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Who should apply? The UCSD Genetics Training Program provides advanced courses, discussions and professional interactions in genetics and genomics for students already enrolled in a UC San Diego doctoral program. Students typically enter through the Biological Science, Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics & Systems Biology, or Neurosciences PhD programs, each of which serves a diverse set of research interests. We also train students in appropriate areas of Bioengineering or Public Health Epidemiology. Students from diverse backgrounds and students with disabilities are supported in each of these entry programs and are especially encouraged to apply to the Genetics Training Program at the end of their first year. Candidates who need assistance or accommodations in the application/interview process should contact the respective degree program or the UCSD Office for Students with Disabilities. As part of their graduate training, students from each entry program conduct laboratory rotations in a variety of laboratories, including laboratories headed by Genetics Training Program Faculty.

How does it work? After Spring quarter, the Director will host information sessions for rising second year students who are interested in the Genetics Training Program. Students who join laboratories of Genetics Training Program faculty may self-nominate or be nominated by their mentors based on academic merit, research performance, and the training relevance of the student's thesis research problem to the Genetics Training Program. Nominations and applications are invited from all Program Faculty and First Year Students in each of the major feeder programs through an email call letter at or shortly after the end of Spring quarter. Applications are reviewed by the Steering Committee, which also ranks eligible students for potential support from an institutional training grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences.

Students begin the Genetics Training Program in Fall of the second year of graduate study, after completion of the core requirements in their program of origin and after choosing a thesis research topic with an appropriate mentor. Students spend the majority (3 years) of their graduate school careers as Genetics trainees, resulting in strong identification with this program throughout their graduate studies. Genetics students retain full affiliation with the degree program through which they entered, and elective coursework is intended to simultaneously satisfy requirements of both the student's degree program and the Genetics Training Program.

How do I get into a UC San Diego PhD program? For more information regarding admissions, training opportunities, and program requirements any of the degree entry programs, please follow the links above or search the program name from the main UC San Diego web site.


Updated 2023/07/07:

The 2023 application deadline is Wednesday, July 19, at noon.

Applications should be assembled as a single pdf and emailed to the program director.

Any student entering the second year of a UC San Diego doctoral program and working in genetics and genomics is welcome to apply. We strongly support workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students from underrepresented backgrounds or working with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Students must have a primary dissertation adivsor in the program faculty (see faculty page). New faculty are welcome to apply as mentors and can be considered together with their student.

Student applications must be a single pdf containing:

1. Nomination letter from the proposed mentor. The letter should indicate that the PI supports the student's full participation in the program, has adequate resources for the student’s thesis research, and supports the student’s career goals. Letter must address PI's mentoring plan for the student and document that the mentor has completed mentor training, such as NCLAM or FMTP. The letter should also address the mentor's contributions or current commitments to the Genetics Training Program (teaching in a GTP course, service on a standing committee, efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion, etc.) and outcomes of any past GTP trainees in the mentor's lab.  If the student contributes to the program’s diversity and inclusion goals, please note this as well. 1-2 pages max.

2. Student’s research goals–Specific Aims. A brief description by the student of the what the dissertation work aims to accomplish and in broad strokes how it will be done. This should be in the format of an NIH Specific Aims page. One page limit (be structured and direct–reducing font size, kerning, or margins is not advisable). Cited literature may be added as a separate page. Students are highly encouraged to engage their thesis advisor in mastering this format.

3. Biosketch. Students should include their NIH biosketch. Use the Personal Statement to describe your long-term objectives and provide context to your work or academic record. Honors, awards, and publications are not required at this early career stage, but should be included in the biosketch if you have them. Contributions may reference public preprints if any (e.g., bioRxiv, medRxiv, etc.).

4. Undergraduate and Graduate transcripts. Undergraduate transcripts should be available from the degree program through which the student entered, unofficial graduate transcripts from BLINK are fine for graduate marks at UCSD.

5. Optional materials. No other materials are required or expected. Students may include up to two pages for certifications, test scores, or other material they deem relevant that is not represented in sections above. Optional material must not duplicate or circumvent page limits of other sections.

Students who plan to apply to the Genetics Training Program should generally take graduate level Genetics (BGGN223, BIOM252, or equivalent) during the first year. Applications will include a brief description of the proposed thesis research relevant to genetics or genomics, a nomination letter from the proposed mentor, and copies of undergraduate and first year graduate transcripts. The research proposal should emphasize the questions being asked and the general approach that will be used to address them. Nomination letters should indicate the mentor's level of support for both the student and the program and may highlight aspects of the student's qualifications, background, or abilities beyond grades or test scores that should be considered.

Faculty who wish to join the Genetics Training Program are encouraged to contact the program director directly to discuss mentor expectations. For review by the Steering Committee, faculty should submit a single pdf containing their current NIH Biosketch and Other Support pages, a statement of research, and a statement of mentoring philosophy, teaching and service relevant to the Genetics Training Program. Relevant teaching should focus on graduate courses listed on the GTP courses page or required first year core courses for degree programs from which we draw students. Mentors need to complete mentor training such as CIMER, FMTP, or NCLAM before sponsoring a student. The Steering Committee can review new faculty affiliations at the same time they review Student Applications.

NIH Biosketch instructions: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm

NIH Other Support: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/othersupport.htm