General Information

Request Information
Genetics (PHD) 
Program Description

Currently students are admitted only to the PhD program. The MS degree in Genetics is granted occasionally under specific circumstances.

The purpose of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics at The University of Arizona is to facilitate training and research in genetics, genomics, population genetics, evoulaitonary and systems biology under an approach that encourages the integration of multiple disciplines. The Genetics GIDP contributes to the recruitment and training of next generation researchers. A goal is to integrate computational approaches (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Engineering) and basic life sciences (Biology: Molecular, Cellular, Evolutionary, Genetics, Neuroscience, Cancer etc.). In addition to the traditionally trained biology student, the Genetics program seeks to recruit students with undergraduate degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Engineering and train them in life sciences. This program transcends the barriers normally set by department affiliations and traditional disciplines.

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs -

The Graduate College sponsors several Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) in addition to the many interdisciplinary possibilities available through regular graduate degree programs. GIDPs transcend departmental boundaries by facilitating cutting edge teaching and research at the nexus of traditional disciplines. The high value placed on interdisciplinary research and education is indicative of The University of Arizona's enthusiasm and commitment to fostering innovation and creativity among its faculty and students.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs -

The Graduate College sponsors several Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) in addition to the many interdisciplinary possibilities available through regular graduate degree programs. GIDPs transcend departmental boundaries by facilitating cutting edge teaching and research at the nexus of traditional disciplines. The high value placed on interdisciplinary research and education is indicative of The University of Arizona's enthusiasm and commitment to fostering innovation and creativity among its faculty and students.


Graduate College/GIDP  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Angela C Varas
Graduate Program Coordinator
Angela C Varas
Director of Graduate Studies
Nathan Ellis
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Lori D'Anna
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must complete at least a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent prior to enrollment in the Program.  Examples of undergraduate majors that normally constitute satisfactory preparation for graduate work in Neuroscience include but are not limited to: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Neurobiology, Neuroscience and Psychology.

The Genetics GIDP program does not have absolute criteria for GPA or GRE scores, characteristics of a strong application will generally include:

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Competitive GRE scores
  • 3 strong letters of recommendation from college professors, one of whom served as advisor for an independent research study; international students should provide at least one letter from a scientist who works in or is known well the U.S. system
  • A strong personal statement indicating basis for interest in genetic graduate study in neuroscience, relevant background, and career goals

The Graduate Admissions Committee evaluates the entire admissions file. Deficiencies in one or two of the areas described above should not discourage interested applicants from applying.

 All required documents *must be* uploaded electronically; no paper copies will be accepted during the application process.

Standardized Tests

The following is a summary of all materials that should be prepared submitted online prior to the application deadline (December 1 for PhD) in order to complete your application:

  • Graduate College Application for Genetics: 
  • Scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Scanned copies of transcripts from each college or university attended
  • A Personal Statement (see below)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (follow the instruction on the Graduate College application)
  • International students must submit TOEFL scores 

It is recommended that you keep a hard-copy of all online forms, in case there are technical problems with online transmission.

If you are admitted, you will be required to submit 2 copies of your transcripts to:

Cora Varas-Nelson
Genetics GIDP
1548 E. Drachman St.
Tucson, AZ 85721-047
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 8572-0476

Problems submitting your application should be addressed to Cora Varas-Nelson, Program Coordinator, at (520) 626-1452.

Personal Statement:

Your personal statement should be between 1000-1500 words long, and might include a discussion of your long-range goals; your reasons for pursuing an advanced degree; your interest in our program; information on your prior research experience or teaching (if any); and topics in genetics that are of particular interest to you and that might serve as the focus of your graduate program.

Letters of recommendation

All applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. These letters should be current or former advisors or instructors, and may address your previous research or laboratory experience, your academic qualification, your scientific potential, and your motivation for graduate work.

Required test(s):

Candidates for admission are required to take the Verbal/Quantitative/Analytical Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores from the advanced examinations (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, psychology) may also be included in the application, but are not required.

