VCU Medical Center

Department of Human and Molecular Genetics


Ph.D. students in Human Genetics are trained to integrate existing fundamental knowledge with their own creative, novel research findings.  The Ph.D. in Human Genetics curriculum helps students develop a solid background in the biomedical sciences through coursework in biochemistry, cell biology, statistics and scientific integrity.  Additionally, students develop a broad knowledge base in the field of human genetics through introductory and advanced coursework that covers Mendelian genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, statistical genetics, genomics, disease pathogenesis and the study of complex disorders.  A one credit course in clinical genetics is also part of the curriculum.  Students take an additional advanced course in either molecular or quantitative genetics and also two electives within their specific discipline of study.  Students also participate in journal clubs and seminars to learn to critically read the original scientific literature as well as develop skills in oral communication.  To help students get started in the research component of their training, students perform small research projects during rotations in laboratories during their first year.  To view a typical course plan and student learning outcomes please view the Ph.D. in Human Genetics Graduate Program in the Bulletin.  The student will master these learning outcomes through course work and other research related activities.  Specific learning outcomes have been identified for each course and this information can be found here.  Students choose a laboratory and a mentor for their Ph.D. research based on their rotations and then continue training with that mentor until completion of their dissertation research project.  A track in quantitative genetics is available for students who want to specialize in this discipline.

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