Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Building synergies with special and often interdisciplinary training programs is a hallmark of our Ph.D. program. These programs help our students develop a broad set of research and professional skills and create vibrant intellectual communities.

For example, seminar courses such as Advances in Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms (BGGN 290) and Plant Post-genomics and Systems Biology (BGGN 227) are open to all graduate students. This is also true for the annual symposia and special career workshops (e.g., How to Choose and Structure a Postdoctoral Position) created by the training programs.

Cell and Molecular Genetics (CMG) Training Program

Directors: Drs. Amy Pasquanelli and Randy Hampton

NIH-sponsored program that has been a cornerstone of the Ph.D. training effort in Biological Sciences for over 30 years. Provides rigorous training for students interested in the molecular mechanisms of a diverse array of biological phenomena.

Plant Systems Biology (PSB) Training Program

Director: Julian Schroeder

NSF-sponsored program that has created a unique interdisciplinary program training students at the interface of systems biology, proteomics, computational genomics, network dynamics, and plant sciences.

Genetics Training Program

UC San Diego’s  complements our outstanding research environment with specialized coursework and seminars in the area of quantitative analytical methods of both classical and modern genetics as well as emerging genomic approaches.

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

This program trains interdisciplinary researchers in the area of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. The program provides our graduate students with opportunities to learn algorithmic and statistical techniques and new high-throughput technologies for understanding the function of genes on a genome-wide scale.

Specialization in Anthropogeny

A transdisciplinary graduate specialization in Anthropogeny is available for Ph.D. students in the Biological Sciences and other disciplines.  Information on requirements for this specialization is available through the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA). The specialization provides students an opportunity to specialize in research and education on the origins of humans.  Top areas include:

  • Human and Primate Genetics and Evolution
  • Paleoanthropology and Hominid Origins
  • Mammalian and Primate Neurosciences
  • Primate Biology and Medicine
  • Language and Cognition
  • Nature-Nurture Interactions in Explaining Language and Cognition
  • Human and Primate Society and Culture
  • Comparative Developmental Biology or Primates
  • General Theories for Explaining Humans

Quantitative Biology (qBio)

This newest UC San Diego initiative aims to catalyze the transformation of all disciplines of the natural sciences to develop biology as a predictive, physics- and math-based science.


Additionally, the doctoral program in Biological Sciences offers unique specializations for students interested in focusing their studies in a number of other areas.  View a complete list of these and their requirements on our Curricular Tracks page.