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Q: I am very interested in pursuing graduate work in
bioinformatics. However, I am not entirely sure whether
to enroll in a Masters or PhD program. Any advice?
A: Bioinformatics is an exciting and growing field of inquiry. Depending on your career goals and availability, graduate training can take between 1-2 years for a PSM (Professional Science Master) or MS (Master of Science) and 4-6 years to pursue a PhD. We offer all three options at Temple. The PSM program is primarily a course-based program with multiple tracks and internships that aims to place the student in a research position directly after graduation. The Masters of Science (MS) program is a thesis-based program that is more academic, pedagogically, and designed to fit the student and her/his advisor's research. This interdisciplinary PhD in Bioinformatics program involves a similar level of coursework as the PSM program, which is expected to be completed in the first two years, but with more flexibility. Of course, the primary focus of the PhD program is to successfully develop, complete, and defend a strong body of work, i.e., a doctoral dissertation.
Q: What skill set(s) am I expected to have before starting the program?
A: Before starting the program, students are expected to have coding, modeling, and other analytical skill sets. We suggest that these critical skills can be honed during the summer before joining the program in the fall.
Q: When is the application deadline for next year’s Fall start
A: This year's deadline is January 5th for domestic students and earlier for international students (please see website). After the deadline, we will continue to review student applications. Since seats are limited, we advise that you apply ASAP.
Q: Can I apply for a Spring admission?
A: Due to the fixed coursework matrix, we only admit for the Fall. Under the rare exception that a student already has a supporting mentor, they may start earlier.
Q: What is the expected number of admissions available each year?
A: We expect to admit between 5-8 students this year.
Q: Can I transfer completed credits from another graduate program (e.g., PSM in Bioinformatics program)?
A: Yes. The Steering Committee will need to review the supplied syllabus and grades for an "advanced standing" transfer.
Q: What should I expect, in terms of curricular time frame?
A: The first two years will comprise primarily of coursework in addition to finding an advisor to mentor you on your dissertation project. Students will need to successfully pass a comprehensive examination in their first year and a preliminary exam in their second year. Students will regularly meet with their committees and must eventually successfully defend their doctoral thesis.
Q: What are the requirements to successfully complete a dissertation?
A: Students will need to complete the necessary coursework, publish several first-aurthor papers, and successfully defend a thesis.
Q: Is there a teaching requirement?
A: Yes, students will be expected to gain teaching experience (i.e., a TA) for least one semester.
Q: What funding mechanisms are available?
A: TAships, RAships, Fellowships. Tuition will be waived with any of these mechanisms.
Q: Are there industry internships available?
A: We have strong ties to several biotechnology, pharmaceutical, informatic analytics, health care, government partners in the Philadelphia region. It is up to the students to make the necessary connections.
Q: Can I be enrolled in this program part-time while working in a bioinformatics industry?
A: Yes, but only if there is ample flexibility with the company you are working at, and that the thesis is based on a work-based project where there is suffficient expertise and supervision. The Steering Committee will need to review the proposal with the advisor from the company.
Q: Can a student be co-advised by someone from industry?
A: Yes, if a student is working in industry, a co-advisment model will require a report/meeting each semester (3 times a year)