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The Watson School Mission


Since 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has been a global leader in research and education. The international scientific community at CSHL provides a unique and stimulating atmosphere for doctoral research—an environment where students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty work side-by-side. The Watson School of Biological Sciences (WSBS) was founded on the belief that with well thought-out mechanisms, enthusiastic involvement of faculty, and highly motivated students, an innovative curriculum could be provided that would allow students to earn a doctoral degree in a shorter time than in traditional programs without compromising the quality of their training. The curriculum is designed to train students to become scholars and independent thinkers.

Our mission is to:
• Prepare the best and the brightest students to face the ever-changing cutting edge of biological and biomedical research with the necessary skills to become leaders in science and society.
• Enable students to complete their PhD in approximately four years from matriculation, while maintaining the highest standards of excellence.
• Reduce the time to graduation considerably, compared to the national average.
• Impart a broad, multi-disciplinary, representation of the biological sciences.
• Teach students how to think independently and critically focusing on the principles of scientific reasoning and logic.
• Educate ethical biologists who can communicate effectively with all audiences.
• Emphasize that learning is a lifelong process that goes hand-in-hand with outstanding research.
• Facilitate the pursuit of significant, independent thesis research.

To accomplish these goals, the following unique features drive the program:
• Separate course work and laboratory rotations into separate phases in the first year of training.

• Extensive student mentoring through a "two-tier" mentoring program.
• Financial support from the program, which serves to uncouple the funding source from graduate education.
• A student body with diverse ethnicities, nationalities, and educational backgrounds.
• A unique environment, which includes a world-class scientific Meetings and Courses program, providing the opportunity to meet and learn from leaders in science.