Graduate Program in Genetics & Genomics
This document contains general information about our graduate program, the application process, and admissions criteria. Additional information can be obtained from the Graduate School of the University of Florida.
Latest awards won by Genetics and Genomics graduate students
Katie O’Shaughnessy’s award-winning embryonic little skate photograph is currently on display at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Katie’s photograph won the FASEB BioArt image contest in August 2013. The winning images were on display on Capitol Hill and then moved to a display at the NIH main campus. In addition to this honor, the NIH director, Francis Collins, even wrote about Katie and the Cohn Lab’s research of non-model organisms in a recent blog post. Katie is a Genetics/Genomics graduate student and works with Marty Cohn, Professor and HHMI Early Career Scientist, in the Cancer & Genetics Research Complex.
Tamar Carter has been awarded a United Negro College Fund Dissertation Fellowship. The UNCF /Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships help graduate students complete coursework, conduct research, and prepare the dissertation required for a doctoral degree in the biomedically relevant life or physical sciences and engineering. Tamar is only one of twelve students in the country to receive this award
Description of the UF Genetics Institute
The University of Florida Genetics Institute is a multi-college, multi-faceted research center. What defines our institute, and our graduate program, is our philosophy that good geneticists are integrative geneticists, who incorporate many different subfields of genetics into their work. Accordingly, interests in the faculty span everything from basic research to applied work, with an emphasis on synergy between faculty. Our core mission is to improve the quality of life of people throughout the world via integrative, genetics-based research. Accordingly, our faculty interests, and graduate research opportunities, includes areas from advances in gene therapy to understanding the maintenance of genetic variation, from understanding plant immune responses to developing improved algorithms for identifying regulatory motifs in DNA sequences, and from the challenges of bioethics to strategies for controlling malaria. See the main UFGI web page for general information about our program, and our graduate faculty list of research interests and contact and publication information.
There are currently 28 Ph.D. students enrolled in the Genetics & Genomics Graduate Program, representing a mix of domestic and international students whose research covers many different topics in genetics and genomics. Approximately half of the students are female. At this time we do not have a Master’s program.
Our program’s physical heart is in the brand-new Genetics Institute Building, but due to the cross-college nature of the program, faculty and labs are found across the campus. Supporting facilities include theMarston Science Library , the Health Science Center Libraries , the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, the Powell Gene Therapy Center , the Center for Pharmacogenomics, the Evelyn F. & William L. McKnight Brain Institute, the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste ,the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience on the Atlantic Ocean near St. Augustine.
This is a competitive program; fulfillment of the criteria specified below is not in itself sufficient for admission. In particular, the Research Statement required as part of the application is very important to the admissions decision. You must describe your research interests, so that we can evaluate your knowledge of the discipline, your fit to the program, and your ability to articulate and motivate an interesting research problem. The required letters of recommendation are also extremely important in helping us identify applicants with exceptional aptitude for genetics, and with research experience and promise.
We encourage prospective students to establish a dialog via email, letter, or telephone with one or more faculty members whose work interests you prior to applying to our program. You might start by sending them your CV and other relevant information, and to discuss your scientific interests and research ideas with them. This dialog may assist you in identifying faculty members with whom you would like to conduct first-year laboratory rotations.
Student laboratory rotations are a particularly exciting feature of the Genetics graduate program, and epitomize our philosophy that good geneticists are broadly trained and integrative. Many current faculty members still vividly recall the transforming effects of their rotations during graduate school – they didn’t always end up where they expected! Rotations can open your eyes to areas of genetics that you had never considered, and entice you into considering brand new career opportunities. Each student will sample the breadth and depth of genetics research at UF by carrying out three 8-week modules consisting of design, implementation and analysis of genetics experiments. Each rotation is conducted in close association with a faculty member whose work interests you. To ensure that you fully experience the impressive breadth of genetics research at UF, your rotations will be hosted by faculty in at least two different Colleges (e.g., College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; College of Medicine; College of Pharmacy; College of Veterinary Medicine etc). Several sessions of our weekly seminar series will be dedicated to student presentations of rotation plans and results, in order to provide you with speaking opportunities and to increase general awareness among faculty of ongoing research projects. We consider the rotation program to be a centerpiece of your first year in graduate school, during which you will identify a faculty member who will serve as your major advisor for the remainder of your program. Students will be provided the opportunity to present their rotation plans and results to faculty and other students during a regularly scheduled student seminar series.
To apply for the program, please visit the Graduate School Application Information page, read the instructions, and complete the online application form. You will be requested to select the program you are applying for. Please select the button for Genetics & Genomics, noting that this program is not IDP Biomedical Sciences-Genetics. To ensure that your application is routed correctly, please email Ms. Hope Parmeter , the graduate secretary, and let her know that you have applied.
