Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
DBBS welcomes applicants with outstanding baccalaureate training in natural, physical or engineering sciences that are committed to a career in research. The strongest applicants will have had significant research experience and have a strong undergraduate record not only in their area of concentration, but also in related disciplines. For example, some of our programs will give preference to applicants who have strong training not only in biology, but also 4 to 6 semesters of chemistry (including biochemistry) as well as appropriate course work in calculus and physics (1 to 2 semesters each). Other programs, depending on their emphasis, will consider individuals with less extensive backgrounds in chemistry, physics, psychology or mathematics but with related training in biology. For example, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology gives preference to applicants that have completed one semester of physical chemistry or an equivalent course.

Minimum Requirements:
  • All applicants must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is required for all applicants. Scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule the exam early so the official scores will reach DBBS before the December 1 deadlineSee “Test Scores” below for additional information.
  • Applicants, whose native language is not English, must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide an official score report from ETS for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, are exempt from submitting a TOEFL score report.
PhD Application Instructions
Faculty Mentors


Dixit, Ram: Dr. Dixit focuses on understanding on how the microtubule cytoskeleton regulates plant cell shape. His lab uses transgenic plants and follow fluorescently tagged proteins in living cells using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to study dynamics and function of proteins at the single molecule level. In addition, by combining mutational analysis with live imaging of new two-color marker lines generated in the Dixit lab, they examine the way in which microtubule severing proteins are responsible for pruning unaligned cortical microtubules at crossover sites and how this activity is involved in creating ordered arrays. Collaborators: Herzog, Piston.

Herzog, Erik: Dr. Herzog studies the cellular and molecular basis for circadian rhythms, focusing on the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. By combining electrophysiological and molecular imaging techniques, his lab is identifying pacemaking cells and how these cells coordinate their activities to drive behavior. The lab compares the circadian rhythms expressed behaviorally and by cells and tissues using a variety of techniques including behavioral monitoring and imaging with multielectrode recordings, bioluminescence and fluorescence from animals carrying transgenic reporters. Trainees in the Herzog lab pursue optical and digital imaging of low-light bioluminescence, fluorescence, and bright-field preparations. Dr. Herzog received an Outstanding Mentor Award in 2008. Collaborators: Holy, Culver, Taghert.


An, Hongyu: Dr. An has extensive experience in MR and PET/MR imaging and is the associate director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). Her expertise includes MRI physics, MR sequence design and programming, image reconstruction, image and data analysis, PET/MR attenuation correction, and motion correction. Simultaneously acquired anatomical, physiological and metabolic MR imaging and physiological and molecular PET imaging provide unprecedented diagnostic and prognostic values in many diseases. A specialty of Dr. An’s group has been developing novel MR based PET attenuation methods. An application area is the important MR imaging challenge of quantifying cerebral oxygenation. Collaborators: Ackerman, Hershey, Woodard. 

Anastasio, Mark: Dr. Anastasio’s research interests include the development of biomedical imaging methods, image reconstruction, and inverse problems in imaging and theoretical image science. Almost all modern biomedical imaging systems including advanced microscopy methods, X-ray computed tomography (CT), and photoacoustic tomography, to name only a few, utilize computational methods for image formation. Dr. Anastasio’s lab brings together imaging physics with a deep knowledge of image reconstruction algorithms to provide quantitative imaging with improved performance across a wide range of metrics. In particularly they have been actively involved in the development of several emerging wave-based bioimaging modalities including photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT), X-ray phase-contrast imaging, ultrasound computed tomography (UST) and optical tomography. Collaborators: Chen, Culver, Parikh. 

Chen, Hong:  Dr. Chen’s research is focused on developing image-guided ultrasound drug delivery (IGUDD) techniques. A new assistant professor, Dr. Chen has a joint appointment with Radiation oncology. Her laboratory is setting up two experimental systems: an ultrasound-image-guided focused ultrasound system and an MRI-guided focused ultrasound system. The goal is to translate basic research advances in imaging and ultrasound therapy into image-guided therapy devices that can impact cancer patient care. Collaborators: Anastasio, Hallahan, Parikh. 

Raman, Barani: Dr. Raman’s research focuses on examining the spatio-temporal signals in neural systems to understand the design and computing principles of biological sensory systems using relatively simple invertebrate models (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster). His lab employ’s a variety of multi-dimensional electrophysiological recording techniques and computational modeling approaches to investigate how dynamic odor signals are encoded as neural representations (odor coding). Recent work from Dr. Raman’s lab, published in Nature Communications and Nature Neuroscience, has revealed the behavioral relevance of combinations of neurons activated by an odorant (i.e., ‘the combinatorial code’) and in the temporal structure of the neural activity (i.e., ‘the temporal code’). Collaborators: Gruev, Holy, Petersen. 


Cooper, John: The laboratory uses a variety of light and electron microscopy techniques to address questions of how cells control their shape and movement. Those techniques might include low-light level fluorescence microscopy of living cell preparations, including spinning-disk confocal and total internal reflection microscopy. Collaborators: Bayly, Piston. 

Mecham, Robert: Dr. Mecham studies the extracellular matrix, the critical material that helps bind together and support the structures and tissues of the human body. He is a well-known leader in uncovering the structure of elastic fiber and understanding the complex process involved in producing it. His laboratory focuses on learning how cells produce elastic fibers, a major component of the extracellular matrix. His work includes live-cell imaging of extracellular matrix assembly. Collaborators: Holtzman, Taber 

Piston, David:  The main research focus of the Piston lab is the understanding of glucose-regulated hormone secretion from islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. To perform live cell measurements in situ and in vivo, his lab develops unique, state-of-the-art fluorescence imaging methods to assay responses along critical signaling pathways in both glucagon-secreting α-cells and insulin-secreting β-cells. These quantitative microscopy measurements are combined with standard biochemical and molecular biological techniques to obtain valuable information that bridges the gap between the known details of the signaling pathways in individual cells and the overall response of a whole islet. Experimental work involves 5D live cell imaging and high-content screening. Collaborators: Nichols, Urano, Gross, Lawson. 


