The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology - PhD

Division: Biological Sciences
Degree Type: PhD

Program Description

GGSB is the new name of the interdepartmental committee previously known as the Committee on Genetics. GGSB is a partner of the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology (IGSB). The program is aimed at training PhD scholars for careers as independent scientists in basic and applied biomedical research and education. The Graduate Program in Genetics, Genomics, & Systems Biology offers a program of basic study leading to Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics. Our PhD training program combines a foundation in modern genetic analysis with training in current methods for formulating and addressing biological questions in the context of complex systems. Such systems are studied in physiological, developmental, and evolutionary contexts. The Genetics, Genomics, & Systems Biology Program has over 78 training faculty representing 16 different departments at the University of Chicago. The presence of both basic and clinical sciences in the Division of Biological Sciences enhances the Committee's broad interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research. The Committee provides an exciting environment in which to pursue rigorous, high quality training with flexibility in designing programs to meet individual needs. The Committee's goal is to provide an intellectually stimulating, collegial and supportive environment for students to progress smoothly from research training to research independence.

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Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 1

The program admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Degree Objective

The GGSP program admits applicants only for the Ph.D. degree.

Application Requirements

  1. A completed application.
  2. Application fee of $55.
  3. Transcripts from all institutions attended after high school should be uploaded with the application.
  4. International student documents must be sent directly from the registrar’s office of the university attended.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from college or university professors who know the applicant’s work well. Individuals who have been away from school for several years may submit recommendations from their employers.
  6. Graduate Record Examination scores. We require the GRE general test scores; subject test scores will be considered, but are optional.


Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. No decisions will be given by phone or email.

Program Requirements

Graduate students in the Biological Sciences Division are required to take nine credits of coursework for the Ph.D. program. 5 required courses in Genetics, 3 electives, 2 graded lab rotations for 1/2 credit each, as well as the Faculty Research Seminar Series and an ethics class.

In September of the second year of the program, students take the Preliminary Exam as a first step towards candidacy for their Ph.D. This is an oral exam in front of an exam committee during which students present answers to questions given to them two weeks in advance.

Most of the second year is spent developing a research project. A Thesis Advisory Committee is chosen by each student in consultation with his or her mentor and the GGSB Student Advisory Committee. A written research proposal is presented to the Thesis Advisory Committee in advance of the first meeting during which the student presents and defends their proposal. Following the initial meeting, the Thesis Advisory Committee meets on a regular basis throughout the remainder of the student's training to provide advice. All students in the Biological Sciences Division are required to serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for two quarters. This usually occurs during the second and third years. After passing the Qualifying Exam, the student will spend full-time on their thesis research, while continuing to attend seminars, journal clubs, and other educational meetings. Finally, each graduate student writes a dissertation describing his/her research, presents the work in a public seminar and defends it before his/her Thesis Advisory Committee.

Costs & Financial Aid

The Division of Biological Sciences offers academically qualified applicants complete and equitable support. Students in good academic standing are guaranteed an initial four years of support, which includes full tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. The graduate stipend is competitive with awards offered at comparable institutions, is established at a level affording a reasonable local standard of living, and is adjusted annually to keep pace with increases in the cost of living.