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The Rockefeller University

The David Rockefeller Graduate Program in Bioscience

New York, NY


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Without Teaching Obligations, Graduate Students Focus Exclusively on Research at The Rockefeller University

The David Rockefeller Graduate Program at The Rockefeller University is a highly competitive program that provides full fellowship support to outstanding candidates who wish to pursue Ph.D. degrees in the biological sciences or physics. Rockefeller's uniquely flexible academic program allows students to concentrate on laboratory research by requiring minimal course work and forgoing teaching or service obligations. The program stresses the importance of active research, upholding the belief that experiential learning is the most important aspect of graduate study in the sciences. The goal for the time required for the Ph.D. is 5 years. Students are eligible for Ph.D. degrees upon completion of satisfactory dissertations and defenses. Rockefeller graduates go on to achieve distinguished careers in academia, nonprofit organizations, and industry.

Ph.D. Students Take a Flexible Complement of Courses, Rather Than a Core Curriculum

Students in the biological sciences and physics Ph.D. programs at Rockefeller University fulfill credit requirements with scientific courses of interest. Because there is no required core curriculum, students can choose a selection of courses based on their personal interests, allowing them to specialize or develop a breadth of scientific knowledge. Ph.D. students take a total of 7 units of course work, and courses are chosen with the help of the university's dean of graduate studies. This ensures that each student's selection of courses maximizes the value of graduate work. Many courses are available in 9 general subject areas, including chemical and structural biology; genetics and genomics; immunology, virology, and microbiology; medical sciences, systems physiology, and human genetics; molecular and cell biology; neurosciences and behavior; organismal biology, evolution, ethology, and ecology; physical, mathematical and computational biology; and stem cells, development, regeneration, and aging.

Rockefeller Students Have the Option of Immediately Joining One of 73 Laboratories

Each student in the David Rockefeller Graduate Program begins laboratory research in the 1st year of the program. Students can choose to spend their 1st years conducting rotations or to immediately join laboratories for thesis research. This structure maximizes flexibility, allowing students to gain exposure to a variety of laboratories in order to choose thesis topics, or to join relevant laboratories if they already have specific research interests. Rockefeller's 73 research laboratories are each led by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member, so Rockefeller graduate students can become part of high-quality research efforts in one of a remarkable number of topics.

Tenured Faculty Head Innovative, Interdisciplinary Laboratories with High Quality Facilities

Rockefeller University strives to create a research environment that encourages creativity, interdisciplinary exploration, and collaboration. In order to avoid limiting research efforts, the university does not have individual departments. As a result, the university's 73 research laboratories are engaged in projects that often span disciplines. The laboratories are grouped into 9 general areas, which correspond to the areas into which the program's courses are grouped. Faculty members, students, and post-doctoral researchers across the university have access to a comprehensive selection of state-of-the-art resources and facilities. These include tools for electron microscopy, DNA sequencing, spectroscopy, high energy particle physics, and x-ray crystallography, among others.

Centralized Funding Ensures That Graduate Students are Not Dependent on One Laboratory

Fellowship support for Rockefeller graduate students is provided by the university itself, rather than by individual laboratories. This central funding enables students to explore research possibilities without financial dependence on a particular laboratory. For the academic year 2013-2014, fellowship support consists of a $35,000 stipend and a $1,500 research and travel allowance. In addition, the university provides health, dental, and vision insurance, and student housing is provided at subsidized rates. Because Rockefeller University does not include a teaching requirement in its graduate programs, this financial package allows students to devote their energy, time, and attention exclusively to research and study.

Rockefeller University's Manhattan Campus Retains a Studious, Intimate Character

Despite its central metropolitan location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Rockefeller campus has a distinctive non-urban character. The 15-acre campus, situated between York Avenue and the East River esplanade, features gardens, picnic areas, and fountains, as well as tennis and squash courts. Rockefeller students also enjoy the cultural benefits of living in New York City. A liberal arts education is guaranteed for those who wish to pursue it, as cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, and the theater district on Broadway are all a short walk or subway ride away from campus.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MS)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 3
Doctoral Degrees 33
Other Advanced Degrees 0

Earning Your Degree

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

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Thesis Required
Doctoral Degrees Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 1st December 1st No
Winter deadline December 1st December 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Requirements Three letters of recommendation, official college or university transcripts, personal essay

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Types of financial support available Fellowships
Health Care Benefits
Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans
Career or field-related internships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 8.63%
Black or African American 4.71%
White or Caucasian 38%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.78%
Asian 12.16%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.39%
Two or more races 0%
Unknown 0.39%


Male (55%)
Female (44%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 67
Part-time - 0
Male (54)
Female (13)

Location & Contact

Address 1230 York Avenue
Box 177
New York, NY  10065
United States
Contact Dr. Sidney Strickland
Dean of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies/Vice President
Phone: 212-327-8086
Fax: 212-327-8505

Update my info
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Update my info
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The Rockefeller University
Update my info
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