Ackerman, Joseph: Trainees perform research in the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) for study of intact biological systems, from cultured cells to mice to man. A major area of research is the development of MR techniques that will provide a more complete understanding of the complex structure and operating organization of mammalian tissues in the intact, functioning state. Collaborators: Bayly, Culver, Weilbaecher. 

Mirica, Liviu: Dr. Mirica uses inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biological chemistry to address metal-mediated processes with energy, biological, and medical relevance. One of his projects involves investigation of the interaction of transition metal ions with Aβ peptides and study of the role of metal ions in amyloid plaque and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in patients with AD — whose plaques exhibit unusually high concentrations of copper, iron, and zinc. He is developing Cu-64 complexes that can be employed for PET imaging and early diagnosis of AD. Collaborators: Rath, Tai. 


Gruev, Victor:  Dr. Gruev’s research focuses on borrowing key concepts from nature to develop ultra-sensitive, compact, lightweight and conformal imaging sensors capable of recording spectral and polarization properties with high spatial resolution and to bring these new sensory devices to clinical settings. Gruev’s lab has been able to successfully mimic both the optics and underlying neural circuitry from the visual system of both Morpho butterflies and mantis shrimp by using various nanomaterials and nanofabrication techniques and monolithically integrate them with circuits fabricated with advanced CMOS technologies. The compact realization of these bio-inspired spectral-polarization imaging sensors combined with wearable goggle devices and real-time image processing implemented on FPGA platform, were recently used to translate this technology into the operating room to provide instant visual feedback to physicians. Collaborators: Achilefu, Culver, Raman. 

Pless, Robert:  Dr. Pless works on developing tools for the fundamental mathematical modeling and analysis of motion in video sequences. He co-founded the Media and Machines Laboratory, which now includes five full time faculty and is a focal point for research on Computer Vision, Robotics, Graphics, Medical Imaging and Human Computer Interaction. Driven by biological imaging applications, the primary mathematical tools are data-driven, non-parametric statistical models that represent scene-specific or patient-specific models of common motions and behaviors. These models are ignore distracting motions (e.g., breathing artifacts in CT). Collaborators: Bayly, Leuthardt, Miller, O’Sullivan, Taber. 

Ju, Tau:  Dr. Tau’ works on computer graphics and image analysis with application to biological imaging. His early works pioneered the cage-based deformation paradigm which is now widely used in both entertainment industry and academics. In collaboration with a group of image processing specialists and neuroscientists, his lab used geometric atlases to map the gene expression patterns in the mouse brain. While the prototype of the mapped database (see was initially done in 2D, his lab recently completed a 3D version (hosted on the same website) with the support of an NSF grant. His lab also is working on theoretical foundations and practical algorithms to quantify how “tubular” or “plate-like” an object (or one of its part) is. This work is mostly motivated by the analysis of biological structures in biomedical images with applications to optical and electron microscopy. Collaborators: Dacey, Zipfel, Prior. 


Lew, Mathew:  Dr. Lew, a new faculty recruit, is interested in developing imaging platforms for visualizing biomolecules in living organisms across length scales, from subcellular to whole subjects. He trained in the lab of W.E. Morner (Noble prize 2014). His work primarily focuses on super-resolution microscopy. For example he developed method simultaneous accurate measurement of the 3D position and 2D orientation of single molecules and solutions for mitigating localization errors through modified labeling or optical strategies. On the applications side, he works on labeling and imaging internal cellular structures and external cell surfaces, in 3D, with resolution beyond the diffraction limit. These techniques will enabled the mapping of protein locations and interactions in studies of developmental cell biology. Collaborator: Achilefu. 

Nehorai, AryeDr. Nehorai’s research deals with analysis of space-time data in a number of biomedical areas. In biomedicine, he is developing methods for locating electrical sources in the brain using arrays of electrodes (EEG) or magnetometers (MEG) placed around the head. His solutions are important for clinical applications such as finding origins of seizures, or in neuroscience for mapping the brain functions. He is also developing procedures that find the stiffness of the heart wall using MRI. In microscopy imaging, he is working on algorithms to quantify targets (e.g., antigens, proteins etc.) from 3D microarray-based images, and quantum-dot (q-dot) barcoded microparticle ensembles. Collaborators: Achilefu, Garbow, Song. 

O’Sullivan, Jody:  Dr. O'Sullivan was the director of the Electronic Systems and Signals Research Laboratory (ESSRL) from 1998-2007, and is now dean of the new joint engineering program between University of Missouri-St. Louis and WU. He conducts research in a wide range of science and technology for security applications, including borders, target and object recognition theory, information hiding for secure and clandestine communication, and spectral analysis for biochemical agent detection. Current imaging research includes spiral CT imaging in the presence high-density attenuators and microPET. Collaborators: Tai, Culver. 


Bayly, Phillip:  Dr. Bayly, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, uses MRI to study deformation and to infer mechanical properties of soft tissue, particularly in the brain and spinal cord. The changes in shape and mechanical properties are important both in rapid events such as brain trauma, and very slow events, such as brain morphogenesis. His students employ MR tagging and analysis of tagged images to study the deformation of the brain during linear angular acceleration of the skull. Dr. Bayly collaborates with other researchers who use MRI measurement of water diffusion to characterize the effects of trauma on the brain and spinal cord, in vivo, in animal models. Collaborators: Ackerman, Carlsson, Cooper, Garbow, Pham. 


Weilbaecher, Katherine:  Dr. Weilbaecher’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis to bone. They utilize luciferase/GFP labeled osteolytic cancer cell lines and evaluate tumor metastasis and bone tumor growth using in vivo bioluminescence in genetically targeted osteoclast and platelet defective mice. They also utilize MRI and PET imaging to evaluate bone tumor growth and metastasis in spontaneous metastasis tumor mouse models. Trainees gain experience in metastasis biology and host cell/tumor cell interactions using an array of in vivo imaging techniques, including PET, bioluminescence and MRI. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Garbow, Lanza. 


