Biological Sciences

Program Category: PhD Programs
Chair: Brent Stockwell
Directors of Graduate Studies: Iva Greenwald and Songtao Jia
Degree Programs: Full-Time: MA, MPhil, PhD

Please visit this page to learn more about the Biological Science PhD program.

The Biological Sciences PhD program is an interdisciplinary training program based in the highly-esteemed Department of Biological Sciences on Columbia’s Morningside (116th St.) campus in Manhattan.

Research areas include Cancer and Disease Biology; Cell, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology; Evolutionary Biology, Comparative Genomics and Population Genetics; Genome Organization, Maintenance and Expression; Genomics, Computational and Systems Biology; Microbiology; Neuroscience; Structural Biology, Biophysics, Chemical Biology and Biochemistry.

Faculty Mentors, listed here include all active research faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences and selected faculty from the Department of Chemistry and from various departments of Columbia University Medical School. Program faculty laboratories are mostly on the Morningside campus but also on either the Manhattanville (125th St.) or Medical Center campus (168th St.).

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) also hosts PhD programs in the biomedical sciences, which can be explored here.

Those programs include some mentors and research areas that overlap with the Biological Sciences PhD program. Applications to both Biological Sciences and a CUIMC program is permitted, but they are separate applications.

Key features of the Biological Sciences program include the following:

  • Many Faculty Mentors are unique to the Biological Sciences program (and not available through CUIMC programs).
  • The constellation of program mentors provides access to world-class research training and engagement in a wide variety of disciplines to an interactive cohesive student community.
  • Training in the program also includes (i) an emphasis on developing presentation and teaching skills, (ii) extensive mentoring and network support, (iii) broad choices for coursework and (iv) diverse opportunities related to career development and outreach.
  •  The program is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • All students in the program receive a funding package consisting of a competitive stipend and coverage of tuition and fees, as well as guaranteed subsidized housing in an attractive, vibrant and friendly neighborhood very close to the Morningside campus.

Special Application Requirements
The Biological Sciences PhD Program requires applicants to enter at least three names of program faculty who might serve as their potential advisor. Please review the list of research faculty and enter the names of your proposed advisors in the space provided in the GSAS application. This information, together with your “primary program subfield” selection, a personal statement, and statement of academic purpose, helps us to evaluate your interests and potential match with the program.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.