Skip to Main Content

Graduate Program

The program of study leading to the PhD degree emphasizes a broad approach to the fundamental principles of genetics, development and molecular biology combined with extensive research training. The program is designed to permit close interaction between graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty, while also encouraging full participation in the larger community of biological scientists at Yale.

The PhD program in Genetics is designed to provide the student with a broad background in general genetics and the opportunity to conduct original research in a specific area of genetics. The Genetics student is expected to acquire a broad understanding of genetics, spanning knowledge of at least three basic areas of genetics, which include molecular, cellular, organismal, and population genetics. Normally this requirement is accomplished through the satisfactory completion of formal courses, many of which cover more than one of these areas. Students are required to pass at least six graduate level courses.

Yale Genetics Grad Student Symposium

Students enter the Genetic Graduate Program following the completion of their first year of studies within the BBS Program. Normally students entering the Genetics Graduate Program have selected a faculty thesis advisor with an appointment in the Department of Genetics. Advanced graduate study becomes increasingly focused on the successful completion of original research and the preparation of a written dissertation under the direct supervision of a faculty advisor along with the guidance of a thesis committee.

A qualifying examination is given during the second year of study. This examination consists of a period of directed reading with the faculty followed by the submission of two written proposals and an oral examination. Following the completion of course work and the qualifying examination, the student submits a dissertation prospectus (by the end of the sixth term) and is admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree. There is no language requirement.

The completed research is presented in the form of a written dissertation and a formal seminar. Typically four to six years are required in total to complete work for the PhD degree.