Our unique PhD program pairs exceptionally motivated students with mentors who encourage a certain amount of independence. Each class of PhD candidates is small, as are Janelia’s laboratories. Therefore, students quickly become fully integrated in the lab and have exceptional opportunities for day-to-day contact with their lab heads and other colleagues. Graduate students at Janelia have been co-authors on manuscripts published in leading journals.
Julius Maximilians Universitat Wurzburg
University of Tokyo
Major: Biological Sciences, Zoology / Science
Major(s): Biological Science
Beijing Normal University
Major(s): Management Science
What makes our program special:
We’re small. There are currently 17 students in the program and the number at Janelia at any one time will remain small. The campus has approximately 40 resident scientists running independent labs; no individual lab has more than six members. Therefore, the students get a lot of personal attention in the lab to support their commitment to high-quality research. The program head and science program manager are dedicated to fostering each student’s experience and provide support from the beginning of the partner application process through the student's defense of his or her PhD thesis. In addition, the program manager at Janelia interacts with the students on a regular basis and is always available for informal conversation.
Because Janelia hosts an extensive conference program, with attendees from the worldwide academic community, graduate students have unusual access to leading scientists who enjoy spending time with them when they visit the campus. In addition, Janelia runs regular lectures and seminars by resident scientists, thereby fostering exposure to cutting-edge research in a range of disciplines.
Some Admission Basics:
- For the Chicago and Cambridge programs, you apply directly through the HHMI Janelia system.
- For the Johns Hopkins program, you apply to the JHU neuroscience program and, if accepted, can then conduct a summer research rotation at Janelia at the end of your first year. If you, your Janelia supervisor, and the JHU/JFRC program directors agree, you may then remain at Janelia to conduct your thesis research. Click here for details.
Some Academic Basics:
- You will have two supervisors: one at Janelia Farm and one at either Chicago, Cambridge or Johns Hopkins.
- Year 1: Chicago/ Cambridge students: You will reside at Chicago or Cambridge while you take any required courses, complete lab rotations, and work on your research.
- Year 1: JHU students: You will take required courses, complete lab rotations, and will come to Janelia at the end of your first year for a summer lab rotation. At the end of the rotation, the JHU student as well as the Janelia advisor and both school's program directors will decide if the student will remain part of the Janelia Graduate Program. If yes, the student moves to Janelia and becomes like any other graduate program student.
- Years 2 through defense: You will reside at Janelia, conducting your thesis research.
- Your degree will be granted by the University of Chicago, the University of Cambridge, or Johns Hopkins University (Janelia Farm is not a degree-granting institution.)
Some Financial and Visa Basics:
- Janelia Farm Research Campus, which is fully supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will pay all financial costs, including travel, for your PhD.
- Janelia will sponsor visa applications for international students and assist with the details of obtaining a visa and/or sponsorship transfer if supported by one of the program's partner schools.
- Janelia coordinates all activities associated with your program of study.
- Each academic year will end with a research symposium, held at Janelia Farm, the University of Chicago, the University of Cambridge, or the Johns Hopkins University that will bring together members of the graduate programs and their mentors.
For our collaborative programs with the Universities of Chicago & Cambridge, you apply directly through the HHMI/ Janelia Farm application system. For our program with the Johns Hopkins neuroscience department, you apply directly to JHU (see program details above).
We ask for the following documents/information:
- Curriculum vitae
- Research proposal
- Statement on your research experience
- Unofficial undergraduate transcripts
- Three references
- The Chicago program requires GRE scores (Cambridge does not). University of Chicago GRE Institution Code: 1832
- For non-English-speaking countries both universities require TOEFL or IELTS scores.
- The names of three Janelia scientists you’d prefer to work with
- Optional: The names of three supervisors from the partner school you’d prefer to work with
- Optional: Upload up to three publications
- Optional: Disclosure of any held patents
To learn more about the research in the labs of group leaders and fellows to guide you in your decision about a supervisor at Janelia, visit the lab pages.
Applications will be accepted in the Fall.
