Selecting a Graduate Program
Deciding where to go to graduate school may be one of the most important and difficult decisions of your career. Not only do you have to take into account the quality of the program’s research and training but also the area and associated costs of where you will be living, your income, health care benefits, the academic atmosphere, transportation, recreational activities and the types of careers for which you will be prepared.
There are several students in our program with an interest in basic science research, but the major factor for most human genetics students at Johns Hopkins was the program’s focus on human disease-related research. A few reasons students picked our program:
“It’s the only human genetics program that teaches human biology. It made it truly unique.”
“I liked the way it emphasized human genetics and had a medical aspect.”
“Research, faculty, atmosphere, funding and name recognition. After I interviewed here, I cancelled the rest.”
Interviews: Evaluating Graduate Programs
Graduate school interviews are a critical part of making your decision. Remember that you should be learning as much about the program as the faculty is learning about you and that the atmosphere during interviews is typically quite casual.
Our application deadline is December 1; applications are reviewed mid-December and invitations for interviews are sent out by early January. Our interviews are typically held the end of January. Sandy Muscelli works with you to set up flights, hotel arrangements and interviews. She is available at all times to answer your questions.
The night before your interview, a student host from the human genetics program will contact you with arrangements for dinner — typically comprised of a group of several applicants and several current students. This is a great time to ask your hosts all your questions about the program, life in Baltimore and any other concerns you might have.
Your interview day begins in the Miller Research Building with a breakfast with Dr. Andy McCallion and Dr. Kimberly Doheny, the Directors of the Human Genetics and Genomics Training Program, Sandy Muscelli, Program Administrator, two current students as well as the other applicants. They will take this time to explain the official details about the program. If you have any questions, they are ready and willing to answer them.
After breakfast you will start your interviews, which will be with preceptors of the program around campus. Current students will lead you to each interview. Each professor usually gets about 30 minutes with you, and you may see as many as five faculty members that day. The interview schedule is broken up by lunch with current students and a tour of the East Baltimore campus. According to our students, there are a few things to remember during interviews:
“Try to stay relaxed: You wouldn’t be here if they weren’t already interested in you.”
“Relax and ask questions. The more they talk, the less you do. Although know your own research and be prepared to talk about it.”
“Get a feel for the types of research being done at the institution, and don’t go anyplace that doesn’t have several investigators you’d like to work with.”
Lastly, what should you wear? For men, a nice pair of pants and a shirt are appropriate (a tie is optional but worn by many). For women, trousers, skirts and dresses are all appropriate. Don’t feel you need to buy a suit for interviews! Remember to wear comfortable shoes, as you might be doing a lot of walking around the hospital campus. Remember to bring an umbrella if rain is in the forecast.