PhD and MS in Molecular Genetics and Genomics FAQ

1. Who can apply?

Students who meet our requirements have at least a bachelor's degree with major preparation in the sciences. We look for strong enthusiasm and aptitude for scientific research and evidence of ability.

2. How do I apply?

You complete an application at If you would like to talk with our Graduate Officer Professor Russell Finley, Jr., Ph.D. about the program or have any individual questions about the application process, please feel free to contact him at

3. When is the application deadline?

Applications to our PhD program submitted by December 15, 2024 will be given priority consideration. Applications received later will be considered based on available funding at the time. Our application deadline for our MS program is March 31, 2024.

4. What are the CMMG admission standards?

Applicants to the PhD Program should have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 majoring in biological or chemical sciences and in most cases will also have experience in a working laboratory environment. Applicants should have their official academic transcripts and three letters of recommendation sent directly to us. The Graduate Record Examination is optional (not required), but if taken, the scores should be sent directly to us. International applicants must be proficient in English and demonstrate above average performance on the TOEFL English proficiency examination.  A personal statement describing an interest in molecular genetics and genomics and future and career plans is required. Applicants meeting admissions criteria will be selected for interview.

5. What will I learn?

You will develop the basic current knowledge of the field as well as the tools that will let you keep up with new developments when your current knowledge becomes dated. In addition, you will learn the process of asking and answering scientific questions with a critical mindset that will of course apply to your research and perhaps also to your broader role in society.

6. How long will my study period be?

Course work will typically be finished or nearly finished by the second year (during which you will have chosen an advisor and started your thesis research). The total time to graduation is 4 to 6 years for most students.

7. Which courses would I take?

All students in PhD programs in the School of Medicine are required in their first year to take a common core course in Interdisciplinary Cell and Molecular Biology (IBS 7015). Our students in Molecular Genetics and Genomics also take courses in Genetics (MGG 7015), Functional Genomics and Systems Biology (MGG 7030), Advanced Human Genetics (MGG 7600), Research Training in Molecular Genetics and Genomics (MGG 7460), Biostatistics (FPH 7015), and Scientific Communication (MGG 7091), and choose from other elective courses in Bioinformatics, Quantitative Data Analysis, and other specific subjects.  MS students take some of the same classes. See recommended and required classes for the MS Program.

8. When will I start working in the lab?

You will normally do three research rotations during the first year, starting soon after you arrive. The goal will be to pick a lab where you would like to carry out your dissertation/thesis research. Programs during the first few weeks will introduce you to faculty members and their research programs and help you choose your research rotations.

9. What level of student support is available?

Students accepted into the Center’s PhD program are eligible to receive a Graduate Research Assistantship, which includes an annual stipend of $32,000 plus subsidized dental, medical, and vision insurance, and fully paid tuition. In addition, students moving from out of the Detroit area are eligible for a one-time moving offset of $500. Currently, there are no fellowships or scholarships available for first-year MS students.

10. What is the MD/PhD program?

Students of exceptional ability and motivation can apply to the combined MD/PhD program. Briefly, if you are accepted you would complete the first two years of medical school, then complete a research thesis for the PhD degree, and finally return to medical school for the final two years. A number of combined degree students have completed their PhD portion in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics.