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scintillation-counterFrequently Asked Questions

There are a number of biomedical graduate programs at UC—why should I consider MolGen?

There are several distinct styles of graduate programs available at the UC Academic Health Center. We are neither the largest nor the smallest—however, within our medium-sized program (approximately 30 faculty) you will find an incredible degree of diversity (the largest in the Academic Health Center), ranging from physical chemistry to biochemistry, from microbiology to structural biology, from bacterial genetics to human genetics.

We see this as an important bonus since you will be exposed to a very wide range of topics from the incredibly diverse field of current biomedical science research. And with interdisciplinary research a very hot topic these days you will be really well placed to make the connections.

Furthermore, virtually all our researchers are situated in adjoining space in the Medical Sciences Building and Cardiovascular Research Center, so that students in our program have a distinct sense of "home" and community within the department and the Academic Health Center, an important element in building personal relationships at the social and professional level.

What kind of jobs do MolGen graduates get?

Graduates take a variety of career paths after leaving our program—many go into postdoctoral positions in university, research institute or federal labs (like the NIH or CDC) where they pursue additional high-level research training prior to taking up opportunities in industry, academia or government.

Others, however, have moved straight into the workplace, taking positions in industry (pharmaceutical, biotech), in teaching (college, junior college, high school) and occasionally in other professions where they can apply their biomedical expertise after additional training (publishing, law, business).

Check out what some of our recent graduates are doing and what they say about the training they received in our program. Biomedical PhDs have been, and continue to be, among the most employable of all graduates. You will definitely have a rewarding career, and it won't be outsourced!

How much will I get paid as a graduate student?

All of our doctoral program students receive a monthly stipend, currently amounting to $30,000 per year in years 1-2 and $32,000 per year in years 3+. Students receiving an externally funded fellowship will receive a $2,000 bonus to their stipend. Stipends are reviewed on an annual basis. In addition, all tuition and fees are covered by a scholarship, so there are no recurring fees to be paid to the university. Though not enormous, our stipend turns out to be pretty reasonable given Cincinnati's cost of living—see the next FAQ!

What's the cost of living in Cincinnati compared with elsewhere?

Cincinnati has an exceptionally favorable cost of living, especially in comparison to East and West coast cities. However, even within the Midwest, it is considered very reasonable. It is entirely possible to rent very nice accommodation, eat real food and even maintain a decent car! Click here to go to a cost of living index where you will be able to compare various cities. 

Do I get health insurance?

Yes, the program pays all premiums associated with single-person student health coverage. If you are married and/or have children, the additional cost of the available family coverage is borne by the student.

Do I have to teach?

No, there is no teaching obligation at all. The program pays a monthly stipend to enable you to devote full-time to your classes and laboratory research. However, for an increasing number of our students, the opportunity to learn some of the theory and practice of teaching as well as an insight into faculty duties is a desirable personal goal, since they may envision using such skills in their future career as educators and researchers.

There are a number of informal and formal opportunities for current students to assist Professors in the teaching of undergraduate courses in our Department. More information can be found in the Teaching Assistant Section of our website.

The University of Cincinnati offers an excellent program called Preparing Future Faculty designed to pass on some of these skills, and we encourage interested students to look into participation in this in their later years in the MolGen program. Several of our students have participated in this program—it is particularly helpful for biomedical science students since there is a specialist course available that addresses teaching in the life sciences.

Is there an application deadline?

Yes, we ask that your formal application reaches us by December 15, but we will continue to accept applications until January 15 pending space availability.

Will I be invited for a visit?

Yes, if our graduate committee likes your application we certainly want you to visit us, though we try not to conduct student visits here as a formal interview—it's primarily a chance for us to get to know each other a little, do some "show and tell" about our program and, especially important, give you a chance to meet a lot of our current students—after all, they are the ones who know the real scoop on what it's like to live and work here!

We figure that if we are going to invite you to check us out, then we are already pretty strongly motivated to offer you a place in the program.

Are there good places/neighborhoods to live in?

Absolutely. Most of our students live in rented accommodation—apartments, houses—within two to three miles of the medical campus. There are many very pleasant and safe neighborhoods in this general locale; moreover, you can get a lot of living space for your money as compared to many cities.

The campus itself is located in the "Uptown" or "Pill Hill" area of the city, which is about three miles north of downtown and is currently undergoing some major building/rebuilding that is lending a more contemporary feel to this part of town. It comes as a surprise to many to find out that Cincinnati is built on several hills that rise on the north side of the Ohio River, so there is pleasant ambiance to the geography and surroundings.

Cincinnati is an easy city to get around in by car, and traffic is not usually an issue unless you plan to live in the northern suburbs beyond the I-275 beltway—very few students choose to do that.

Where can I exercise/jog/work out?

There is a very good university fitness facility on the medical campus in the CARE/Crawley Building, in which many of the department’s laboratories are located. There are also state-of-the-art facilities including swimming pools, racquetball courts, running tracks etc. on the main campus of the university. All this is very accessible to the medical campus with shuttles running every 15 minutes or less throughout the day.

What's going on after dark and at weekends in Cincinnati?

Campus life has really picked up with the completion of the UC Main Street project on the UC campus that encompasses a cinema, restaurants and coffee shops, game room and sports lounge, bookstore and lots of other facilities.

UC is a member of the American Athletic Conference and campus athletics facilities are spectator-friendly for watching Division I athletics, including the nationally ranked Bearcats basketball and football programs.

Life off-campus has all the perks of being in a big city, but combined with the small town friendliness for which Cincinnati is known. We have major league baseball, NFL football, MLS soccer,  minor league hockey, world-class symphony and opera, internationally recognized museums of contemporary and traditional arts, the Underground Railroad museum, Kings Island theme park and theater and concert venues of all sizes from arenas to myriads of small performance spaces and clubs.

Downtown has its own Main Street, a vibrant area full of clubs, pubs, restaurants, art galleries and eclectic shops. Just nearby is historic Findlay Market, a great place to shop for fresh food and produce and experience the variety of cultures that call Cincinnati home. The "Over the Rhine" area or OTR has become an exciting social district with numerous restauraunts and bars and is a very poular place to hang-out. 

The new Banks development along the Ohio River offers downtown living and restaurants within easy walking distance of stadiums and museums. 

In addition, much riverfront along the south shore of the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky has been transformed into a location for leisure and entertainment, including the Newport Aquarium, the Newport on the Levee shopping/entertainment complex, as well as the first authentic Hofbrauhaus beer garden and brewery outside of Munich, Germany.

In truth, there's an abundance of things to see and do when you decide to take a break from your studies or the lab.

Where can I find out more about Cincinnati in general?

The following links will help you explore more of Cincinnati from finding restaurants to finding where to live, and lots more:

I have a different question—where can I get an answer?

Please don't hesitate to ask us anything that occurs to you about graduate school, the molecular genetics program, or Cincinnati in general—just email the graduate program manager, Brenda Cole, at

If you prefer a human voice at the other end give Rhett Kovall PhD, our director of admissions, a call at 513-558-4631 or William Miller, PhD, our program director at 513-558-0866.

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Contact Us

Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics,
Biochemistry and Microbiology

Medical Sciences Building Room 1654
231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670524
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0524