PhD Program in Experimental Pathology

Program Director and Contact

Joan W. Berman, PhD

Joan W. Berman, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathology


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Pathology is a dynamic field that links contemporary molecular and biological approaches with disease processes. Our faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows are performing state-of-the-art research in such areas as Cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Immunology, Vascular Disease, Neuro-AIDS, Molecular Genetics and Infectious Diseases, among others. Many of these studies are translational, including a strong clinicial component.

Application Procedure

The application procedure for a PhD is straightforward. Prospective students apply directly to the Division of Biomedical Sciences of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, not to a specific department. This allows students to explore many areas of research before choosing one of more than 200 labs in which to conduct their thesis work. Prior to choosing a department for their PhD studies, students have an opportunity to rotate in three laboratories in any department during their first year.

Applications for the Graduate Division PhD program are available starting August 15, 2019, and are due by December 11. Applications for the MD/PhD program have the same requirements as Einstein’s MD program. 

Application, Academic Transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation must be submitted using the online application process. Admission decisions are made by considering applications individually, weighing grades, GRE scores, reference letters, and a personal interview. All application information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

Stipend, Tuition, Benefits

Accepted PhD and MD/PhD students receive the following benefits:

  • $35,000 annual stipend; will increase to $38,000 starting in January 2020.
  • Full tuition remission and free individual health insurance.
  • A low cost of living. The monthly rent at the student residence complex—directly across the street from campus—ranges from about $460 for a studio to $747 for a two-bedroom apartment. Students can further reduce living costs by sharing an apartment.
  • Free membership to the athletic facility. 

Requirements for a PhD in Pathology

A. Courses 

Candidates for the PhD Degree in Pathology will be expected to obtain a broad and strong foundation in the biological sciences. Course requirements include Mechanisms of Disease, Graduate Biochemistry, and one of these three: Molecular Genetics, Gene Expression or Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Additional courses will be selected depending upon individual interests and needs, and with the advice of the Student Advisory Committee. At least two courses per semester should be taken during the first two years. All students in the PhD program will graduate with a minimum of seven courses. The Graduate Division offers a mandatory Grant Writing Course that will prepare students for the qualifying exam and for writing future grant applications.

B. Qualifying Examination 

Students are required to take a qualifying exam in the middle of the second year, after the student has declared a laboratory. Students select a thesis project with their mentor and write a brief grant application in which background, methods and proposed experiments are outlined. Students also defend this proposal orally before a qualifying exam committee that consists of four faculty members.

C. Rotations 

Rotations in three laboratories in any department are strongly advised during the first year.

D. Other Requirements 

The departmental PhD Committee will constitute the Advisory Committee until the student chooses a Thesis Problem. A thesis advisory committee will then be established and will follow the Graduate Division requirements.

The Departmental Works-in-Progress meets every Friday.

Attendance at these activities is required. Additional seminars in specific areas are also offered.

Students are required to present a seminar as part of their thesis defense. The thesis defense will follow the seminar and will be conducted by a committee composed of six members, at least two of whom will be faculty from the Pathology Department and the remainder from other departments. One outside reviewer from another institution must also be included.  

Departmental Activities and Programs

Our graduate students have opportunities to hone their research and presentation skills by participating in a variety of department-wide programs and activities, including:

  • Works-in-Progress – weekly presentations by PhD students and fellows on their current research projects.
  • Pathology Research Retreat – an annual, day-long gathering of trainees and their faculty mentors. Includes a poster session featuring current basic, clinical and translational research projects by PhD students, postdoctoral research fellows, pathology residents and clinical fellows; oral presentations and discussions; and a talk by a high-profile, student-invited guest speaker.
  • Seminar Program – Graduate students have the opportunity to have lunch with invited speakers.
  • Special Grant Writing Course – Graduate students who will be taking the qualifying exam participate is an interactive, three-month, weekly course in which they learn to write the exam in the format of a grant application.
  • Program Director meets with individual graduate students several times throughout the year to discuss graduate program activities, and to provide mentoring in grant writing, including the student’s F grant proposal.
  • Monthly dessert parties for students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty provide opportunities for socializing and foster a sense of community.

Campus-wide Activities and Programs

Our doctoral candidates interact with the medical and MSTP students in laboratory collaborations, school-sponsored programs, and socially. Whether a student is looking for a ride to the airport, a hot baseball ticket, or an important reagent, our Graduate Student Server keeps all students closely in touch by email.

Pathology PhD students participate in the annual Julius Marmur Symposium, sponsored by the Graduate Division.

Campus Life

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is renowned as a collaborative and collegial learning environment. This community ethos extends to campus life.

Graduate students in the Department of Pathology have opportunities to become involved in a wide variety of extramural and social activities. These include Social Clubs, Community Service Programs, Intramural Sports, and Faculty-Student Mixers.

Career & Professional Development

Many of our PhD students go on to postdoctoral fellowships at major medical centers to further their training. Our graduates have joined the faculties of prestigious academic institutions and medical centers or have obtained excellent positions in industry and other science-related fields.

The Division of Biomedical Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine sponsors a comprehensive Career & Professional Development Program for graduate students and postdocs that is open to graduate students in the Department of Pathology.


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