The program in Genetics and Development provides a broad, solid education in genetics and animal development, with rigorous training in critical thinking and experimental design. Genetics is central to all of biology and the training program is guided by the principle that understanding the genetic control of development and physiology is a fundamental goal of biomedical research.
We offer training in a diverse range of research areas that include the regulation of gene expression, cell differentiation, and growth control, the molecular genetics of embryogenesis, cell patterning and organogenesis, the genetics and pathogenesis of inherited disease, the molecular genetics of cancer, molecular physiology, stem cell biology, the genetics of recombination and linkage analysis and human genetics and genomics, biological modeling of human diseases, and the development of targeted therapeutics as part of Columbia's Precision Medicine Initiative. Model organisms from yeast to mouse complement studies of human genetics and development. Twenty-nine faculty from nine different departments make up the training faculty providing an interdisciplinary yet collegial group of mentors all making use of genetic approaches in their research. This faculty is dedicated to the highest standards of graduate education.
Research training begins with rotations through three research laboratories in the first year, after which each student chooses a laboratory for thesis research. At the end of the second year and beginning of the third, students complete a two-part Qualifying Examination based on a research project. Students are closely supervised at all stages of their training, and have access to faculty advice through their thesis advisor, Qualifying Examination Committee and Thesis Research Advisory Committee, or TRAC. A Training Committee oversees the program and the progress of all students. After rotations and all required courses an M.A. degree is awarded, and an M.Phil. degree is awarded after completion of the Qualifying Examination. Training is completed with the successful defense of a thesis, usually 4-6 years from entry into the program. For more information regarding the training program, please refer to our Student Training Handbook link below:
The training faculty for the Program in Genetics and Development includes all the faculty of the department as well as additional faculty in other departments who have special interests in Genetics and Development.
The department's laboratory facilities are modern and well equipped for virtually all kinds of genetics research. The laboratories of the departmental faculty are located primarily in the Hammer Health Sciences Center at the Columbia University Medical Center. Classrooms and the Augustus Long Library, the largest biomedical library in New York City, are in the same building. Graduate students may also use the University's other excellent facilities for research and scholarly activity, including, in particular, those of the Department of Biological Sciences on the main campus, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute on the Health Sciences campus.
Financial Aid and Housing
The training program in Genetics and Development is supported by an NIH T32 training grant from the National Institute of General Medical Science. The graduate program provides full support for all graduate students, including tuition, fees, health insurance and a living allowance. For the academic year 2017-2018, the stipend is $38,352. Housing for graduate students is available in the area of the Columbia University Medical Center, at West 168th Street, as well as at the main campus of the University, at West 116th Street. A free shuttle bus runs frequently between the two campuses. Rents for shared apartments begin at approximately $1,000 per month. It is also possible to live in any of a number of diverse communities and to commute to the campus by public transportation from areas such as Riverdale, Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side and across the river in New Jersey.
A newly renovated Health Club is located at the Bard Hall dormitory on the Medical Center Campus. There is a swimming pool, weight room, two squash courts, and aerobics classes. All facilities at the main Morningside campus of Columbia University are available to students from the Medical Center. The cultural resources and most area of New York City are easily accessible by subway from the Medical Center. Inexpensive student tickets for theater, concerts, ballet, opera, and sports events are frequently available, and many of the great museums are open to students at very modest or no cost. The ethnic variety in the city's populace adds to its appeal. There are superb beaches on Long Island and in New Jersey, and the Adirondack, Catskill and Berkshire mountains are within easy driving distances of the city and accessible by public transportation.
CAREER PATHS OF PAST TRAINEES
At the completion of training, Genetics and Development graduates are prepared for research careers in areas of genetics, molecular genetics, and developmental genetics. We maintain a database of the current positions of former trainees to track their careers at different stages and to provide contacts in industry and academia. Of 32 recent graduates, 78% are currently in postdoctoral research positions. Of the remaining 22%, one each is in law school, investment banking, data management, scientific consulting, science-related market research, health communications and science teaching. In other words, almost all graduates enter research or science-related careers immediately following training.
Of 32 past trainees who graduated 6-10 years ago, over 90% are in science-related careers. Some have moved into tenure track academic positions, many are in research associate or postdoctoral positions, some are consultants, and there is a scattering of other careers such as intellectual property lawyer, scientific editing, and university administration. Only a few are in non-science related careers, such as film making and finance, although they may take advantage of their training in a different capacity in these careers.
We are committed to the goal of promoting interdisciplinary, collaborative and innovative research training to a diverse trainee population, including students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and individuals with disabilities, and welcome applicants from these groups. Columbia University provides a warm, supportive and accomodating environment with services provided by the Office of Disability Services.
Students should apply by December 4th for admission the following September. The General Test of the Graduate Record Examination is required. Subject Tests are recommended, but not required. Students entering the program are expected to have had one year each of physics, general and organic chemistry, biology, and calculus. If all of the course requirements have not been met prior to admission, deficiencies may be made up by the addition of the appropriate courses to the student's program. All applicants for admission and financial aid are handled through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and by the Graduate Program in Basic Cell and Molecular Biology.
Online Application - https://phdapply.cumc.columbia.edu/
For More Information:
Chair, Training Committee
Department of Genetics and Development
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University
Hammer Health Sciences Center, Room 1602
701 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
Telephone: 212 342-0818
Fax: 212 923-2090
Graduate Program Coordinator