Petersen, Steven:  Dr. Peterson pioneered the use of brain imaging (PET and fMRI) to identify brain regions that contribute to attention, learning, memory and language. He also investigates the effects of disease and brain damage on these cognitive processes. Currently, he has two main areas of interest. The first focus is the development of neural mechanisms underlying cognition. Methods have been developed that allow direct statistical comparison of child and adult imaging data. The second focus is identifying and characterizing fMRI signals related to task organization and executive control. Recently his lab developed a series of seminal papers on functional connectivity mapping with MRI related to the management of motion artifacts, the applications of graph theory and the mapping of network hubs. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Hershey, Raman. 


Bruchas, Michael:  Dr. Bruchas’ lab is largely focused on optogenetic techniques and the neurobiology of stress and motivation, as it relates to neuromodulatory circuits, addiction, and GPCR signaling. In particular, a strong theme of the lab is the use of in vivo optogenetics to dissect affective behavioral circuits in reward, aversion, and anxiety (Science, Cell, Neuron, Nature Communications). The work includes development of novel optogenetic tools and optogenetic/physiological dissection of opioid, noradrenergic, dopamine, corticotropin-releasing factors in neural circuits. New work combines optogenetics with optical neuroimaging to produce cell type specific maps of brain connectivity. Collaborators: Bauer, Culver, Gereau, Lee, McGehee.

Holy, Timothy:  Dr. Holy’s research in imaging focuses on developing new optical methods for imaging neuronal activity. He has devised a new method, called objective-couple planar illumination microscopy, for imaging neuronal activity simultaneously in large neuronal populations. This approach uses a sheet of light to provide three-dimensional resolution without point-scanning. The principal advantage of this technique is that hundreds or thousands of neurons can be imaged at high speed and high signal-to-noise ratio. Current work on this technology includes optical and algorithmic methods for enhancing resolution deeper into tissue. Collaborators: Herzog, Raman, Taghert. 

Taghert, Pau:  Dr. Taghert’s research focuses on (i) how peptidergic neurons differentiate and (ii) how neural circuits are controlled by the circadian clock to generate rhythmic behaviors. Both areas of study rely heavily on imaging methods, including standard epifluorescent and confocal microscopy, low light level imaging methods, and use of bioluminesent reporters to interrogate pacemaker neuron function and peptidergic cell secretion mechanisms. Collaborators: Hanson, Herzog, Holy. 


Barch, Deanna:  Dr. Barch’s research program is focused on developing and using a variety of neuroimaging techniques to understand the developmental interplay among cognition, emotion, and brain function to better understand the deficits in behavior and cognition found in illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. She has a long history of mentoring graduate, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience who have gone on to productive research careers. She was the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology 2004 to 2014 (now Chair of Psychology) and is a co-Investigator on the Human Connectome Project. Cofounder of our Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience integrative training pathway, Dr. Barch and has been actively involved in training students in cross-disciplinary neuroimaging research. Collaborators: Petersen, Hershey. 


Hershey, TamaraDr. Hershey’s research is in the fields of neuroimaging and cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Her lab uses a range of neuroimaging, pharmacological and cognitive techniques to understand the impact of metabolic and neurodegenerative conditions on the brain, particularly during development. For example, her lab explores the neural underpinnings of cognitive and mood dysfunction in disorders relevant to dopamine and the basal ganglia (e.g., Parkinson disease, Tourette syndrome), the effects of diabetes and obesity on the brain, particularly within development, and the neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative impact of a rare monogenic diabetes. Dr. Hershey is deputy lab chief of the WUSM Neuroimaging Labs, and has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty and co-directs a WU Peer Mentoring Program. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Raichle. 


Achilefu, Samuel:  Dr. Achilefu is interested in molecular optical imaging, the design and development of new molecular probes and nanomaterials, specific delivery of imaging agents and drugs to target cells or tissues, development of tissue-specific multi-modal imaging molecules, and tumor-specific photodynamic therapy agents. He is co-leader of the oncologic imaging program for the NCI-designated Siteman Cancer Center, and Director of WU molecular imaging center. His Optical Radiology Lab provides a multidisciplinary environment for students in a variety of disciplines, including the chemistry, physics, and biology of optical imaging of diseases. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to train the student in all aspects of optical imaging, depending on the expressed interest level of the student. Collaborators: Culver, Gruev, Lew, Shokeen, Weilbaecher, Woodard. 

Benzinger, Tammie:  Dr. Benzinger`s research focuses on translating advanced neuromagnetic resonance imaging techniques from small animal research in the Department of Radiology, to translational research in the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR), and into clinical practice. In particular, her current research focuses on using directional diffusivity measurements derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure axonal and myelin damage in pediatric and adult demyelination, dysmyelinating diseases, in traumatic brain injury (TBI), and as a function of aging. Diseases under study in Dr. Benzinger`s laboratory include multiple sclerosis (MS), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), adrenoleukodystrophy, Krabbe`s disease, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher`s disease, and head trauma. In addition, Dr. Benzinger combines advanced neuromagnetic resonance techniques, such as DTI and spectroscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET) to study interactions between normal aging, Alzherimer`s disease, depression, and delirium in older adults.  Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Hershey, Culver, Woodard

Culver, Joseph:  Dr. Culver’s Lab develops neurophotonic technology for mapping brain function in humans and animal models. With the goal of producing high-performance portable brain imaging in humans, his group has been developing a series of innovations for diffuse optical tomography (DOT) instrumentation and algorithms. Recently they presented the first DOT system capable of mapping distributed brain function and networks (Nature Photonics). Applied projects include mapping brain function in infants in the neonatal ICU, and in stroke patients in the Adult ICU. In parallel with human imaging efforts, the Culver lab is also developing mouse equivalent measurements of functional connectivity using optical intrinsic signal imaging (fcOIS) - so as to link human fcMRI with mouse models of disease (e.g., amyloid-beta models of Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain tumors, autism). Recently, to work with faster physiological signals, they have extend fcOIS to mice with genetically encoded calcium indicators and are exploring transitions between awake/sleep and anesthesia. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Anastasio, Bruchas, Hershey, O’Sullivan, Petersen, Shokeen. 