Admissions Standards (GPA; GRE)
The Graduate School requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a grade point average (GPA) for the last 2 years of undergraduate studies of B (3.0/4.0) or higher for admission to the University of Florida. In addition, applicants must obtain acceptable scores (equal to or greater than the national mean) on all three components (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Exceptions to the above requirements require recommendation by the program and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. The standards for admission to Graduate Study in Genetics are higher, but vary from year to year depending on the level of competition and upon other aspects of the applicants record (GRE and GPA are not any more important than other aspects of your application). In general, please arrange to take the GRE so that we may be assured of having your scores no later than early January. The GRE subject test in Biology is not required for application to this program.
Information for International Applicants
If you are not a U.S. citizen or do not hold a U.S. Permanent Resident Visa you must apply as an international student for admission to the graduate program. Additional information can be obtained from the International Center.
Due to the fundamental nature of genetics in the life sciences, our training program is distributed across several colleges here at the University of Florida, including but not limited to the College of Medicine, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Agricultural and the Life Sciences. The University of Florida possesses world-class, state-of-the-art training and research opportunities in genetics and genomics. Because of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of genetics and genomics, geneticists, bioinformaticians, statisticians, and computer scientists, among others, will participate in core training for our genetics students. Additional training is available in microbial, molecular, plant, mammalian, population, quantitative, and statistical genetics.
|Year||Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|First year||Advanced Genetics,PCB 5065 (4 credits)||Genomics & Bioinformatics, GMS 6181 (3 credits)|
|Statistical Methods Research II,STA 6167 (3 credits)||Advanced Molecular & Cellular Biology (3 credits)|
|Seminar in Genetics,GMS 6290 (1 credit)||Seminar in Genetics,GMS6290(1 credit)|
|Laboratory Rotations, BCH 7979 or ANG 7979(1 credit)||Laboratory Rotations,BCH 7979 or ANG 7979(1 credit)|
|Ethics in Genetics,GMS 6221 (1 credit)|
|Subsequent years||9 credits including Seminar in Genetics, GMS6290(1 credit)||9 credits including Seminar in Genetics, GMS6290(1 credit)|
Our program is designed to give students a solid, interdisciplinary foundation in the first year, with opportunities for specialization in the second year and beyond, while students are required to participate in the genetics seminar and at least one colloquium, each student will follow and individual program of courses and requirements developed in consultation with his/her major professor and supervisory committee. (See listing of genetics courses offered at UF.) In the first semester, students will take a foundation class in genetics, PCB 5065 ,as well as a course in Statistical Methods in Research II, STA 6167. In the second semester, Genomics and Bioinformatics (GMS 6231), Advanced Molecular and Cellular Biology (BCH 6415) and Ethics in Genetics (GMS 6221) are required. There is some flexibility depending on students’ specific background and interests. The core training in the first year is the research rotation program, in which students have the opportunity to “rotate” through three labs in a minimum of two colleges. Rotations are critical to selecting a graduate advisor: they provide a hands-on opportunity to participate in the research being conducted in a lab, and a mutual opportunity to evaluate fit between advisor and prospective student. In addition, students will participate in the genetics seminar beginning their first semester and continuing throughout their graduate career; this seminar provides students the opportunity to get feedback on their research, and practice in public speaking. In the second year and beyond, while students are required to participate in the genetics seminar and at least one colloquium, each student will follow an individual program of courses and requirements developed in consultation with his/her major professor and supervisory committee.
The deadline for receipt of applications is December 15th. There is no guarantee that materials received or completed after that date will be reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Note that we admit new students at only one time during the year. Notification of admissions decisions are generally made starting from early March and continuing until April. The graduate program begins in the Fall semester. Routine questions about the program and the application process can be directed to the Graduate Coordinators Dr. Connie Mulligan and Dr. Jorg Bungert, Questions about admissions decisions and detailed questions about the program can be directed to the Graduate Coordinator,
First year funding is provided by the graduate program. In subsequent years, funding will be provided by research assistantships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, or some combination of these mechanisms, provided by your dissertation mentor. The University of Florida offers graduate fellowships (Presidential Fellowships, Alumni Fellowships, and Grinter Fellowships for doctoral students; Graduate Minority Fellowships for master’s and doctoral students; see also UF Graduate Fellowship Initiative. McKnight Doctoral Fellowships are provided to African-American students by the Florida Education Fund (for further information and application forms, contact the FEF, 201 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 1525, Tampa FL 33602, (813) 272-2772; application deadline December 16).
The Genetics Institute will make every effort that students have support for 4-5 years while a PhD student. All appointments are contingent on satisfactory progress in the program.