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Genetics - Graduate Program

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics - Graduate Program
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About The Program

Kenneth Scott, Ph.D. with students

The program in Molecular and Human Genetics requires a full-time commitment to graduate studies and research. In order to encourage our students. To fulfill their potential and to excel in their work, we provide one of the most competitive stipends in the country. Students enrolled in 2012-2013 will receive:

  • $29,000 per year
  • Tuition and medical insurance

Students who obtain funding through personal fellowships receive an additional $3,000 bonus from the Dean of the Graduate School.

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Graduation Requirements

The requirements for graduation include the following:

  • Successful completion of 30 credit hours of required courses and electives
  • Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination
  • Conduct of an original research project
  • Submission and defense of a doctoral dissertation

For the didactic phase of graduate training, students participate in a set of core courses developed as a joint graduate school effort during the first three terms. Through these courses the students obtain a broad, coherent background in basic aspects of genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, and cell biology. This material is supplemented with journal clubs and more advanced courses in molecular and classical genetics and modern applications, including genomics and gene therapy during the later terms.

For information about many of these courses, please visit Core Curriculum.

Students may also take relevant elective courses offered by other programs at Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, The University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, or the University of Houston at any time during their graduate school tenure.

First Year

The concentration of the course work in the first year enables the student to progress relatively rapidly to full-time laboratory research efforts. During the first year students also participate in a minimum of three laboratory rotations. Through these rotations, students obtain valuable hands-on experience in laboratory techniques and become acquainted with a variety of research topics before selecting a major thesis advisor.

The research interests of the department span a very broad range. We are studying the basic principles of DNA replication and repair, DNA recombination, cell cycle control, aging, differentiation, and development in a variety of model organisms from E. coli through yeast and Dictyostelium to flies and mice. Studies in model organisms are tightly integrated with studies on the genetic basis of the human condition. We have an extensive program that addresses a variety of genetic diseases. Students who participate in the program can obtain experience in both the basic and the applied aspects of the research. Please visit individual faculty pages for detailed information and additional topics.

Available Fall 2013, NEW Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Systems Biology (BiGSB) Track

We have introduced a new track in our graduate program that will train students in Bioinformatics, Genomics and Systems Biology (BiGSB, pronounced BigsBee). This new track will be available for students entering in Fall 2013.

Students who select this track will take at least 10 credit hours of computational courses based on the list provided by the BCM CIBR in consultation with one of the program directors. Students who join the track will also attend the CIBR seminar series in addition to the regular Genetics seminars.

Applicants interested in participating in the BiGSB Track will apply to our program, but should indicate their interest in BiGSB in the Personal Statement on the Graduate School application.

Second Year

In the first term of the second year of study, the students write a detailed research proposal on a topic of their choice. They defend the proposal to a qualifying examination committee composed of faculty from the department. Upon successful completion of the examination and course work, the student is admitted to candidacy to pursue a thesis research project under the direction of the major advisor and a thesis advisory committee. Following admission to candidacy, students receive a $1,000 travel grant from the department to initiate their participation in national meetings.

Students are strongly encouraged to publish their work in international, peer-reviewed journals and to participate in national and international meetings. Publications by our students are often in the top ranked journals in the world, and many of our students have been the recipients of prestigious awards for their work. The final step to completion of the Ph.D. is the preparation of a thesis and presentation of the thesis research work at a formal seminar, followed by a dissertation defense to the thesis committee.

Throughout the tenure of the graduate students at Baylor College of Medicine, attendance at departmental seminars and journal clubs is strongly encouraged. Several excellent seminar programs exist in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, as well as in the other departments. The department also sponsors an annual two-day research retreat where faculty, students, and postdoctoral trainees present and discuss their research in an informal interactive atmosphere.

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