Shokeen, Monica:  Dr. Shokeen’s lab has expertise in the development and evaluation of molecularly targeted small molecule and multi-functional macromolecular bio-conjugates for nuclear and optical imaging of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Her group aspires to utilize the translational capabilities of quantitative imaging modalities (PET, SPECT, FMT and MRI) to bring the bench side discoveries into patient care. Working on the chemistry of imaging, the Shokeen lab has been evaluating high-affinity 64Cu labeled-Very Late Antigen-4 (VLA-4) targeted PET radiopharmaceuticals to assess disease progression and response to treatment in pre-clinical mouse and human models of multiple myeloma by quantitative receptor measurements. The ultimate goal of these studies is successful clinical translation. Her group is also investigating the unique metabolic pathways and metabolite fate tracking in multiple myeloma tissues by using 13C edited 1H NMR and 11C-Acetate/PET-CT imaging. Additionally, as part of a multi-PI team, the Schokeen lab is developing a high-throughput optical in vivo imaging platform for the detection of unstable plaque in carotid arteries using a novel custom built Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) system. Collaborators: Woodard, Achilefu, Culver. 

Tai, Yuan-Chuan:  Dr. Tai’s team conceived and demonstrated the feasibility of the virtual-pinhole PET insert technology for improving the image resolution of existing human and animal PET scanners. This technology is currently being evaluated for whole-body cancer staging to improve the sensitivity of metastatic cancer detection. Additionally, Tai’s lab has developed several high resolution PET and multimodality imaging systems for preclinical, clinical, and functional plant imaging applications. The plant PET imager is now used routinely for molecular plant imaging research and has brought the in vivo imaging technology to plant scientists and triggered new interdisciplinary researches across multiple universities and institutions. Collaborators: O’Sullivan, Laforest. 

Woodard, Pamela:  Dr. Woodard’s expertise is in translational imaging and clinical trials, particularly in cardiovascular MRI, CT and PET. She is Radiology’s Vice Chair of Clinical Translational Research, has an appointment in Biomedical Engineering and is the Director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). She has been principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator on numerous NIH grants and subcontracts, including the PIOPED II and III Trials. Most recently, her lab has developed a receptor-targeted nanoparticle PET imaging agent for assessment of atherosclerosis, brought it through preclinical safety testing, applied for and received an FDA eIND for testing in human subjects, and have begun testing in normal volunteers and patients. New extensions of the same receptor targeted nanoparticle include optical labelling for imaging with fluorescence molecular tomography. Collaborators: Shokeen, Achilefu, Culver. 

Does the Division provide short term loans?

Students (PhD students and MSTP students in PhD years) may apply for a short-term emergency loan through the Graduate Center
Short-term loans are available for $500 or less to eligible students for a short period of time.  Short-term loans are billed to your student account and must be repaid in one month. 
Please contact the Graduate Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Danforth University Center, in Room 300, 9am – 5pm, Monday - Friday.
MSTP Students in ME years may apply for similar loans through the Medical Alumni Fund.  Please contact WUSOM Office of Student Financial Planning 362-6845 or​.

Who can I contact regarding problems with my WUSTL Key or email account?

Wustl Key (login/password recovery, how-to, support, etc.):​

Email (login, support, client set-up, how-to, etc.):​

Do students get travel money?

The Division provides up to $600 toward travel expenses for all students during their graduate training (research meeting, conference or career development). Students may request use of the Division travel funds after the thesis proposal has been approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee.  Any exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Program Director and the Associate Dean of Graduate Education (DBBS). Students must complete the Travel Funds Request Form (MS Word​)and turn it in to the Graduate Student Coordinator. Washington University does not reimburse business expenses on a per diem basis. Reimbursements are based on actual expenses incurred and an original, detailed receipt for each expense must be provided. Automobile expenses will be reimbursed at the current IRS mileage rate; gas receipts cannot be reimbursed (if the mileage reimbursement exceeds the cost of air travel, the amount of the reimbursement will be the lesser airfare). If the cost of the trip is greater than $600, the additional expense must be paid by a source other than DBBS. Travel on United States Flag carriers should be used to the maximum extent possible and is required for all international travel. Alcoholic beverages will NOT be reimbursed. 

FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS: When traveling internationally, DBBS asks students to review the WashingtonUniversity International Travel Policy and strongly encourages the completion of the International Travel Registry​. Both documents can be found on the Washington University Global Opportunities website:

PLEASE NOTE: If total expenses of the trip exceed $600 (and the thesis mentor will be providing the additional funds), the student should turn all receipts in to his/her thesis department. That department will contact the DBBS Financial Projects Assistant (Laura Delmez, for the $600. If the total expenses are less than $600, all receipts should be turned in to the student coordinator and a travel expense report completed.​

National Institutes of Health Individual Predoctoral Kirschstein Fellowships

Note – Always check the NIH website for the most current PA Announcement:
The standard deadlines for F31 and F30 applications are April 8th, August 8th and December 8th.

National Research Service Awards for Minority Students (F31) Five year awards providing stipend and institutional allowance. Applicants must be US citizens, nationals or permanent resident aliens and must be a member of one of these groups: African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives or Pacific Islanders.

National Research Service Awards Fellowships (F31) Five year awards providing stipend and institutional allowance. Applicants must be US citizens, nationals or permanent resident aliens. The NRSA individual predoctoral fellowships (F31) are awarded to promising applicants with the potential to become productive, independent investigators in the scientific mission areas of these Institutes. This program will provide predoctoral training support for doctoral candidates that have successfully completed their comprehensive examinations or the equivalent by the time of award and will be performing dissertation research and training. Please review the Program Announcement for the appropriate institute and Center for details regarding submission guidelines.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellows (F30)

Six year awards providing stipend and institutional allowance. Applicants must be US citizens, nationals or permanent resident aliens. Each NIH Institute and Center has a unique scientific purview and different program goals and initiatives that evolve over time. Prior to preparing an application, it is critical that all applicants consult the appropriate Institute website for details of research areas supported by that Institute and contact the appropriate Institute representative, to obtain current information about each Institute's program priorities and policies. This action is of utmost importance because applications with marginal or no relevance to the participating Institutes or ODS programs will not be accepted for review or possible funding.

Nationally Competitive Fellowships
Which program is right for you?

 Take our pIQ- Program Interest Quiz- to find out!


