My work in a Drosophila genetics lab as an undergraduate was undoubtedly priceless. Among other inspirations, it left me with a strong appreciation for the importance of gene regulation in fostering phenotypic variation. At the same time, day-to-day lab experiences also piqued my interests in Drosophila behavior, while coursework kept me thinking about the evolutionary context of the life as we know it. As I began considering graduate schools, I had to wonder: how could I reconcile all of these interests?
It became clear I would need to find a program which emphasized an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to research. On paper, many seemed to fit the bill. Yet, after flying around from one university to another, I could tell that one program truly delivered on that advertisement. Much more than anywhere else I visited, Princeton's Molecular Biology department seemed to hold an unabashedly interdisciplinary view on science while encouraging a collaborative atmosphere between students and faculty. To me, this meant that the program could allow students to explore innovative research across disciplines without being so large as to lose them in a crowd. One year later, I have to say my impressions didn't lead me astray!
Academics and research aside, I've found that graduate student life at Princeton has been all I could ask for! Where can I begin? The department provides a generous stipend; the housing is safe, affordable, and close to campus; the campus is beautiful in all four seasons with opportunities for outdoor recreation abound; shops, international restaurants, and dessert parlors are all found on Nassau Street; and cities, beaches, and mountains are just a short drive or train ride away. In short, I couldn't have picked a better place for graduate school.— Conrad Tenenbaum
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
Since 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