Learning Outcomes

The Ph.D. in genetics will:

  • develop students' ability to learn relevant literature, and to design and complete successful experiments with rigor and reproducibility;
  • develop students' ability to communicate concepts, present and publish scientific data, and interact with diverse audiences;
  • facilitate students as they acquire teaching skills and develop teaching effectiveness in the classroom and in the laboratory; and
  • prepare students for diverse careers in the discipline.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in genetics requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.00. The program is designed to promote collaborative investigation and intellectual interaction among students and faculty participants affiliated with several different departments.

Students who enroll in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to obtain a broad background in genetics, including molecular, population, and human genetics. Within this context, course requirements are flexible enough to permit students to tailor their formal coursework to their individual needs. All students are required to do some teaching as part of their development as future scientists and faculty members.

Students have the option to declare a Ph.D. emphasis in computational genetics.

All students enrolled in the program are required to take the following courses.

All of these:
GENE:6150Genetic Analysis of Biological Systems3
GENE:6200Special Topics in Genetics (seminar)1
GENE:6210Seminars in Genetics1
GENE:6234Basic Biostatistical Methods with Genetics Applications1
BMED:5207Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology3
One of these:
GENE:7191Human Molecular Genetics3
BIOL:3713Molecular Genetics4
BIOL:4333Genes and Development3
All of these:
BMED:7270Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research I0
BMED:7271Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research II0
Elective coursework in molecular and microbial genetics, cell and development genetics, human genetics, or computational genetics8
Seminar courses approved by the program5

Even more important than formal coursework is the opportunity to do significant research in genetics. Research interests of the participating faculty include virtually all areas of genetics, ranging from bacteriophage genetics to human medical genetics. In each area of genetics, there is a group of faculty members who have closely related interests.

The University is strong in several related disciplines, including microbial physiology, enzymology, virology, protein biochemistry and molecular biology, computational genetics, and developmental and cell biology, all of which contribute significantly to the overall training program.

In addition to completing research and coursework, students must pass a comprehensive examination, usually at the end of their second year in the program.

Associated Courses

Credit earned in the following courses may be counted toward the Ph.D. in genetics. Not all courses are offered every year.

BIOS:6720Statistical Machine Learning for Biomedical and Public Health Data3
BIOS:7330Advanced Biostatistical Computing3
BMB:3310Practical Data Science and Bioinformatics3
BMB:4310Computational Biochemistry3
BMB:5243Biophysical Chemistry I, Module I1
CS:5430Machine Learning3
EPID:5241Statistical Methods in Epidemiology4
EPID:6250Genetics and Epidemiology3
FRRB:7001Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer3
IGPI:6480Knowledge Discovery3
MICR:6268Biology and Pathogenesis of Viruses2
MMED:6220Mechanisms of Cellular Organization3
MMED:6226Cell Cycle Control1
MMED:6227Cell Fate Decisions1
NSCI:7235Neurobiology of Disease3
PCOL:6225Growth Factor Receptor Signaling1
STAT:4580Data Visualization and Data Technologies3

Ph.D. and Dental Scientist Training Program

Ph.D. students in genetics who have earned a D.D.S. degree may be candidates for advanced training programs in dentistry. For information, contact the College of Dentistry.


Students may work toward the Doctor of Medicine degree and a Ph.D. in genetics in a combined degree program offered by the Carver College of Medicine and the Graduate College. Applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the combined degree program. See the Medical Scientist Training Program (Carver College of Medicine) in the Catalog.

Prospective students should have a strong undergraduate science background and a strong commitment to research in genetics. Previous coursework should include general genetics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and introductory physics and mathematics. However, deficiencies can be rectified during the first year as a graduate student.

Students who want to apply online should view the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics website. For additional information, see the program website.

Students generally begin graduate work in the fall semester.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

All students receive a financial stipend of $31,500 plus tuition for the 2022-23 academic year. Financial support comes from training grants, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, scholarships, individual research grants, or other departmental or college funds. All students are required to teach as part of their development as future scientists and faculty members.

See Financial Assistance on the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics website and Cost and Funding on the Graduate Admissions website for more information.