Graduate Studies

Student Perspectives

Amanda Guise

Five or six years is a long time to spend in one place – graduate school can be rough sometimes, but it's also a lot of fun. And, in the end, finding a place where you can be happy for the next however many years is really the most important thing. I decided to come to Princeton because it just felt right – and it still does.

It's a rare opportunity to be surrounded by such raw enthusiasm for science, and that sort of excitement is contagious. In our department, the faculty and students are here because they want to be here. This is a department where a Nobel laureate will not only attend your first research talk, but will also pay attention to what you have to say; where professors ask questions not just as a test of knowledge, but out of a real curiosity for the answers, if there even are answers.

Yes, Princeton has all the cool gadgets and toys of a major research university, a renowned faculty, some phenomenal graduate level courses, and a great reputation. But these all fall second to the dedication of this department to its own constant intellectual growth and improvement. In my almost-two years here, I have found the faculty, staff, and graduate students to be incredibly interested and invested in the education, progress, and success of every member of our department. I think this devotion is among the greatest assets of this department and is what sets it apart from many other excellent programs that would otherwise stack up equally in the which-school-should-I-choose pro/con list.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our program, grad school, or Princeton in general!

— Amanda Guise
      Cristea Lab


rick bakerSince the moment I arrived on campus I have been part of a large, extended family – the Molecular Biology Department.  The department is engaging, collaborative and truly dedicated to the success of every member.

Academically, I couldn’t be happier with my first year as a graduate student.  In a given day I can have class taught by a leader in bacterial genetics, do research in a cutting-edge biophysics lab, and attend a guest lecture from a world-renowned scientist.  In both the classroom and laboratory I am challenged to go further and reach higher, but every person in the department makes sure that I have the support needed to succeed.

The Graduate School is also superb and services for the general graduate population are second to none. Graduate student housing is safe, affordable, and extremely close to campus.  There are many events for graduate students, including socials and parties at the graduate bar and even trips to New York City to attend Broadway shows. 

Princeton is located an hour from both Philadelphia and New York City, as well as only a short drive from the Jersey shore or the Pocono Mountains.  The town boasts a wide array of restaurants and other shops to keep students busy, not to mention the many homemade ice cream parlors, a Princeton favorite. 

Princeton has been an excellent choice for me and I hope all prospective students consider the department for his or her graduate studies.  If you have any question, please contact me.

— Rick Baker
      Hughson Lab

Kelly LaRue

Before embarking on my whirlwind interview schedule, my undergraduate research advisor gave me one last piece of advice.  She told me that instead of making this decision with my head, it was time to start listening to my heart.

She was sure that I would fall in love with one program; I was skeptical.  The interdisciplinary programs that I interviewed for were very similar.  They all touted the breadth and depth of their research and the collaborative environment of the university.  Though all of the institutions were beautiful, well-funded and performing valuable research, the weekends seemed to blend together, no program was “the one.”

Then it was time to interview with the Molecular Biology Department at Princeton University.  The moment I arrived on the gorgeous campus, I already knew that it would be a step above the rest.  It is located in a beautiful and safe area in New Jersey, just an hour away from cities, beaches and mountains.  The labs are doing top-notch research on a wide variety of topics.  They offer a lucrative stipend along with affordable and comfortable housing.  It was immediately apparent to me that the department is collaborative; they did not need to tell me, I could sense it.  Professors and graduate students knew each other both personally and professionally and the program seemed to encourage theses that bridged labs.  This interview stood out among the rest and after this visit, it was hard to ignore my heart screaming that I had found what I was looking for! 

As a first year, I have found that graduate school is not hard; it is extraordinarily hard!  Princeton has provided me with daily challenges unlike anything I experienced in my undergraduate studies.  However, it is the support and encouragement that I receive from my peers and professors and the love I have for this department and institution that makes the pursuit of my Ph.D. the most rewarding experience of my life. The Molecular Biology Department is truly a scientific community that fosters an environment filled with excitement, high intellect and success.

— Kelly LaRue
      Murthy Lab

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