The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences is a degree program of Washington University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) is responsible for graduate education in the biomedical and biological sciences at Washington University. DBBS is organized into 11 academic programs, each representing a different scientific area. Students receive current guidelines for these programs upon matriculation, and periodic updates as changes occur. Those guidelines provide students with policies, procedures, and requirements specific to the academic program in which they are enrolled. This document consists of the policies and procedures that apply to the graduate education of all Division students, regardless of their program affiliation. The hallmark of the Division is flexibility, and students should always feel free to explore the possibility of individualizing their programs where appropriate.

The Division presently includes over 500 faculty; ~475 students working toward the Ph.D. degree; and ~190 students working toward the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Member departments of the Division include the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the seven preclinical departments of the School of Medicine, namely: Neuroscience, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology & Physiology, Molecular Genetics, Developmental Biology, Molecular Microbiology, and Pathology & Immunology. In addition, there are members of the Division faculty located in the Departments of Chemistry, Psychology and Brain Sciences, Physics, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and the School of Engineering on the Danforth Campus and in the clinical departments of the School of Medicine

  • The chief administrative body of the Division is the Executive Council, composed of the Heads of the eight member departments, the Departments of Chemistry and of Biomedical Engineering, two members of clinical departments, the Associate Dean for Graduate Education, the Director of the MSTP, and the Director of Ph.D. Admissions and Recruiting. The Chair of the Council is the executive officer of the Division.
  • The Associate Dean oversees day to day operations of the Division and chairs the Program and Student Affairs Committee, which consists of the directors of the twelve academic programs.
  • Each of the academic programs is managed by a Steering Committee. A committee of faculty oversees the recruitment and admission activities of DBBS.

Please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin when Graduate School policy is referred to in this guide (all students receive a copy of the Bulletin prior to matriculation). ( M.D./Ph.D. students should refer to the School of Medicine Bulletin (received by those students prior to matriculation) for policies governing the medical phase of their graduate education.

Back to top
DGSP Introduction
Do you accept students during the spring semester?

We only offer enrollment for the fall semester. To obtain admission to one of the 11 graduate programs in the Division, you must apply to DBBS. Our online application is available starting in early September, and the deadline for applying is December 1st.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
What type of programs does DBBS offer?

DBBS offers PhD education and research in 11 different areas of study. Please click here to visit our 11 programs webpage.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview

The application deadline for Fall 2018 enrollment is December 1. All international applicants are encouraged to submit their application by November 1. (Special Note: International applications will be accepted if submitted by December 1). Please complete and submit the application, as well as all supplemental materials by this date.

PhD Application Instructions
DBBS conducts interviews by invitation only after the completed application and materials have been submitted, received and evaluated. Interviews are not conducted prior to submission and evaluation of an application. 
The interview allows the applicant an opportunity to gauge the quality of the program, the interest of the faculty, speak with current students, and determine how well his or her research interests might be supported. Interviews are typically conducted from mid-January to mid-March. Applicants being interviewed on campus will arrive on Thursday afternoon and leave either Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
PhD Application Instructions
Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE)

Basic MTE: All DBBS students are required to have a Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE) for at least one-semester, documented by registering for Mentored Teaching Experience (Dept. L41, LSG 600, Section # program dependent, Credit=0).  This is typically completed during the second year of graduate training.

The mentored teaching experience (MTE) will involve one of the following:
  • lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions
  • prepare and deliver one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule
  • provide regular instruction in a laboratory environment
The primary focus of the course is development of instructional skills, which includes live classroom practice and regular meetings between teaching assistants and instructors of the courses (course masters) they are co-teaching regarding:
  • the teaching duties 
  • evaluation of their performance
  • discussion of other matters 
As part of DBBS MTE training, students are required to:
  • Attend the University’s Orientation for the Mentored Teaching Experience.
  • Read the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Mentored Teaching Experience Handbook (received at orientation).
  • Complete three 90-minute workshops, each covering a different topic, offered by the WUSTL Teaching Center-- The Teaching Center's Basic Mentored Teaching ExperienceTraining Workshops will introduce graduate students to effective pedagogical methods.  A new topic will be offered each month, September-November and February-April.  IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT STUDENTS START ATTENDING WORKSHOPS PRIOR TO OR DURING THE SEMESTERS OF THE MTE.  THE STUDENT WILL NOT RECEIVE A GRADE UNTIL PARTICIPATION OF 3 WORKSHOPS HAS BEEN RECORDED.
  • Register for LGS 600 Mentored Teaching Experience in WebSTAC.
  • Meet the expectations of the course master for the MTE.
  • Complete a written evaluation of the MTE. 
Students will receive a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade at the conclusion of their assistantship only when the following has been completed:
  • Participation in a minimum of 3 different workshops
  • Mentored Teaching Experience evaluation  (by the student)
  • Course master evaluation (submitted to DBBS) 
Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade for any reason will be required to complete a second MTE.


Advanced MTE: The communication of one's scientific knowledge and findings within one's field is a critical skill for all scientists.  To foster this skill, all DBBS students must complete the Advanced MTE by engaging in a minimum of 4 scientific presentations.  Presentations may include oral and poster presentations at scientific meetings and program retreats before faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and others in the field.  The following will not count towards this requirement: lab meetings, journal clubs, thesis committee meetings, the thesis examination, presentations to undergraduates or a non-academic audience.


Students will be required to certify their Basic and Advanced MTE on the Teaching Requirements form, which is submitted to the Graduate School prior to the thesis examination.


Additional Teaching Opportunities: Division students interested in a teaching career may seek additional training through the Department of Biology’s Second Mentoring Teaching Experience Fellowship Program.   Students who pursue this additional training will be hired as part-time lecturers by the department.  The Chair of the Department of Biology can provide students with more information about this program.  Students may also gain additional teaching experience through the Teaching Center's Teaching Citation Program.  Students wishing to participate in either of these opportunities must obtain the approval of their thesis mentor and their Program Director.  (MSTP students will also need approval of the MSTP).

