support to master's students. Students may apply for financial aid through the University Financial Aid Office. A written comprehensive exam and 30 graduate credits are required for the master's completion. Courses are chosen according to the student's interests.