PhD

Human Genetics and Genomics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 72.1k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Dec 1, 2021
StudyQA ranking:260 Duration:5 years

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The Interdepartmental PhD Program in Human Genetics and Genomics is a multi-disciplinary program aimed at training scientists broadly in areas of human genetics and genomics relevant to human health and disease. The emerging practice of “precision medicine,” whereby clinical treatment decisions are based in part on an individual’s genomic profile, depends on “genomic literacy” among practitioners, researchers and patients. Human Genetics and Genomics is a multidisciplinary field that requires training in three core competencies: clinical, molecular, and statistical genetics. Individuals earning PhDs in Human Genetics and Genomics will have various career options, including clinical laboratory (after fellowship training and board certification), research laboratory or computational research in academia, healthcare, and the biotechnology industry.

During the first year PIBS curriculum, students will have the opportunity to take two introductory short courses: Variation & Disease and Family Studies & Genetic Analysis. Rotations through faculty laboratories provide students with hands-on experience in various research areas. The rotations also provide the student the background necessary to select their dissertation advisor and area of research.

During the second year, the curriculum focuses on core coursework in molecular and computational genetics, biostatistics, and seminars and journal clubs.

Also, during the second year, students choose to pursue one of two tracks within the program: molecular genetics or computational genetics. Course requirements differ slightly between these two paths: students in the molecular genetics track will take Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics while the Computational Genetics track students take Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology and Medical Biostatistics II.

During the second and third years of study, students formulate and defend a dissertation proposal. All students participate in a 1-credit hour clinical rotation and complete a teaching practicum during their fourth or fifth years.

The PhD in Human Genetics and Genomics (HGG) curriculum allows candidates to pursue a track in molecular or computational genetics by their second year of training; however, all students complete a core curriculum in the first three years of graduate study. Students will also participate in seminars and journal clubs in the fall and spring semesters, through all years of study.

First-year students interested in Human Genetics and Genomics are strongly encouraged to take two introductory HGG short courses in the spring semester: HGG 630 – Variation and Disease and HGG 640 – Family Studies and Genetic Analysis which are requirements for completing the HGG degree. Courses in computational / quantitative skills, including biostatistics and bioinformatics will also form part of the first year PIBS curriculum. Each PIBS student completes at least three lab rotations of nine weeks each and chooses a dissertation laboratory (and graduate program) during the latter half of the spring semester.  If necessary a fourth rotation may be possible, and in this case a laboratory choice may be deferred until June. All first year students will make short presentations to a group of faculty after each lab rotation. For these presentations the students will be divided into four groups with related research interests.

After choosing a mentor and laboratory at the end of the first year, a student becomes a member of the HGG Program. Students select and follow a track in molecular genetics or computational genetics in the first semester of year 2.  At this point course requirements differ slightly between these two paths:  Students in the molecular genetics track take Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics (HGG 650) in the second semester, while the computational genetics track students take a second course in biostatistics (EPH 602) and a course in genetic epidemiology (HGG 621).

In addition to the required core courses, all students participate in a clinical rotation and serve one semester as a teaching assistant for a core course, in their fourth or fifth year.

It is expected that on average, students will complete the program in five years.  Please review the complete course descriptions on the COURSE tab above.  The general core curriculum is shown in the Plan of Study below:

Plan of Study - Molecular Track

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall Credit Hours
PIB 701 Introduction to Biomedical Sciences 5
PIB 702 Scientific Reasoning 3
PIB 731 Laboratory Research (1 credit per lab rotation) 2
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 780 Research Ethics 1
PIB 782 Professional Development: Skills for Success I 1
  Credit Hours 13
Spring
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 731 Laboratory Research 1-2
PIB 783 Professional Development: Skills for Success II 1
EPH 601 Medical Biostatistics I 4
HGG 630 Variation and Disease (HGG program elective - Spring I) 2
HGG 640 Family Studies and Genetic Analysis (HGG program elective - Spring II) 2
  Credit Hours 11-12
Summer
PIB 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Two
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 631 Genes in Populations 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 5
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 650 Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics (Molecular Track Requirement) 3
HGG 660 Bioinformatics Theory and Practice 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 8
Summer
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Three
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 680 Genome Ethics and Public Policy 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 5
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 2
Summer
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Four
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 681 Human Genetics Clinical Rotation (Can be taken in Fall or Spring - Year 4 or 5) 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 4
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 689 Human Genetics and Genomics Teaching Practicum (Can be taken in Fall or Spring - Year 4 or 5) 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 4
Summer
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Five
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 3
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
HGG 850 Research in Residence (Final Semester) 1
  Credit Hours 4
  Total Credit Hours 63-64

Plan of Study - Computational Track

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall Credit Hours
PIB 701 Introduction to Biomedical Sciences 5
PIB 702 Scientific Reasoning 3
PIB 731 Laboratory Research (1 credit per lab rotation) 2
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 780 Research Ethics 1
PIB 782 Professional Development: Skills for Success I 1
  Credit Hours 13
Spring
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 731 Laboratory Research 1-2
PIB 783 Professional Development: Skills for Success II 1
EPH 601 Medical Biostatistics I 4
HGG 630 Variation and Disease (HGG program elective - Spring I) 2
HGG 640 Family Studies and Genetic Analysis (HGG program elective - Spring II) 2
  Credit Hours 11-12
Summer
PIB 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Two
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 631 Genes in Populations 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
HGG 621 Fundamentals Of Genetic Epidemiology 3
  Credit Hours 8
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 660 Bioinformatics Theory and Practice 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
EPH 602 Biostatistics II (Computational Track Requirement) 3
  Credit Hours 8
Summer
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Three
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 680 Genome Ethics and Public Policy 3
HGG 830 Doctoral Dissertation- Pre Candidacy. 1
  Credit Hours 5
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 2
Summer
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Four
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 681 Human Genetics Clinical Rotation (Can be taken in Fall or Spring - Year 4 or 5) 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 4
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 689 Human Genetics and Genomics Teaching Practicum (Can be taken in Fall or Spring - Year 4 or 5) 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 4
Summer
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 1
  Credit Hours 1
Year Five
Fall
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
  Credit Hours 3
Spring
HGG 601 Seminar/Journal Club 1
HGG 840 Doctoral Dissertation - Post Candidacy 2
HGG 850 Research in Residence (Final Semester) 1
  Credit Hours 4
  Total Credit Hours 66-67

Applicants to biomedical programs should have a bachelor degree in a biological or related discipline (e.g., psychology, chemistry, engineering, physics). Although there are no prerequisite requirements, courses in general biology, cell/molecular biology, calculus, general physics, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry are encouraged. ​ Applications are generally accepted from September to December for fall entry only.  Select applicants will be offered an interview. 

COMPETITIVE CANDIDATES WILL HAVE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Excellent academic record
  • Competitive GRE exam scores
  • Research experience in a laboratory setting
  • Publications of abstracts and / or papers
  • Co-authorship in a peer-reviewed journal is recommended
  • Strong letters of recommendation from research scientists who know the candidate well
  • Motivation to pursue state-of-the-art biomedical research

APPLICANTS MUST SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • GRE General Test
  • English Proficiency Exam (non-native speakers)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume / CV
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