Back to top

DGSP Degree Requirements
NIH Institutional Training Grants/Other Training Grants
  • Please conatct the Senior Grant Specialist for specific DBBS data requests.
  • Three months advance contact is needed for Insitutional Grant or other award application/renewals in order to allow adequate time to meet all internal and external requirements.
Grants Management
Fall 2016

Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 2 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info:

Addressing Inclusion & Diversity in Job Market Materials
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 2 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info:

Faculty Career Hiring Panel
Thursday, November 3, 2016, 1 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info:

The Chalk Talk
Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 2 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info:

Lab Set-Up
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 2 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info: 

Lab Finances
Thursday, January 12, 2017, 3 pm, Holden Auditorium
More info:​

Faculty Career Search Series
Spring 2017

January 2017

Using Mentoring and Individual Development Plans
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 3:30 pm, Wohl Auditorium
More info: 
Prepping for the Career Fair + SLAMs

Multiple dates and times: Jan. 20-Jan. 24 (Danforth Campus)
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, 6 pm, Danforth Campus, Danforth University Center, Tisch Commons


February 2017

Searching OVID Medline
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, 2 pm, FLTC 602
More info: 

Graduate Research Symposium Poster Session Preparation (Grad Students Only)
Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, 12 pm, Liberman Graduate Center, DUC 300 (Danforth Campus)
More info: 

New Grant-Writing Tools for R and K Mechanisms (Postdocs Only)
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2017, 12 pm, Schwarz Auditorium
More info:

Discovering Your Strengths (Grad Students Only)
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, 4 pm, Liberman Graduate Center, DUC 300 (Danforth Campus)

Selecting a Journal for Publication
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, 12:30 pm, FLTC 214

March 2017
How to Create Powerful Search Materials: CVs, Resumes, Cover Letters
Tuesday, March 7 (Medical  Campus), Wednesday, March 8 (Danforth Campus) 
More info:

Networking Workshop
Tuesday, March 14 (Medical Campus), Wednesday, March 15 (Danforth Campus)
More info: 

Interview & Negotiate Like a Pro
Tuesday, March 21 (Medical Campus), Wednesday, March 22 (Danforth Campus)
More info:

Increasing Student Engagement Among Peers (Grad Students Only)
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 4, pm, Liberman Graudate Center, DUC 300 (Danforth Campus)
More info:

Opportunites for Ph.D.s Beyond the Research Professoriate
Tuesday, March 28 (Medical Campus), Wednesday, March 29 (Danforth Campus)
More info:

Professional Development Programming
Spring 2017

Tauseef Charanya, Ph.D., Boston Consulting Group
Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, 1:00 pm, Becker 405
More info: 

Virtual Career Fair
Thursday, March 2, 2017, 8 am-5 pm, online
More info:

Wendy Chapman, Ph.D., Chair of Biomedical Informatics at University of Utah School of Medicine
Thursday, March 2, 2017, 4:00 pm, Becker Library King Center
More info: 

D. E. Shaw Research Information Session
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 5:00 pm, Connor Auditorium, FLTC
More info:

Career Talks
In the Lab
Postdoc Orientation

WUSM sets a minimum salary/stipend amount for Postdoctoral Research Scholars/Associates, but does not set an amount for each level of experience or a maximum amount.  We recommend that postdocs be reviewed annually and given raises as appropriate. (Link to Annual Review Template.)  Postdoctoral increases are decided by the faculty advisor and may be of any amount.  Postdoctoral increases are not subject to the staff percentage limits set by Human Resources for raises.  Some faculty may also choose to follow the NIH stipend scale, here is a link to the most current scale (NIH’s FY17):  

In fall 2010, WUSM Executive Faculty approved a proposal to tie the WUSM postdoctoral minimum salary/stipend amount to the NIH year 0 postdoctoral stipend amount with a delayed start.  Due to the differences in the federal and University fiscal years, occasional delays by congress in passing budgets, and the need for advance salary planning, the WUSM minimum for a particular fiscal year will be the NIH year 0 amount from the federal fiscal year two years prior.  Therefore, the WUSM FY18 minimum starting on July 1, 2017 will be $47,484. All postdocs are required to meet the minimum on July 1, but may be paid any amount above this.​

Postdoc Appointments (top)
What if I still have other questions that are not covered by the topics above? Who do I contact?

If you have any other questions or concerns that are not addressed, you may send us an email at

Admissions- FAQ What if I still have other questions that are not covered by the topics above? Who do I contact?
What is the application fee and are fee waivers accepted?

The application fee is $45, a fraction of that at many sister institutions.

Fee waivers are granted to applicants from the following programs:
MARC, McNair, RISE, IMSD, LSAMP, PREP, PPIA, DACA students, IRT-Insitute for the Recruitment of Teachers, Target Hope, Fulbright Scholars, AmeriCorps, Vista/Peace Corps, Teach for America, Gates Millennium Scholars, Mellon Mays Graduate Initative, Ron Brown Scholars, Vietnam Education Foundation

Fee waivers are also available for:
-Washington University undergraduates
-Participants in Washington University summer bioscience research programs
-Students mentored by a DBBS Alum
-Applicants with financial need

If you think you qualify for a fee waiver, please send an email to

Do you provide campus visits?

Prospective applicants wanting to visit the campus between June and August should contact our Recruiting Department through email at Visits during the admissions season are by invitation only.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
Application Process
Students applying in year 1 must be good academic standing. 
Students applying in year 2 must have completed the Program-specific qualifying exam. 
Students are encouraged to have completed one or more of the following courses: Genomics (Bio 5488), Advanced Genetics (Bio 5491) or Fundamentals of Mammalian Genetics (Bio 5285), however all interested students should apply.    
- Name, birth date, address, academic program and year and citizenship.  
- Contact information (e-mail and telephone)
- PI in which thesis work is being conducted
- CV or resume (include a list of graduate courses taken and grade)
- Paragraph description of why the student is interested in the Pathway
- Paragraph description of thesis research.* 
- Assemble these components into a single PDF, and send to
- Two letters of recommendation, one of which is from the thesis advisor*, should be sent directly to
*If you have not yet joined a thesis laboratory then a rotation lab project and a rotation advisor can be used as a substitute.
All application material should be submitted by June 15, 2017, to
Applications will be reviewed by the Pathway Co-directors, Tim Schedl (Genetics), Chris Gurnett (Neurology) and John Welch (Medicine).
Genetics & Genomics Pathway Application Process
Washington University Postdoc Society (WUPS)

The WU Postdoc Society plans a variety of activities and seminars specifically for postdocs. Please visit the website at If you would like more information or are interested in helping plan activities, please contact Postdoc Society officers at You can connect with other WU postdocs on Facebook at (@WUPostdocs) and stay up to day on Postdoc Society events and opportunites!

