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Good graduate program locations in general

Generally, the choice of place depends on your interest. Some places are strong in some disciplines but not so strong in others. So, you have to do your own research.
But there are also institutions which offer very good graduate training in almost every field of the life sciences. These also tend to be generally very highly respected, and therefore quite competitive - if you apply to these it is worth having a backup option.

In the US, such places would be

  • on the West Coast, the University of California system (UC Berkeley, UCSF, UCSD, UC Santa Cruz), Stanford University, and the University of Washington in Seattle;
  • in the Boston area, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University;
  • in the New York area, Rockefeller, Columbia, Princeton, and Yale universities;
  • in the Washington, DC area, the National Institutes of Health.

In the UK, London (Imperial and UCL), Oxford, Cambridge, and Manchester, and (more for Biochemistry) Aberdeen and Dundee.

In Germany, Munich (both universities), Heidelberg, and Goettingen.

Other places of excellence which are more limited in their scope (but if your subject is among them, they are just as good or better):

In the US:

  • the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory (Genetics);
  • the Janelia Farm research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Neuroscience);

In Germany:

  • any Max Planck Institute (or Max Planck Research School);
  • the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

Graduate programs that Jacobs students have been accepted into:

(These programs require applications to a central program office.)

In Germany:

In Europe other than Germany:

  • Graduate Student Programme at the Cancer Resarch UK London Research Institute
  • Edinburgh University Neurobiology Graduate Program
  • Warwick University Postgraduate Medical School
  • Edinburgh University
  • Leeds University
  • Liverpool University
  • University of Barcelona
  • Life Science Zurich Graduate School

In the US:

  • Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine
  • Wake Forest University, Program in Molecular Medicine
  • Washington University
  • University of Utah
  • Notre Dame University
  • New York University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Pittsburgh


  • University of Calgary

Other universities where BCCB students have been accepted for graduate studies after applying to individual research group leaders:

  • Oxford University
  • Oxford University, Wellcome Trust Graduate Program
  • Cambridge University, Wellcome Trust Graduate Program
  • Cambridge, Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology
  • Bath University
  • University of California, San Diego

Other interesting graduate programs:


  • The International Degree Course of Industrial and Environmental Biology (ISTAB) at the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen


  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Watson School of Biological Sciences
  • Brandeis University Graduate Program in Biochemistry


  • University of London School of Pharmacy

These lists are not nearly complete. Use the Life Sciences Alumni Space to find out where other Life Sciences Alumni are. Mostly there are no links given here but you can easily find these institutions on Google.

© Sebastian Springer, 2005-7.

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