Graduate Studies

Lab Rotations

Students rotate through two, three, or four laboratories during their first year in the Genetics Graduate Program. Rotations last one quarter each and are contingent upon the faculty member agreeing to the rotation request. All Genetics students must rotate in a laboratory of a Genetics faculty member (primary or secondary appointment) during the Fall quarter. Subsequent rotations may be done with any faculty member that is part of the Biosciences program.

Dissertation Research

The earliest time a student can select a laboratory for dissertation research is in the Spring Quarter after the second rotation is complete. Most students do a third rotation and select their dissertation research laboratory at the beginning of the Summer Quarter of the first year. Selection of the dissertation research laboratory must be done with the faculty member's approval. Prior to committing to a dissertation research laboratory, students are invited to discuss their selection with the Graduate Program Director. Once a student selects a permanent laboratory, s/he then begins the dissertation research that will last for approximately four years. Students who select a dissertation advisor who does not hold a primary or secondary appointment in Genetics must transfer out of the Genetics Graduate Program and into a program of which their dissertation advisor is a member. Rare exceptions may be made to this requirement at the discretion of the Genetics faculty.

Teaching Requirement

Neither the University nor the Department of Genetics has a formal teaching requirement. However, students are encouraged to serve as a teaching/course assistant for at least one quarter.

Students who want to pursue teaching opportunities are urged to do so in the second or third year of graduate study. A small amount of additional income is often (but not always) provided when a graduate student serves as a teaching assistant. Students who are interested in teaching should discuss options with their faculty advisor or the Graduate Program Director.

Supplementary Educational Activities

In addition to your courses, qualifying exams, and dissertation, the Genetics Department has arranged additional activities in which students should participate in order to broaden their educational experiences.

These regularly occurring meetings are:

  • Friday Seminar Series, organized by John Pringle— These weekly meetings occur between 12 - 1pm on most Fridays of the academic year in the Lecture Room M114, however also in M106 on a few Fridays. Two people from the Genetics Department give 20-25 minute presentations about their current work. This series gives students the chance to learn about the range of science going on in the department and provides a great opportunity for students and post docs to give formal presentations to peers and colleagues.
  • Human Genetics Journal Club, organized by the Division of Medical Genetics - The HGJC is an interdepartmental weekly activity held on Wednesdays from 4pm - 4:30pm in Lane L201. Faculty, fellows, and students present a thirty minute presentation with focus on the key findings and important methods from a recent, high-impact article in area of Human and/or Medical Genetics.

    For information on the next week's topic, please visit the HGJC website at

    If you’d like to receive weekly HGJC announcements, subscribe here:

  • Graduate Student Journal Club — This journal club is organized completely by graduate students. Faculty are not allowed to attend. The journal club meets Monday from 5-6pm in the Genetics Library (M315) throughout the academic year. At each meeting, one or two graduate students (from the Genetics and/or Developmental Biology Departments) lead 30 minute presentations/discussions on their choice of a recent journal article. Each Genetics graduate student presents once per academic year.
    Refreshments are provided by the graduate students and reimbursed up to the current year limit. Reimbursement requires an original receipt to the business office. Schedules and information on papers being presented are distributed through the "genegrads" mailing list.genegrad@lists.stanford