International students are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Minimum TOEFL: a score of 550 (paper based) or 79 (iBT) or higher.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

The current funding package for doctoral students includes:

Annual Stipend (living expenses) $27,000
Benefit: tuition) $12,512
Benefit: Health Insurance $  1,875
Benefit: Out of State Tuition (if applicable) $18,322

The funds utilized by the Program to support the doctoral student stipends are derived from Faculty contributions, Graduate College Fellowships, and Teaching Assistantships.

Graduate students are guaranteed funding for their first-year during rotations (9 months) by the Genetics GIDP/ABBS programs, pallowing the new students to spend time durint their first year exploring different labs and finding the one best suited to their own research interests. After that, the students declar the lab in which they intend to do their dissertation, the student's funding is derived from support from their faculty advisor.

Because of uncertainties in funding sources, the intention of support cannot be construed as a guarantee of continuous support to any student. However, the Genetics GIDP Program makes every effort to provide financial support to our students throughout their academic careers.

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
  • No Spring Admission

International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
  • No Spring Admission
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 4832
NRC Taxon(a) for this program: Genetics and Genomics

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

At the University of Arizona, the Graduate College sets the overall framework for the completion of the doctoral degree. Within these guidelines, the Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program establishes specific requirements and monitors student progress to ensure:

Sufficient breadth of knowledge in genetics
Sufficient depth of knowledge in the students area of specialty
Rigorous research training
Training in career skills (writing, speaking, critical evaluation of the literature)
Training in teaching skills

Typically, successful completion of the Doctoral program takes 4.5 to 5.5 years of study. Doctoral students must complete 36 units of graduate-level coursework. 18 units must be in the major subject area, must be taken as letter-grade, and must be courses at the 500-level or greater.

Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 (letter grade of B) or better to receive financial support and to be awarded a Ph.D. degree. All students in the Doctoral degree program are also expected to comply with the regulations of the Graduate College with respect to residence, credit hour requirements, and the qualifying and comprehensive examinations (please refer to the Graduate College Policies for more information).

Doctoral students, with the input of their advisor, also develop a minor area of study based upon the student's research goals. The minor is satisfied with 9 units of relevant coursework in the minor department.

In addition, the Doctoral Program requires that each student complete a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 laboratory rotations within their first academic year. Furthermore, each Doctoral student must take a course in Ethics, in GENE670, and complete a semester as a teaching assistant to gain experience as a teacher.

During their second academic year, Doctoral students should form a Comprehensive Committee and, by the end of the second or third academic year, they must pass their written and oral Comprehensive Exams based  their the major and minor areas of study.

After a successful performance on the Comprehensive Exams, the Doctoral student will form a Dissertation Committee and complete their dissertation project to earn the Ph.D. degree.

Minumum credits: 63
Core coursework: Vary according to selected degree-granting program; see links to five participating life science graduate programs at <>;

Major: 36 units of coursework, combining units from the core curriculum and units from the student's specific area of interest (see below: typical curriculum).

Dissertation Units: At least 18 units of dissertation credit are taken after successful completion of the comprehensive examinations. Other units come from independent study and research credit.

Teaching Requirement: Students are required to teach for one semester in a course that complements their interests. Additional opportunities for teaching may also be available.

Seminars: In addition to the weekly GIDP Current Topics Seminar, students are required to attend seminars and journal clubs as determined in consultation with their mentor and mentoring committee.

Minor Requirements

Minor: At least 9 units are required by the minor department. Students may choose to minor in: Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Pharmacology, Psychology, Cell Biology & Anatomy, Genetics, Physiological Sciences, Speech & Hearing Sciences, or another related area.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate n/a
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 5.25
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 44%
Enrollment Percent Female 56%
Enrollment Percent International 11%
Enrollment Percent URM 22%

Back to statistics
Persistent link:
Last revised 13 Sep 2017