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The Graduate Center - The Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City

A graduate school of arts and sciences, the Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), offering more than 30 doctoral degrees. In addition to rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a PhD- focused, scholarly environment, the Graduate Center fosters globally significant research across the faculty and in a wide variety of centers and institutes. It is an inclusive community of 7,000 students, scholars, and researchers, drawing upon the widest possible range of experience of race and ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. Extensive library resources are found at the GC and at each senior college campus throughout New York City.

PhD Program in Biology

The PhD Program in Biology at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) takes advantage of the rich diversity of people and resources available in New York City through a consortial, multi-campus program. Doctoral students receive interdisciplinary training in one of four major areas of biology: Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, and Behavior (EEB), Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCD), Neuroscience (NS), and Plant Sciences (PS). The subprogram in Neuroscience has partnered with the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience training area in the Psychology PhD Program at CUNY, to form the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative (CNC) that provides all students (from both the Psychology and Biology doctoral Programs) with a common foundation in molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and cognitive neuroscience.

The Biology PhD Program seeks to prepare its students not only to carry out innovative research in the biological sciences but also to communicate the importance of biological research to the populace at large, and to share in the mission of making the United States citizenry more knowledgeable with respect to the promise, challenges, and ethical issues associated with research and discovery in this scientific field.

Research Experiences

Doctoral students in the Biology PhD Program carry out their research at any of eight participating campuses within the City University of New York system and can choose a research mentor from over 200 doctoral faculty members (~50 per subprogram). The CUNY campuses include Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, Lehman, Queens and York Colleges, and the College of Staten Island. The Biology Program is also affiliated with The New York Botanical Garden (Bronx, NY) and the American Museum of Natural History, and curators and other scientists at these two institutions can serve as mentors for CUNY Biology PhD students. Many students in the PS and EEB subprograms work with collections available at these affiliated institutions.

State-of-the-art research facilities are available at each of the CUNY campuses where students conduct their research, and the research programs of faculty mentors are generously funded by both federal and private agency grants. The CUNY Advanced Science Research Center houses additional research facilities that, in some cases, are unique within the New York City research community and therefore serve not only CUNY faculty and students but also several other Universities and private research institutes within the Greater New York City area.

The research environment in New York City is rich and vibrant, and CUNY doctoral students find themselves interacting with scientists both within and outside of CUNY as a result of the many research collaborations taking place between CUNY researchers and researchers at neighboring universities, medical schools, and research institutions. The Graduate Center is also a member of the Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium that allows CUNY Biology doctoral students to cross-register for courses offered at other universities in the area (e.g. Columbia University, Rutgers-New Brunswick, New York University, Stony Brook University).

Admissions Requirements

Students apply online at The CUNY Graduate Center, specifying into which subprogram they are requesting admission (EEB, MCD, NS, or PS). Their first year in the Program consists of subprogram-specific courses and laboratory rotations during which they identify a faculty mentor with whom they will conduct their doctoral research. In both MCD and NS (CNC), there is a year-long course in which first-year students, among other things, meet active CUNY researchers and learn more about their research programs.

Applications are completed online through the Apply Yourself portal where applicants will be required to upload all required documentation. The admission deadline is January 1 for attendance starting the following fall semester.

Required Documentation

Transcripts, GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative, Writing), Letters of recommendation from 2-3 professors, Scores on English proficiency exams (required of foreign applicants).

Financial Support

All admitted students are provided a five-year support package that includes a living allowance, full tuition fellowship (in-state, out-of-state, or international), and low-cost health insurance subsidized by CUNY. Students do not teach in their first year in the Program. The yearly living allowance is provided by the student's research mentor in years 2-5, and limited teaching assignments (with salary) can form part of that support.

Location & Contact

Biology PhD Program

The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue, Room 4315

New York, NY 10016

Phone: 212-817-8100

FAX: 212-817-1504

Executive Officer:

Cathy Savage-Dunn, Ph.D.


Assistant Program Officer:

Joan Reid


Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 16
Doctoral Degrees 17

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Required
Teaching experience


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 1st Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Tuition & Fees

Calculator icon

Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards April 15
Types of financial support available Institutionally-sponsored Loans

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 7.19%
Black or African American 6.47%
White or Caucasian 41%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 15.11%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2.16%
Unknown 10.79%


Male (41%)
Female (58%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 78
Part-time - 0
Male (54)
Female (24)

Location & Contact

Address 365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY  10016-4039
United States
Contact Cathy Savage-Dunn
Executive Officer
Phone: 212-817-8101
Fax: 212-817-1504

Update my info
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Update my info
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The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Update my info
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