Howard University Graduate School
Office of Educational Affairs
Graduate Programs

The Department of Genetics and Human Genetics offers courses leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees . The program is associated with the Departments of Pediatrics and Biology so that students will not only learn to work creatively in their own field of special interest but will also be able to relate their findings to progress made in related disciplines.

The following information provides an overview of the degree programs. For more details contact the Director of Graduate Studies, e-mail: .
Genetics and Human Genetics Courses
General Admission Requirements
General Admission Requirements

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in major course work is required. Each graduate department may have additional "special admission requirements" which are noted on this page.

  • Completed on-line application and signature page or
  • Download the paper application (HTML) | (Acrobat)
  • The non-refundable $45 application fee (Waivers accepted for FAMU Feeder Program and McNair Scholars)
  • Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the Registrar’s Office from ALL colleges and universities attended
  • GRE Scores (Only official score reports are accepted within 5 years of the test date)
  • Statement of Academic and Research Interest
  • Autobiographical Sketch (Personal biography)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation Word

For International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must meet the following:

  • Official transcripts, certificates and/or mark/grade sheets must be sent directly from the college or university to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received. Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services ( or AACRAO ( and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions.
  • TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date)

Special Admission Requirement

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of interest, official transcript(s) delivered and/or mailed in a sealed envelope by the Registrar of th e c ollege/university attended, and the most recent Graduate Record Examination scores.

Master of Science

Students wishing to enter the master's program should have a baccalaureate degree and a cumulative average of B or the equivalent. They also should hav e c ompleted undergraduat e c ourses in modern biology, chemistry through organic chemistry, general physics, mathematics through calculus, and general genetics, or equivalent courses. These prerequisites apply regardless of specialization selected within the master's program. Students with less than a B average or who have not completed all of the required undergraduat e c ourses may be admitted conditionally if they have very high Graduate Record Examination scores and/or excellent recommendations.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students may matriculate into the doctoral program, having completed a suitable bachelor degree, provided they present evidence of previous research experience supported by excellent letters of recommendation, and grades that ar e c learly above average. Students who do not meet these general criteria may b e c onsidered for the master's program as indicated above. Suitable performance in this program can lead to eligibility to subsequently matriculate in the doctoral program.


Special Degree Requirements

Master of Science

Students in the general program option must complete 30 credit hours of course work and 6 credit hours of thesis research, a total of 36 credit hours. Students must pass a written comprehensive examination and defend a research thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students must complete 72 hours of credit, including relevant courses obtained in a master's degree. Relevant master's credit is evaluated by the Director of Graduate Studies. Additional credit hours must be taken in courses in genetics or topics related to dissertation research. A maximum of 21 hours of research credit can be applied to the total credit requirement. A cumulative grade of B or better is required.

Students must demonstrate in an examination a reading knowledge of German, French, Russian, or Spanish; pass a comprehensive written and oral examination covering general genetics, biochemical and molecular genetics, human genetics, immunogenetics, endocrine genetics, and biostatistics; and successfully defend a research dissertation.


The College of Medicine and the Graduate School jointly offer an integrated program that leads to both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees without compromise in the customary substance of each of these degrees individually. Additionally, the curricular emphasis develops in the trainee the unique professional role perspective of the clinician/scientist/scholar. It also develops a particular appreciation for the urgent and unsolved health problems that are present in the population served by the Howard University Hospital and its affiliated clinical programs.

Application Process

Graduate departments that currently invite applications for Ph.D. study in this program are: Anatomy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Genetics and Human Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Biophysics.

The steps in the application process are as follows:

  • Complete all aspects of the application for medical school.
  • Submit a brief letter of interest in applying for the M.D. Ph.D. programs to the program director.
  • The M.D./Ph.D. program committee will review the application to medical school. If a candidate meets the minimum eligibility criteria, he/she will receive a supplemental application for the combined program.
  • The program committee may invite a candidate for a visit to the campus for an interview.
  • Concurrent with the visit, a candidate will also be invited to apply to the graduate department of his/her choice through the Graduate School.

The application for the M.D./Ph.D. program should be returned to:
Verle Headings, M.D., Ph.D.
Director M.D./Ph.D. Program
Howard University College of Medicine
520 W Street, NW
Washington, DC 20059
(202) 806-6381


4th and College Streets,  NW,  
Washington DC 20059   
Voice: 202-806-7469
Fax: 202-806-4664
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