PhD and MS in Molecular Genetics and Genomics FAQ

1. Who can apply?

Students who meet our requirements have at least a bachelors degree with major preparation in the sciences. We look for strong enthusiasm and aptitude for scientific research and evidence of ability.  For early consideration, interested students should apply by November 1.

2. How do I apply?

You complete an application at If you would like to talk with our Graduate Officer Professor Russell Finley, Jr., Ph.D. about the program or have any individual questions about the application process, please feel free to contact him at

3. What are the CMMG admission standards?

Applicants should have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 majoring in biological or chemical sciences and in most cases will also have experience in a working laboratory environment. Applicants provide official academic transcripts and Graduate Record Examination scores. International applicants must be proficient in English and demonstrate above average performance on the TOEFL English proficiency examination. Applicants will have three letters of recommendation. A personal statement describing an interest in molecular biology and genetics and future and career plans is required. All admission materials should be sent directly to the Ms. Suzanne Shaw, Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics. Applicants meeting admissions criteria will be selected for interview.

4. What will I learn?

You will develop the basic current knowledge of the field as well as the tools that will let you keep up with new developments when your current knowledge becomes dated. In addition, you will learn the process of asking and answering scientific questions with a critical mindset that will of course apply to your research and perhaps also to your broader role in society.

5. How long will my study period to a degree be?

Course work will typically be finished or nearly finished by the second year (during which you will have chosen an advisor and started your thesis research). The total time to graduation is 4 to 6 years for most students.

6. Which courses would I take?

All students in PhD programs in the School of Medicine are required in their first year to take a common core course in Interdisciplinary Cell and Molecular Biology (IBS 7015). Our students in Molecular Genetics and Genomics also take courses in Functional Genomics and Systems Biology (MBG 7030), Advanced Human Genetics (MBG 7600), Research Training in Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG 7460) and Computer Applications in Molecular Genetics (MBG 8690). In their second year our students take Advanced Topics Courses (MBG 8680) and Scientific Communication II (MBG 7091).

7. When will I start working in the lab?

You will normally do three research rotations during the first year, starting soon after you arrive. The goal will be to pick a lab where you would like to carry out your dissertation research. Programs during the first few weeks that will introduce you to faculty members and their research programs will help you choose your research rotations.

8. What level of student support is available?

Students accepted into the Center’s PhD program are eligible for a stipend of over $20,000. In addition, students moving from out of the Detroit area are eligible for a one-time moving offset of $500.

9. What is the MD/PhD program?

Students of exceptional ability and motivation can apply to the combined MD/PhD program. Briefly, if you are accepted you would complete the first two years of medical school, then complete a research thesis for the PhD degree, and finally return to medical school for the final two years. A number of combined degree students have completed their PhD portion in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics.