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Message from Dean Alexander Gann


A Unique And Exciting Doctoral Program

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory provides a uniquely stimulating environment for a doctoral program in the biological sciences. It is an international community of science where students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty work side-by-side. The hierarchical structure of the Laboratory is flat and the atmosphere intimate and highly interactive. Our program is designed for students with exceptional ability and a deep commitment to their graduate education. Its curriculum is designed to train confident, self-reliant students to become scholars and to acquire the knowledge their research and future careers demand.

Our innovative doctoral program includes the following key features:
• Approximately four to five years from matriculation to Ph.D.
• A broad representation of the biological sciences
• A first year with course work and laboratory rotations in separate phases
• Emphasis on the principles of scientific reasoning and logic as well as the importance of ethics and effective communication
• Continued advanced course instruction throughout the graduate curriculum
• Extensive mentoring and support in large part through our "two-tier" mentoring program

The Watson School of Biological Sciences opened its doors in 1999. Our first class of six students arrived with a sense of adventure and a trust in a faculty that would follow Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s long tradition of non-compromising excellence. In a very short time the WSBS has graduated over 90 PhD students and become a leading graduate program in the biological sciences, one whose fresh approach is quickly being emulated by other PhD programs across the country.

The spectacular track record of our students and alumni is a testament to the success of our remarkable program. They are publishing well-cited papers in leading journals, have received highly competitive fellowships and awards. Several have started tenure-track faculty positions within four years of graduating, which is much faster than is typical for Ph.D. programs - an excellent indicator of the School’s success in preparing highly qualified and competitive scientific leaders. Our aim remains to produce the next generation of leaders in science and society, and we invite you to join us.