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

The 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 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:

The power of two

June 30, 2021

Photo: Matthew Brown

Graduate student Ellen Zhong helped biologists and mathematicians reach across departmental lines to address a longstanding problem in electron microscopy.

MIT’s Hockfield Court is bordered on the west by the ultramodern Stata Center, with its reflective, silver alcoves that jut off at odd angles, and on the east by Building 68, which is a simple, window-lined, cement rectangle. At first glance, Bonnie Berger’s mathematics lab in the Stata Center and Joey Davis’s biology lab in Building 68 are as different as the buildings that house them. And yet, a...

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