PhD in Human Genetics

We embrace diversity and welcome motivated applicants with backgrounds in diverse fields. Our doctoral program attracts brilliant local, national, and international students with undergraduate training and/or work experience in the biological, behavioral, and quantitative sciences.

Admissions Requirements

  • US bachelor’s or graduate degree (or international equivalent) in a discipline related to the biological or behavioral sciences from an accredited college or university. GPA of 3.0 or greater is recommended.
  • Introductory courses in genetics and either calculus or statistics are required; additional coursework in biochemistry and behavioral/social sciences is recommended but not required.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional. Students who choose to submit GRE or other standardized test scores (i.e. MCAT) can do so with the application for admission.

International Applicants

In addition to the above criteria, international applicants must adhere to additional requirements. 

Information for international applicants

Application Process

  • Applications are twice per year, for Fall and Spring matriculation, although new students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Fall semester which matches the intended sequence of course offerings. There is no formal interview process, although the Admissions Committee may request to hold phone or video interviews with promising applicants to gather more information. Applicants wishing to visit the Department in-person are encouraged to do so after receiving an offer of admission.
  • Internal applicants, e.g., current MS or MPH students, may apply to the doctoral program after two semesters in good academic standing. Internal applicants shall submit directly to the Office of Student Affairs a dossier containing (1) a cover letter/statement of purpose indicating the applicant's motivation for pursuing a doctorate in Human Genetics and justification for promotion to the doctoral program, and (2) at least two letters of recommendation from mentors/professors who can comment on the applicant’s recent academic and research performance. Internal applicants are strongly encouraged to have identified a willing research mentor prior to applying for promotion to the doctoral program.

Personal Statement

The personal statement provides an opportunity for the applicant to shape the narrative of his or her application. It should address the following questions:

  • How have your experiences informed your decision to pursue a degree in Human Genetics?
  • What qualifications and experiences have prepared you to succeed in your graduate work?
  • Why you have chosen Pitt Public Health?
  • What do you seek to gain from your graduate studies and how does this align with future career goals?

How to Apply

Applications for admission to the doctoral program are processed through the Office of Student Affairs at the Graduate School of Public Health. New applications are accepted through the SOPHAS system, the centralized application service for graduate schools of public health. Please note, SOPHAS routes applications to the School of Public Health only after all required materials are received. Applicants who have submitted applications may track their status online.

Application deadlines