Human Genetics Graduate Programs, Training Grant, and Seminars

Human Genetics PhD Program

The goal of the Human Genetics PhD Program of the Department of Human Genetics at UCLA is to train the next generation of leaders in human genetics and genomics. This rapidly evolving field of research incorporates multiple areas of modern experimental biology (including but not limited to molecular and behavioral genetics, epigenetics, biochemisty, cell and developmental biology, imaging, and large-scale omics approaches such as genomics, transcriptomics and functional genomics) and of computational biology (including bioinformatics and biostatistics). In their research, students tackle Mendelian diseases and genetically complex traits of key relevance to human health.

Our Graduate Program hosts the Genetics and Genomics Home Area of the Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB). We are also associated with the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Prospective students may apply through the GPB or MSTP admission mechanisms.

Human Genetics student in a classroom pointing at a white board in front of three other students

The program offers:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Science (MS) on PhD track

A wide variety of courses are offered to equip future independent researchers with fundamental knowledge about state-of-the-art methods for generating experimental data on a genome-wide scale and computational and statistical approaches to draw from the data sound conclusions of biological and medical significance. In addition, courses on medical and ethical issues provide students with a societal perspective on human genetics.

Since its creation in 1998, more than 80 students have graduated from our program. As of September 2020, the average time to degree (defined as the time since admission to graduate school at UCLA, including years spent in other graduate programs) of our Ph.D. Program is 5.31 years. Many of our alumni have published parts of their dissertation work in top scientifc journals and become successful scientists in academy or industry.

Genetic Counseling MS Program

The UCLA MS in Genetic Counseling Program embraces 21st century genetics/genomics, integrates social contexts, has strong support locally and regionally, and will train high-caliber professionals.Our 21-month program integrates strong academic grounding, direct fieldwork experiences with diverse patient populations, and independent research to prepare graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counseling. The overall goal of the UCLA MS in Genetic Counseling program is to train well-round ed genetic counselors in clinical genomic medicine who are equipped with the critical thinking skills to guide the evolving field of genetic counseling in this new era of precision health. Our program faculty consists of genetic counselors, trained at a variety of genetic counseling programs, geneticists and other clinicians, and researchers investigating topics from basic science to society, to provide top quality and well-rounded training to our genetic counseling students. The objectives of this master’s program are to train diverse cohorts of genetic counseling students to:

  • Engage in an evidence-based practice that incorporates advanced knowledge in genetics, genomics, and psychosocial counseling.
  • Critically think, evaluate, and synthesize research findings to produce and disseminate new scientific research related to the discipline and practice of genetic counseling.
  • Address and appropriately act on ethical, legal, and social issues in the discipline and practice of genetic counseling.

These objectives will be achieved through coursework taught by faculty, including genetic counselors, with broad expertise; a capstone research project conducted at a top-ranked research-intensive university under the direction of UCLA faculty; fieldwork experiences supervised by certified genetic counselors in a broad array of settings with diverse patient populations and healthcare professionals; and interactions with genetic counselor role models as leadership mentors.

Genomic Analysis Training Program

The Genomic Analysis Training Program is funded by a NIH grant and supports UCLA pre-doctoral students whose goal is to conduct research in genomics. The program is designed to insure that students obtain an adequate biological, computational and statistical foundation to succeed in this interdisciplinary field. Each year, the Genomic Analysis Training Program provides its trainees with stipends and funding for academic fees. The grant also provides support for travel to a yearly NHGRI research and training conference. Participating faculty represent a multidisciplinary approach to genomics including: biological chemistry, biomathematics, biostatistics, cardiology, chemical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, human genetics, molecular and medical pharmacology, pathology and laboratory medicine, and pediatrics.

Seminar Series

The seminar series is a weekly feature hosted by the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program and the Department of Human Genetics whereby distinguished researchers are invited to present their insights on today's most intriguing topics in genetics and other related fields. The seminars are hosted by students, postdocs, and faculty and are open to public attendance. Learn more about and view the schedule of the seminar series here.