Organizations & Campus Groups - Postdocs
National Institute of Health

Ehiole Akhirome - Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Michael Bern - Immunology

Katherine Conen - Neurosciences

Jennifer Davis - Molecular Cell Biology

Vivek Durai - Immunology

Trent Evans - Molecular Cell Biology

Gary Grajales-Reyes - Immunology

Breanne Harty - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Amy Herbert - Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Sarah Kaufman - Neurosciences

Andrew Kraft - Neurosciences

Mariah Lawler - Biochemistry

Vivian Lee Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Cheryl Leyns - Molecular Cell Biology

Dov Lerman-Sinkoff - Biomedical Engineering

Lucy Li - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Stephen Linderman - Biomedical Engineering

Christine Luo - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Cates Mallaney - Human & Statistical Genetics

Cristina Mazuski - Neurosciences

Hannah Miller - Immunology

Anish Mitra - Neurosciences

Patrick Olson - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Eugene Park - Immunology

Chelsea Parker Harp - Immunology

Caitlin Purman - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Michelle Robinette - Immunology

Emilie Russler-Germain - Immunology

Alexandra Russo - Neurosciences

Sarah Smith - Neurosciences

Benjamin Solomon - Immunology

Avik Som - Biomedical Engineering

Caitlin Spaulding - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Calvin Stephens - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Samantha Van Hove - Molecular Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
Resources for Student Concerns
  • Academic:  Student performance is evaluated by multiple mechanisms: faculty evaluate student performance in their courses;  research rotation mentors complete evaluations at the end of lab rotation; thesis mentors complete evaluations at the end of each semester; dissertation advisory committees complete evaluations after each thesis meeting (which take place every 12 months, or more frequently if required by the program); TA supervisors complete evaluations at the end of the TA experience; and program advising committees provide evaluations to pre-thesis proposal students at the end of each semester.  In addition, programs may require periodic evaluation for senior students or those who are otherwise achieving borderline academic progress.  Academic progress concerns are first reviewed by the Program Director and, if necessary, the Program Steering Committee.  If the Program Director and Steering Committee cannot resolve the concern and it involves DBBS policy, it can be taken to the Programs and Student Affairs Committee of DBBS, chaired by the Associate Dean of Graduate Education (currently John Russell).  Other academic concerns can be taken to the Dean (William Tate) or Associate Dean (Diana Hill Mitchell) of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • Research Integrity: Concerns regarding research integrity that cannot be clarified in the laboratory should be taken to the Vice Chancellor for Research (Jennifer Lodge).
  • Academic Integrity: Issues of academic integrity that cannot be satisfactorily resolved should be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Diana Hill Mitchell).
  • Other: For all other concerns, University policies can be found on the University web site with links under Graduate Students on the DBBS home page.
DGSP Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students in the Ph.D. program are expected to satisfy the academic performance requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which can be found in The Graduate School Bulletin’s General Requirements section. In addition, there are specific DBBS satisfactory academic performance requirements before and after passing the qualifying examination.

Before the Qualifying Exam

Before passing the qualifying examination, satisfactory academic progress is achieved by timely completion of required course work with satisfactory grades (overall B average), successful laboratory rotations (based on mentor evaluation at the end of the rotation) and timely completion of the qualifying examination (as defined by individual program guidelines).

Except in cases of extreme underperformance warranting immediate dismissal, students failing to make satisfactory academic progress will be placed on academic probation as outlined in the Academic Probation and Dismissal section (below). In the case of failure of the qualifying examination, the student will be placed on academic probation for a period of up to three months.  The program committee will provide the student with feedback on the deficiencies in their performance, and a timeline for the administration of the second examination.  Failure of the examination a second time could result in immediate dismissal by the steering committee.  In certain cases, a student who fails the qualifying exam may petition the committee for the awarding of a masters degree.

After the Qualifying Exam

After passing the qualifying examination, satisfactory progress is maintained by completing the following steps in a timely manner.

  • Establish a thesis committee and successfully present a thesis proposal.
    In some programs, a successful thesis proposal is a part of the qualifying examination. In cases where it is not, satisfactory academic progress requires that the student assemble a thesis committee and present a thesis proposal by the deadline specified in the program guidelines. A student not completing a thesis proposal by the date specified by the relevant program guidelines or by no later than the fifth semester of graduate study will be given notice that they are on academic probation and could be dismissed if the proposal is not completed within three months.
  • Maintain a thesis committee that meets the requirements of the program guidelines.
    The thesis advisory committee composition must be in accordance with the requirements of the specific PhD program.  At a bare minimum, the advisory committee must consist of four eligible Washington University faculty(s). At least four committee members must be present at the thesis proposal and update meetings.  If a member of the thesis committee resigns, the student must identify a new member within three months of face academic probation.  The thesis examination committee consists of a minimum of five faculty(s), in accordance with the requirements of the PhD program.
  • Review research progress with the thesis committee regularly.
    Students are required to meet and provide progress reports to their thesis committee at least once per year or more frequently if the program or the committee so recommends. The chairman of the committee will document the student's progress to the program coordinator, using the thesis committee report form ( Failure to meet as directed by the program or thesis committee will result in academic probation. 
  • Make acceptable progress toward completion of the thesis.
    Both the thesis committee and the thesis mentor must be satisfied that the student is progressing toward the completion of an acceptable thesis. If the thesis committee and mentor agree that a student is not meeting the expectations for progress for degree completion, the student will be placed on academic probation. Any disagreements between the thesis committee and the mentor should be resolved by the program steering committee. If the steering committee is unable to resolve the differences, the Program and Student Affairs Committee shall have final jurisdiction.
  • Complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree by the end of the seventh year of graduate study.
    Students will be notified in writing at the beginning of the seventh year of graduate study that they must complete and defend an acceptable thesis by the end of the seventh year. The student and the mentor may petition for extension of this time limit. The petition must be approved by the steering committee and the Associate Dean for Graduate Education before being forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School for consideration.  If the petition is denied or the student is unable is otherwise unable to complete the PhD requirements, the student will be dismissed from the program at the end of the seventh year.

