Skip to main content

Prospective Students

Allison Light

The Pathology Ph.D. Program encompasses studies of the molecular, cell biological and pathophysiological underpinnings of human disease.  Students may choose to concentrate their coursework in either Cell Biology of Disease, Cancer Biology or Bioinformatics.  Our trainees make discoveries about the underlying mechanisms of human disease on a path to developing new treatments or diagnostic tests.  Graduates go on to rewarding careers in academic, medical, industrial, non-profit and government settings.

Our PhD program is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing on faculty expertise in all aspects of human biology, including molecular underpinnings of disease, examination of cell, tissue, and animal model systems, employment of ‘omic’ sciences and informatics, and design of therapeutic interventions.  Over 60 laboratories are part of the PhD Program in Pathology, including faculty from every arena within the Medical Center community. 

Core areas of research are:

  • cell biology and genetics of the cardiopulmonary and sensory / neurological systems
  • orthopedics and the musculoskeletal system
  • biology of cancer
  • hematology and immunology

We welcome your application to our school should you choose to apply. For more information about admissions, visit the school's  Admissions Page.

Pathology Admissions Lunch

Your Path to Ph.D. Success

During your first year of study, you will take foundational coursework covering fundamentals of molecular and cell biology and human disease while conducting research in three different laboratories under mentors from the PhD Program in Pathology.  Through program activities and coursework, you also will begin growing your professional skills such as writing and presentation as soon as you arrive at URMC.

At the start of your second year, you will select a mentor and embark on the research that will comprise your Ph.D. thesis.  In addition, second year students take elective coursework related to your their scientific interests, including choosing a concentration.  With your mentor and thesis advisory committee, you will develop and defend a proposed research plan.  After completing this milestone, you will focus almost exclusively on your thesis research project.

Pathology PhD program students graduate in an average of 5.5 years, usually with multiple scientific publications.  Students have the opportunity to travel and present at conferences and to gain additional professional skills, such as leadership, teaching, scientific communication or bio-manufacturing through coursework and extracurricular activities.  Some even conduct internships in industry or government settings as they move towards graduation.

Applying to the Pathology PhD Program

John Varrone and Mahendra Colonne

Admission to the program is highly competitive with less than 20% of applicants admitted each year.

Successful applicants will have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in the biological, chemical, or biomedical sciences. Ideal candidates will have previous laboratory research experience with a minimum overall grade point average of at least 3.0.
  • Statement of Purpose indicating the applicant’s reason(s) for applying to the Pathology program and preparation for this field of study, research interests, and future career plans.
  • Copy of transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation are required. Letters from research supervisors preferred.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Applicants are required to provide official scores that are within 2 years of the original test date.

    The following test types are acceptable:

When official score reports cannot be sent to the SMD directly from the testing agency because they are greater than 1 year old, please scan and upload your official score report to your online application under "Other Documents".

OPTIONAL: GRE General and/or Subject Test in Biology exam scores; These are not required, but if submitted, scores above the 60th percentile are most competitive for admission.

Scholarships and Stipends

All students receive a full-tuition scholarship, paid individual health insurance, and an annual stipend.  Up-to-date information can be found on our Financial Aid page.

Online Application

Prospective Ph.D. students apply for admission through the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) online application. Applications deadlines are set by SMD, generally due late fall / early winter with winter / spring interviews for enrollment the following Fall semester.