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Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Graduate Trainee Support

What You Will Receive

  • Up to three years of stipend support (supplemented by the School of Medicine & Dentistry)
  • Expert biomedical ASL interpretation for the duration of your PhD
  • Monthly professional development workshops and networking sessions
  • Dedicated Access Coordinator in the Office of Disability Resources to process accommodation requests

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry is an excellent place for graduate students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) to pursue a biomedical PhD. With a large local D/HH community and strong ties to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, we provide unrivaled support to help D/HH scientists overcome their unique challenges.

With grant funding from the National Institute for General Medical Science (1T32GM148295), we provide stipend support for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students matriculated in biomedical PhD programs at the University of Rochester.  Our program also provides professional development support and access to a pool of highly competent American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who have been trained in biomedical communication for the duration of your PhD training.

Our graduate support program is the newest addition in a triumvirate of programs offered for D/HH scientists, which includes the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate master’s program and the Rochester Postdoc Partnership—both are collaborative programs between the University of Rochester and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Though participation in one program is not required to be eligible for another, together these programs provide continuity of support so trainees can learn and grow in a supportive community with a consistent set of interpreters and mentors through their entire academic research training.

Who We Support

This program supports students accepted into biomedical PhD programs at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry or School of Arts & Sciences and Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences who identify as Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing regardless of their language abilities or preferences (American Sign Language, Signing Exact English, Lip Reading, Spoken English, Auditory Listening, etc.).

Wondering if you Qualify? Reach out to our program directors for more information!

Contact Us!


Apply to Our Graduate Programs

In order to be eligible for support, you must be accepted to a biomedical PhD program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry or School of Arts & Sciences and Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. 

Admission to graduate study at the University of Rochester is based on a holistic, program-based review of your application. Required materials and application deadlines vary depending on what program you are applying to, so it is important to review these requirements carefully before starting an application. Most programs begin at the end of August, and it is recommended that you apply by December of the previous year. Applications typically open in mid-August. If you would like more information about the T32 program please contact Craig Morrell ( or Patricia White (Patricia_White@ 

Which Program is Right for You?


School of Medicine and Dentistry Graduate Programs

Pursue research in diverse areas encompassing the
modern biomedical and health sciences.

SMD Graduate Programs

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School of Arts & Sciences and Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Nationally recognized biomedical-related programs, characterized by close contact between students and faculty.

School of Arts & Sciences and a Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences Graduate Programs

A Great Place to Live

Rochester: A National Deaf Hub

The Rochester area is home to the largest per capita population of working age Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the U.S. With its deep roots in Deaf education, specifically the Rochester School for the Deaf and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester is a great place for Deaf learners.

If you’re unfamiliar with the City of Rochester, you may be wondering what it’s like to live here. The fourth-largest urban area in the state of New York, Rochester is located within a 400-mile radius of 14 northeastern states, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Toronto. Rochester is an historic port city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, just north of the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. It is also part of the country’s longest scenic byway, the Seaway Trail.

As a stimulating and progressive metropolitan community of 1.1 million people, Rochester is consistently ranked among the best places in the country to live for quality of life by the U.S. News & World Report.

Learn More About Rochester

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Current Trainees

Michelle Koplitz

Michelle Koplitz

Program: Translational Biomedical Sciences

Entry Year: 2022

Research Interests: Michelle is studying the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention public health system and how it impacts D/HH adults’ long term health outcomes. She hopes to understand how ASL supports not only linguistic development but overall health and well-being of Deaf adults throughout life.

Brittany Watterson

Brittany Watterson

Program: Biomedical Engineering

Entry Year: 2023

Eric Heinze

Eric Heinze

Program: Evolution, Ecology, Genetics, and Genomics

Entry Year: 2023

Research Interests: Eric is interested in the field of evolutionary genetics. He is currently exploring research areas within the field before deciding on the focus of his thesis research.