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Graduate Studies in Molecular Genetics

Welcome to the Graduate Program in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University!

The Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics gives graduate students the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in molecular biology at one of the premier research institutions in the country. Our faculty use diverse model systems to explore questions of fundamental interest to basic biology and human disease. Our graduates go on to diverse and productive scientific careers in a variety of research areas

The graduate faculty in the department study a wide range of exciting problems in molecular genetics. The breadth of faculty interests and expertise will ensure that any graduate student will receive a stellar education and will be exposed to research questions which align with their interests and hone their skills. 

Program Overview

The Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics offers a course of study and research leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. Our program provides a full spectrum of research training opportunities with the underlying common theme of  Molecular Genetics.  Research in individual faculty laboratories focuses on fundamental questions in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. 

A wide range of model organisms and genetic systems are employed in the ongoing research efforts. The use of models allows powerful genetic and molecular approaches to be applied to the various biological problems being studied. The goal of our graduate program is to train scientists who will be able to establish themselves as independent researchers in academia, government or industry. Meet some of our current graduate students and see where our alumni end up.

Academic Programs

Entering students take a set of Core Courses as well as Laboratory Rotations in the first year of study. The courses provide the core information required for undertaking research in Molecular Genetics, while the lab rotations provide a chance to sample first-hand the types of research being conducted in the Program. The Graduate Studies Committee serves as academic advisor to the incoming students. Both the course work and lab rotations are designed to allow students a chance to experience the "big picture" in the field of Molecular Genetics, as well as supplying the facts needed to make an informed decision for the choice of thesis research advisor. By the end of the first year, incoming students will select a thesis research advisor in whose lab a thesis research project will be conducted.

In the second year, one additional elective course is required, and is selected in consultation with the individual thesis research advisor. However, the major emphasis for the students is now on actively pursuing research projects in the lab. During the second year, students typically complete their teaching assistant requirement and form thesis advisory committees. Thesis advisory committees are composed of the major advisor and at least three additional faculty members who serve to guide the student through this part of the training program. By the end of summer of their second year, students take the Candidacy Examination. The Candidacy Exam is composed of both written and oral portions. After passing this examination, the student is officially considered a PhD candidate.  Beginning in the third year, students formally present their research project progress at least once a year. In years 3 and 5, these talks are given on a single day at the annual Scott Falkenthal Memorial Graduate Student Colloquium. This Colloquium brings together the entire department, providing a forum for the exchange of data and ideas. By completing several public presentations to the Molecular Genetics community our students are well prepared for presentations at national meetings and for job or postdoctoral interviews.

Because of the nature of scientific research, the exact time required to complete the entire Graduate Program is variable, but on average it takes five to six years.