MCO’s unique approach to the Biological Sciences Ph.D. cultivates versatility as well as depth of expertise by exposing its students to the full spectrum of modern biology. Three eight-week lab rotations in the first year offer students the opportunity to explore divergent fields of scientific research and collaborate with faculty affiliated with five departments, providing an interdisciplinary foundation intended to inform ultimate paths of research.

In addition to lab rotations, students complete a series of rigorous foundation courses as well as two electives. Participation in the MCO Student-Faculty Journal Club and two terms as a Teaching Fellow hone the communication skills and critical thinking vital to a successful career in the sciences. Students take the Candidacy Examination in the second year and conclude their preparatory studies by proposing their dissertation subjects to a committee of faculty members. Candidates devote the following years to full-time laboratory research, completing their dissertation, and earning their doctoral degree by the end of the sixth year.

Harvard University’s lively Cambridge campus accommodates a close-knit community of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from diverse personal and academic backgrounds. Interdepartmental volleyball tournaments, weekly student-hosted TGIF socials, and annual student-organized retreats (past locations include the New England Aquarium and the Boston Museum of Science) contribute to a vibrant sense of community among peers at MCO.