Graduate students arriving at Janelia will find a beautiful campus complete with housing, a fitness center, dining facilities, a pub, social clubs and, sports teams – plus numerous other amenities and conveniences, including WiFi.
Janelia’s modern and elegant laboratory building and conference facilities, which include contemporary housing for overnight guests are all designed to blend into the natural surroundings of the nearly 700 acre site on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia. The architectural design of the buildings and the laboratories are aimed at achieving Janelia's central objectives—collaboration and flexibility.
Life at Janelia
Students have multiple housing options within close proximity to the Janelia Farm campus, including nearby apartments and townhouses to rent with other grad students or Janelia staff.
Students may also choose to live on campus sharing one of Janelia Farm’s fully furnished, four-bedroom townhouses. Each bedroom has a private bath, and each home has laundry facilities. Occupancy fees include all utilities, such as Internet connection, water, gas, electric, phone, and water.
Janelia Farm Research Campus will sponsor visas for participants to enter the United States and the United Kingdom, as appropriate and as permitted. If you are coming from outside the United States or the United Kingdom (for U. Cambridge), you are responsible for determining if a visa is required and applying through your local embassy or consulate. In recent years, this process has become quite slow in some countries, taking up to several months. Therefore, we suggest that you apply for your visa as soon as possible after admission. Katie Breneman, the program administrator will be able to help with any questions you have.
Your degree will be granted by either the University of Chicago, the University of Cambridge, or the Johns Hopkins University.
- The University of Chicago requires students to complete 9 graduate credits for the PhD, attend an ethics course, and be a teaching assistant.
- The University of Cambridge requires students reside in Cambridge for 3 terms and to complete a first year research report. There is no required coursework. Three of your four years will be spent at Janelia doing hands-on science. Subsequently, you will submit and defend your thesis at your university.
- The Johns Hopkins University requires students to complete an ethics course, courses in neural cognition, and 6 elective courses. There are also journal club and seminar requirements that can be fulfilled while in residence at Janelia.
The three institutions Janelia partners with for its graduate program are the University of Cambridge, the University of Chicago, and the Johns Hopkins University.
University of Chicago
Depending on your research area and educational needs, you may join one of several existing PhD programs at the university. These include the new interdisciplinary graduate program in biophysical dynamics and self-organization; the program in neurobiology, pharmacology and cell physiology; the computer science program; and others. Students are required to take courses their first year and, in addition, conduct research in their Chicago supervisor's lab.
Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
University of Cambridge
Cambridge does not require any specific course or quantity of courses. You are entitled to take any course of academic study offered by Cambridge University, at the graduate or undergraduate level. Depending on your research proposal, you might also spend all of your time in Cambridge doing research. We will design a specific program of courses tailored to fit your needs.
Prospective Graduate Students information
Johns Hopkins University (JHU)
The partnersip we've established is through the JHU neuroscience department. Students would be accepted into the department independently of Janelia and could elect to conduct one of their 3 lab rotations at Janelia during the summer at the end of their first year. At the end of the rotation if the student, Janelia advisor, and the program directors agree the student should remain at Janelia, she/he will then join the Janelia graduate program and will remain at Janelia to conduct their PhD research.
HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus is a pioneering biomedical research center where outstanding scientists from diverse disciplines use emerging and innovative technologies to pursue biology's most challenging problems. Our research goals include the identification of general principles guiding how information is processed by neuronal circuits, in addition to the development of new imaging technologies and computational methods for image data analysis.
You will be fully supported financially while participating in the Janelia graduate program.
For the 2012/13 Academic Year
While in the United States (Janelia Farm or University of Chicago)
- Stipend of $33,000 per year.
- Health insurance, plus other benefits
- Payment of all programmatic travel costs.
While at the University of Cambridge
- Stipend of £19,919 for the first year, which is equivalent to the Wellcome Trust Ph.D. Studentship stipend (paid in UK pounds while in England).
- Health care while in the UK is provided by the National Health Service.
- Payment of all programmatic travel costs.
As the graduate programs primary focus is on research, we highly value research experience as we evaluate candidates. Otherwise, Cambridge University has a minimum GPA of 3.5. Chicago has no minimum GPA.