Frequently Asked Questions

What are the faculty research interests?
The major research interests of the faculty involve aspects of –omics related data, including genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.  More specific interests can be found by visiting the faculty site or by viewing sample research projects, publications, and dissertations. (Need to link to each of these)

What is the program size?
Typically 1-2 students join our program every fall.  Our program has maintained a size of 6-10 students over the past several years.  In addition to interacting with peers in the Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies: Specialization in Bioinformatics, students closely interact with students from other departments via lab meetings, courses, and the bioinformatics journal club, including students from Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, and the basic sciences departments.

What application materials are required?
All applicants must provide: (1) official transcripts for all colleges attended; (2) official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general exam; (3) Two letters of recommendation; (4)  A current CV/resume; and (5) a personal statement.  In addition, applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores.

What is the cost for applying? 
The application fee for the fall of 2018 is $65.

What are the application deadlines?
Applications for the PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Studies: Specialization in Bioinformatics are generally processed early in the spring semester for entrance in the fall.  In order to be eligible for one of the limited fellowships, a complete application must be submitted by January 15.

When will I know my acceptance status?
Applications are reviewed by the Executive Committee in late January/early February.  In general, we try and let applicants know their status no later than mid-March.

What funding opportunities exist?
A limited number of fellowships are available for high-quality doctoral students.  These fellowships follow the University Fellowship guidelines (  All accepted applicants will be reviewed by the Bioinformatics Executive Committee to determine fellowship nominees.  Nominees typically have strong scores on the GRE (in particular the quantitative portion), a strong undergraduate record, and excellent letters of recommendation that speak to the nominee’s scholarly ability and potential to succeed in a doctoral program. In order to be eligible for one of the limited fellowships, a complete application must be submitted by January 15.
You are also encouraged to contact individual faculty you would be interested in working with to determine the availability of other funding sources, such as grants.

What are the requirements for degree?
Students must complete 37 hours of coursework as described in the Curriculum section.  Within 9 months of completing the coursework requirements, students must prepare a written proposal in the form of a grant application, typically based on the research they are planning to undertake.  The student’s dissertation committee will also prepare written questions for a qualifying exam at this point in time, which the student must pass in order to continue in the program.  The written proposal is then defended orally.  A written final dissertation and public oral defense are also required.  Students are also expected to have their work reviewed and published by peer experts in the bioinformatics field in conference and journal publications.  Additional University-wide requirements are published by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

How long does it take to complete the PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies: Specialization in Bioinformatics?
Our program is designed to give students a pathway to matriculate through the program in four years, with coursework completed in the first two years and the second two years dedicated to research.  Depending upon research progress, this timeline may be slightly shortened or lengthened

What type of careers do graduates of the program typically have?
Our program is relatively new, obtaining approval in the fall of 2011, and having our first round of students in the fall of 2012.  Both of our graduates have gone on to postdoctoral careers at the University of Kentucky.  Other doctoral students mentored by the participating faculty with bioinformatics research interests have found postdoctoral positions at Harvard University, Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University, and the University of Colorado, while others have gone on to industrial positions at Intel Research, Cisco Systems, Electronic Arts, and Insilico Taiwan.  We find our graduates are highly skilled and sought-after bioinformaticians.  We encourage students to discuss their career goals early on with their mentors and committee members so they can be best prepared.