Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Degree Programs 

Genome Sciences

Department Overview

S-250 Foege Building

The Department of Genome Sciences was created in 2001 with the merger of the Department of Genetics and the Department of Molecular Biotechnology.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
S-340 Foege Building, Box 355065
(206) 616-7297

The Department of Genome Sciences offers a graduate program leading to the doctor of philosophy degree. Students are admitted only to the doctoral program.

The faculty and students of the Department of Genome Sciences study a broad range of topics, including the genetics of E. coli, yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila, and mouse; human and medical genetics; mathematical, statistical, and computer methods for analyzing genomes and theoretical and evolutionary genetics; and genome-wide studies by such approaches as sequencing, transcriptional and translational analysis, polymorphism detection, and identification of protein interactions. Successful completion of the graduate program, generally over a period of five years, leads to the PhD in Genome Sciences.

The department's goal is to address leading edge questions in biology and medicine by developing and applying genetic, genomic, and computational approaches that take advantage of genomic information now available for humans, model organisms, and a host of other species.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate or advanced degree, either in a science such as biology, biochemistry, or related field, or in a computational area such as computer science or mathematics. The ideal candidate has experience in both areas. The most competitive applicants have excellent GRE scores as well as extensive laboratory research experience.
  2. Personal statement describing the applicant's academic and scientific background, research goals, and motivation for applying
  3. Curriculum vitae
  4. Unofficial copies of transcripts.
  5. Unofficial copies of GRE scores (and TOEFL scores, for international applicants). Applicants who have provided official scores to the UW Graduate School need not send additional copies.
  6. Three letters of reference from professors or others who are able to provide insight on the applicant's qualifications. Reference letters may be submitted online or by hard copy.
  7. Applicants still in school who will have earned additional courses not yet listed on the transcript should send a list of such additional courses to be taken before graduation.

Degree Requirements

90 credits, to include:

  1. First year: Core courses, covering such topics as gene regulation, genomics, genetic analysis, genomic informatics, computational biology, proteomics, and population genetics, as well as literature review. Students rotate through a minimum of three laboratories before selecting a thesis laboratory at the end of the first year. Actual courses are determined in consultation with adviser.

    Electives focused on specific areas of interest. Students have the option of selecting mentors from core faculty members in the Department of Genome Sciences as well as from adjunct and affiliate faculty members from several UW departments and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

  2. Second year: Thesis research and additional electives. At the end of the second year, the student takes the general examination for PhD candidacy.
  3. Third year: Students serve as teaching assistants for two undergraduate courses.
  4. Final years: Most students complete their research and defend their dissertation during their fifth year.
  5. During all years, students participate in the departmental Journal Club and research reports functions, and attend presentations of well-known researchers via the departmental seminar series.

Financial Aid

Genome Sciences provides full funding, including a competitive twelve-month salary, tuition waiver, and health insurance. Support is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress.

Research Facilities

The department is located in the William H. Foege Building. Students are assigned space in the laboratories of faculty members with whom they do their rotations or dissertation research. State-of-the-art research facilities are available in the department for cellular, protein, and DNA analysis. Extensive computer and library resources are available to students.