Academic Probation and Dismissal.  Review the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Policy on Probation and Dismissal for Academic Reasons.

Students who do not meet performance expectations in coursework, qualifying examination, teaching1, research, thesis committee meetings or other scholarly activities will be subject to academic probation and possible dismissal from the program.  Students may be dismissed immediately for extreme academic underperformance, but in most cases, they will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to remediate the deficiencies.  The period of an academic probation will normally be 3 months, though in some instances (such as poor performance in courses or an exceptionally poor qualifying examination) the academic probationary period may be of a shorter duration.  Individuals placed on academic probation will receive a letter from the program committee informing them of the imposition of academic probation.  The letter will establish the criteria necessary to return to good academic standing. At the end of the three-month probationary period, the program will inform the student in writing that have either been (1) returned to good standing, or (2) placed on a second consecutive academic probation, or (3) dismissed from the program. A second consecutive academic probation must be accompanied by a new letter identifying the steps required to return to good standing. While the purpose of the academic probationary period is to provide the student with time to improve, the decision of the program at the end of an academic probationary period could involve immediate notification of dismissal. At the end of a second continuous academic probation, the student will be either returned to good standing or dismissed. A third academic probation will be allowed only if it is does not immediately follow a second probation. A fourth academic probation will not be allowed. A student whose performance would result in a fourth academic probation will be dismissed immediately. A leave of absence cannot be used by a student to delay or nullify the consequences of a third consecutive or fourth academic probation.

Individuals on academic probation will continue to receive a stipend unless the student is failing to meet the basic expectations of their position, (including failure to carry our lab duties, MTE duties, compliance requirements or thesis committee meetings); in those cases, the individual will be given a two week notice prior to the suspension of the stipend.  All other benefits (access to Student Health, library and research facilities, etc.) will continue for the duration of the probationary period.

The Associate Dean for Graduate Education reviews all recommendations for dismissal before they are forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School.  If the student disagrees with the steering committee's recommendation, a written petition may be submitted to the DBBS Program and Student Affairs Committee and, if warranted, they will hear the appeal.


1Complete a one-semester Menotred Teaching Experience (MTE) and a minimum of three qualifying workshops.  students lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions, prepare and deliver one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule, and/or provide regular instruction in a laboratory environment. MTE will invlove student lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions, preparation and delivery of one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule, and/or regular instruction in a laboratory environment.

DGSP Academic Progress
Thesis Research

After rotations have been completed, students select a thesis mentor (Thesis Affiliation Form). Students are encouraged to gather information from several sources, including consultations with faculty and current students, before choosing a thesis lab. Ph.D. students must be in a thesis laboratory by September 1 of their second year, MSTP students by September 1 of the first year of Ph.D. training. If a student is interested in pursuing their graduate studies with a faculty member who is not affiliated with DBBS, the student must identify a co-mentor who is affiliated with DBBS. Please refer to your program coordinator for more information.

By the fifth semester of graduate study, students establish a thesis committee and present a thesis proposal. The purpose of the thesis committee is to advise the student in his or her thesis research and to provide the student with a readily accessible source of advice and constructive criticism during the dissertation research. The composition of thesis advisory committee requires approval from the respective Program Director, and the "Thesis Advisory Committee Approval Form" should be filled out (Thesis Advisory Committee Approval Form).

Dissertation Defense Committee Policy
The committee before which the student is examined consists of at least five members, who normally meet two independent criteria:
  1. Four of the five must be tenured or tenure-track Washington University faculty; one of these four may be a member of the Emeritus faculty. The fifth member must have a doctoral degree and an active research program, whether at Washington University, at another university, in government, or in industry.
  2. A minimum of three of the five must come from the student's degree program; at least one of the five must have an appointment outside of the student’s degree programs.

All committees must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences or by his or her designee, regardless of whether they meet the normal criteria.



Attendance by a minimum of four members of the Dissertation Defense Committee, including the committee chair and a faculty member from outside the student’s degree program, is required for the defense to take place. This provision is designed to permit your defense to proceed in case of a situation that unexpectedly prevents one of the five members from attending. Student’s must not schedule a dissertation defense at a time when only four members will be in attendance; the provision for defending in front of a committee of four will only be permitted if a committee member unexpectedly is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.  Note that the absence of the outside members or of the committee chair will necessitate rescheduling the defense.

Members of the Dissertation Defense Committee normally attend in person, but one of the five (or, in case of an emergency, one of the four) members may attend virtually (e.g., teleconference) instead.

Read individual program guidelines for specific requirements and "Satisfactory Academic Progress" below for detailed information.


Back to top

DGSP Degree Requirements
Laboratory Rotations

Students usually participate in three laboratory rotations before selecting a thesis mentor. Rotations can range widely and may even cross programs. Research rotations are designed to expose the student to new research approaches and different laboratory environments. Significant research accomplishment is not required for a successful rotation. Typical rotations last two to four months. Students who have already conducted research in a laboratory at Washington University are normally prohibited from conducting rotation research in their former lab.

Assistance with identifying appropriate rotation laboratories is available from academic advisers and program steering committees. Students wishing to rotate with a faculty member who is not affiliated with DBBS must receive approval from their program director prior to starting the rotation. Students write a brief description of the rotation project and their objectives prior to beginning the rotation, using page one of the Rotation Report Form. After each rotation, students meet with their rotation adviser to discuss their performance during the rotation. The adviser writes an evaluation for the student’s record, and the student completes the second page of the rotation report form, which evaluates their experience in the laboratory.

Back to top
DGSP Degree Requirements
Qualifying Examination

Students must pass their program's qualifying examination. The format of the examination varies from program to program but an element common to all is an oral examination. The student should check their program's guidelines to determine the specific format of their exam. The purpose of the exam is to determine that the student has acquired sufficient knowledge to pursue independent research.

Back to top
DGSP Degree Requirements
1 - 30Next