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Education / Graduate Education / News / A record-breaking start for 155 new SMD graduate students!


A record-breaking start for 155 new SMD graduate students!

 Lynne Maquat

Despite being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic during our 2021 graduate school application cycle, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry received 1,063 applications for Ph.D. programs the highest on record. In addition, there were 346 applications for master’s programs and 44 for advanced certificate programs.

COVID-19 not only forced virtual interviews, but made it nearly impossible for prospective students to set foot on campus before applying. In spite of that, new students like Bachelard Dieujuste, who’s part of the Genetics, Development & Stem Cells Ph.D. program, saw that as an opportunity to expand their options.

“I had an interview almost every week, and I have class at the same time,” he says. “It would have been a nightmare for me to juggle between class and then traveling for interviews.”

Dieujuste, after applying to more than ten schools, ultimately landed on Rochester knowing the institution’s reputation in mRNA research. He felt our program would set him up to be among the best in his field.

“In order for that to happen, I must learn from the best,” he says. “Since faculty members at UofR are specialists that use cutting-edge experiments in their field, I have to learn from them.”

Dieujuste comes to us from CUNY Hunter College, the institution where we attracted the most students this year, apart from UofR undergrad. In addition, our graduate programs welcomed a more diverse class than ever before.

Twenty-seven percent of incoming U.S. students are members of racial or ethnic groups historically excluded from and underrepresented in science. Twenty-five percent are from a disadvantaged background as defined by the National Institutes of Health. Both numbers are the highest on record for SMD.

Women make up 66 percent of this year’s graduate students with 103, while there are 52 men.

U.S. students have come to us from 24 different states, while 72 of our new students are staying in their home state of New York. Twenty-five students are coming to us internationally from:

  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sudan
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

That’s a total of 101,113 miles traveled to Rochester.

“We're thrilled to welcome our new class of graduate learners,” says Rick Libby, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Graduate Education and Post-Doctoral Affairs. “The skills and experiences they bring to SMD will undoubtedly help us make key advances in science and medicine.”

We wish our newest SMD graduate students continued success. Welcome!