Graduate Training

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After a minimum of two research rotations, students select a faculty mentor for their PhD training. As described on the Rotations & Advising page, the Program Directors work with each student to provide guidance and advice in the selection of rotation and PhD training laboratories or mentors. While the majority of MSTP students earn their PhD in the biological sciences, some students obtain graduate degrees in Chemistry, Engineering, or in Social Science departments. In addition, students may obtain their PhD from the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. The average length of PhD training for MSTP students at UCLA is four years.

The choice of graduate program follows from the choice of mentor, since students obtain their PhD degree either in the mentor’s department, or in an interdepartmental program to which the mentor belongs. The MSTP administration assists all MD2 year students in the process of registering for graduate school.  In the Biological Sciences, graduate programs waive some of the first-year courses for MSTP students. In the social sciences, students will work with the associate director of the track to design a flexible curriculum to meet all degree requirements. In Chemistry, Engineering, and other departments, MSTP students often take the same course load as other departmental graduate students. When necessary, the MSTP Directors meet with departmental graduate advisors to negotiate a curriculum for MSTP students. The MSTP discourages students from working as Teaching Assistants, except as required by their graduate program. The specific course and examination requirements for all UCLA departments and interdepartmental programs can be obtained by following the links to each specific departmental program listed on the Academic Programs page of the UCLA Graduate Division website. Modified requirements for MSTP students can be obtained by contacting the departmental Student Affairs Officer.

Students in the Caltech program obtain their PhD degrees in one of six Divisions: Biology; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Engineering and Applied Sciences; Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy; Geological and Planetary Sciences; and Humanities and Social Sciences. The specific requirements for each of these graduate programs can be obtained by following the links here.



California Institute of Technology                                                                            RAND