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The David Rockefeller Graduate Program

Our boilerplates and sample text for selected application sections may be used as a starting point for your applications, and should be modified to meet sponsor's requirements and to align with your proposed research plan. 

This boilerplate could be useful in applications to funding programs such as the NIH F31 (pre-doctoral fellows) that requires a description of the training the institution  provides to applicants (e.g. NOT-OD-11-062).

[Name of applicant] is enrolled in The David Rockefeller Graduate Program at The Rockefeller University. The David Rockefeller Graduate Program was founded in 1953 and offers rigorous training in the biomedical and physical sciences with close mentoring by faculty. The Rockefeller University is a graduate university accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education to grant the doctoral degree only.

Graduate education at The Rockefeller University is based upon:
1) intensive graduate courses
2) participation in seminars
3) apprenticeship in the laboratories
4) independent study and research

Each student plans a program of graduate study in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies and appropriate members of the faculty. The university does not use conventional tests or grading to assess progress and ability, but depends on written evaluations from faculty members with whom a student has worked in seminars, courses, or in research. After evaluation of their participation in class discussions and satisfactory completion of written exercises, students have fulfilled their coursework requirement. The progress of each student is reviewed annually by members of the faculty in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Since very few students are appointed each year as Graduate Fellows, the program chooses only those who seem exceptionally well qualified for effective advanced study and research with our faculty. Those appointed have been thoroughly considered and unanimously selected by several members of a faculty admissions committee. Every Graduate Fellow is engaged full-time in studies and research and has no teaching or other service obligation. Every Graduate Fellow is a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The Rockefeller Ph.D. program is based on the concept of learning science by doing science, and the graduate program is flexible and individualized depending on the needs and interests of each student. First year students complete three required courses to develop their abilities to critically interpret scientific data, to promote awareness of the responsible conduct of research, and to become informed about research in the 70 active laboratories in the university. Beyond these three courses, there is no required core curriculum for the Ph.D. student. Instead, in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies, the thesis advisor, and members of the faculty, students choose a flexible combination of courses totaling seven academic units. Courses are grouped into six major areas, but students can complete the curriculum requirements by participation in any combination of courses inside or outside of the university.

Students who arrive with a particular mentor or project in mind may immediately join a laboratory. Those who prefer to explore different training opportunities, may rotate through several laboratories to gain exposure to different areas of research. Students choose a laboratory by the end of their first year and present a thesis research proposal before the end of their second year. As graduate students near the end of their investigations, they present their work to the full Rockefeller University community as a thesis talk and defend their thesis before a panel of internal and external faculty members. The average time to degree over the past 10 years is 5.7 years.

(Courtesy of the Dean's Office and RU investigators)

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