Genetics Graduate Degree Program


Website: Genetics Graduate Degree Program's website

Phone: (608) 262-0260

Genetics-Biotechnology Center Building
425 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706


Research in our department encompasses all levels of genetic analysis, including studies aimed at understanding the structure and organization of the genetic material, how expression of genetic information is regulated throughout development, the forces that affect variation in natural populations and how the genetic composition of populations changes over evolutionary time. Research areas include: evolutionary and population genetics, cellular and developmental biology, neurogenetics, disease research, genome biology, quantitative and computational genetics, and more, with particular strengths in basic discovery-based research and model organism-to-dis-ease investigation. A primary focus is on using various experimental systems that range from simple model organisms to mice to humans to elucidate fundamental biological problems.

Our goal is to train the next generation of geneticists for diverse careers that leverage world-class expertise in genetic and genomic research. Students have a wide range of options in terms of laboratories to join and coursework to conduct; at the same time, students from our program are recognized as leaders in genetics and genomics because of the core intellectual focus of our program. An unparalleled feature of UW-Madison is the extensive level of interdisciplinary and cross-departmental collaboration, providing our students unique training experiences in doing modern biological research. We also provide diverse opportunities for professional development. UW-Madison has outstanding resources that many of our students participate in, including opportunities in entrepreneurship, teaching innovations, patent law, policy, and more. Graduates of the Genetics Training Program go on to fulfilling careers that include directing their own research labs, leading clinical genomic sequencing centers, teaching and inspiring students at small and large colleges and universities, and contributing to the rapidly expanding areas of biotechnology, agriculture, and clinical and personalized medicine.


Students accepted into the Ph.D. degree program initially receive financial aid from either an NIH training grant or graduate school fellowships. In later years, support may be derived from a research assistantship. Genetics students also receive funding from competitive fellowships such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and from cross-disciplinary UW training programs that include Genome SciencesComputation and Informatics in Biology and MedicineBiotechnology, and the Biology of Aging and Age-Related Diseases. Support is awarded on a continuing basis, subject to availability, provided that satisfactory progress is maintained toward completion of the Ph.D. requirements. Limited financial aid is available to foreign students


For admission to graduate study in genetics, the student should have earned a grade average of B or better and completed a B.S. or B.A. degree in a recognized college or university. There are no specific requirements in supporting fields, but students are encouraged to acquire adequate background in mathematics, physics, and biology. There is no formal language requirement for the Ph.D. in genetics.

The Genetics Graduate Program Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. The GRE is no longer required; however, students who have taken the exam are welcome to supply scores, which may be considered in the holistic application review. The GRE Biology or related subject test is not required, but applicants may provide scores if available. Official GRE scores should be sent to UW- Madison using code 1846. If your native language is not English or your undergraduate instruction was not in English, you are also required to submit TOEFL scores. Undergraduate research experience is also strongly recommended in order to be competitive.

Complete Applications must be received by December 1, although early submission is encouraged. Midyear admissions are not considered. Most students admitted are selected during February and March.

Successful applicants to the UW Genetics PhD program usually have at least one year of research experience at the time of application.  Such research may be in genetics or a related field.  Successful applicants have generally completed an undergraduate genetics course or have equivalent knowledge from courses or other sources.  Particular points of emphasis in the admissions process include the statement of purpose (see the following section for criteria) and recommendation letters from research advisors (letters from all recent research advisors should be provided).  UW Genetics also places a high priority on continuing to increase multiple facets of diversity in our program and our field in general.