Welcome to the MIT Computational and Systems Biology PhD Program (CSB)

The Ph.D. program seeks to train a new breed of quantitative biologists who can take advantage of technologies at the leading edge of science and engineering to tackle fundamental and applied problems in biology. Our students acquire: (i) a background in modern molecular/cell biology; (ii) a foundation in quantitative/engineering disciplines to enable them to create new technologies as well as apply existing methods; and (iii) exposure to subjects emphasizing the application of quantitative approaches to biological problems.  Our program and courses emphasize the logic of scientific discovery rather than mastering a specific set of skills or facts.  The program includes teaching experience during one semester of the second year.  It prepares students with the tools needed to succeed in a variety of academic and non-academic careers.

The program is highly selective with typical class sizes 8 to 10 students. About half of our graduate students are women, about one-quarter are international students, and about 10% are under-represented minorities.

Students complete most coursework during the first year, while exploring research opportunities through 1- or 2-month research rotations.  A faculty academic advisor assigned in the first year provides guidance and advice. Students choose a research advisor in spring or early summer of year 1 and develop a Ph.D. research project in with their advisor and input from a thesis committee chosen by the student.

Average time to graduation is 5½ years. 

The Program in CSB is committed to increasing opportunities for under-represented minority graduate students and students who have experienced financial hardship or disability.

Latest News:

An unprecedented view of gene regulation

May 8, 2023

MIT engineers’ new technique analyzes the 3D organization of the genome at a resolution 100 times higher than before.

Image: Melanie Gonick/MIT

Much of the human genome is made of regulatory regions that control which genes are expressed at a given time within a cell. Those regulatory elements can be located near a target gene or up to 2 million base pairs away from the target.

To enable those interactions, the genome loops itself in a 3D structure that brings distant regions close together. Using a new technique, MIT researchers have shown that they can map these interactions with 100 times higher resolution than has previously been possible.

“Using this method, we generate the highest-resolution maps of the 3D genome that have ever been generated, and what we see are a lot of int...

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