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Graduate Program

Academic Environment

From judging local science fairs to volunteering at the
annual Community Day, the Tufts biology department
provides me with a variety of opportunities for connecting
with the local community, teaching biology, and sharing
my research. —Rachael Bonoan, Ph.D. candidate

The many research and teaching activities of the department combine to create a lively, congenial, and interactive group of faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows who enjoy a stimulating and productive research environment. The biology department is located in modern buildings on the Medford campus of Tufts University. Research equipment and facilities are state of the art for the specialties represented by our faculty. Most of the faculty support their research and that of their students with grants awarded by various federal agencies and private foundations.

Tufts has excellent support for technology, including central computer facilities and support, high speed network access throughout the buildings and dedicated computers, scanners, and printers for graduate student use. The main library provides online access to a huge collection of biological journals and databases The university owns and supports research-focused software, and the libraries of many other Boston area universities and teaching hospitals are accessible to our graduate students. In-house courses on R and other statistics packages and genome analysis are available.

The department holds regular seminars presented by invited scientists to keep students and faculty abreast of exciting research going on in the biological sciences. Students may take advantage of similar seminars at the many research institutions in the Boston area, for which notices are posted regularly. In addition to invited speakers, departmental faculty and postdoctoral fellows present research seminars.

Beginning in their second year, graduate students present an annual research seminar to update their research progress and to gain experience in formal presentation of their work. Training in communicating research is an important aspect of our training program. Students obtain support and feedback on their seminars, and we offer a course on Science Communication (Bio 292).

The Biology department faculty are educators as well as researchers, and the graduate students benefit from this expertise. Graduate students serving as teaching assistants have the opportunity to take a course on teaching and pedagogy to improve their skills, or to become involved with upper level courses in their area of expertise. The university offers a 1 month summer program for graduate students interested in contributing to course design and honing their teaching skills (GIFT, Graduate Institute For Teaching) that many of our students have participated in.

The Boston area is noted for its rich intellectual life, and especially for the high concentration of universities, colleges, medical schools, teaching hospitals, research institutions, and other scientific and technological enterprises. Students have nearly unlimited opportunities to tap into these diverse resources as they pursue programs of study in biology. The Tufts University collaborative community alone includes separate schools of biomedical sciences, nutrition, medicine, veterinary medicine, and dental medicine. Other Tufts resources include the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy. Graduate students in biology may take courses for credit at any of these Tufts divisions and also at other universities in our graduate school consortium (Boston College, Brandeis University, Boston University).