Ph.D. Program Description
Genetics is a scientific branch dealing with heredity and variation of organisms. Modern genetics is an essential and fundamental part of the majority of biological disciplines with a great impact on medicine, agriculture, food or pharmaceutical industries. Our Ph.D. program in Genetics is based on a systems-level understanding of biological processes and their regulation from cells and individuals to populations with an accent on evolutionary aspects. Doctoral projects in molecular genetics and functional genomics concentrate on how the genes are expressed and regulated. Projects in transmission genetics cover how genes are transmitted to the next generations. Evolutionary and population genetics projects focus on how genes behave and change within and between populations over time. As a part of the university research team BIOACTIV, we are developing bioactive substances for biomedical applications. The study program in Genetics offers the students a great deal of flexibility aimed not only at the successful completion of their Ph.D. study but reflects their scientific preferences for future career development as well.
How the study is organized?
The study is organized as full-time or part-time. A standard timeframe for completion of a doctoral degree is judged to be three or four years. In the case of part-time studies, the duration is five years. The doctoral candidates should fulfill the research, learning and teaching requirements. They are based on a credit system, on average 60 credits per academic year. Typically, 1/3 of credits are allocated to learning activities and 2/3 of credits are gained from research.
The choice of courses within the learning part of a study depends on the dissertation research topic. The doctoral candidates can choose the courses offered by P. J. Šafárik University in Košice but also by other universities in the city, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy and the Technical University of Košice. Both, the learning and research part of a study begin simultaneously but the learning part has to be completed by the end of the second academic year passing written and oral comprehensive exams based on the major (Genetics) and chosen minor areas.
A full-time doctoral candidate has to participate in teaching activities according to the national law (not more than four hours a week). The doctoral candidates are eligible for supervising a bachelor's thesis.
Dissertation research is conducted under the guidance of the selected supervisor. The supervisors are nominated from among Professors, Associate Professors, and senior scientists and are approved by the Scientific Board of the Faculty of Science, P. J. Šafárik University in Košice. The student is responsible for conducting the experiments within the research plan. The progress is assessed continuously and annually by the supervisor. Doctoral students are expected to actively participate in project meetings, seminars, conferences, and other research activities. The students are encouraged to prepare a research project and apply for a grant within the internal university grant system with special attention to interdisciplinary projects that bring together doctoral candidates from different faculties/departments and undergraduate students to build teamwork and share research experience. The students are also fortified to spend a part of their study at collaborating institutions abroad.
Completion requirements encompass sufficient depth of knowledge in Genetics, rigorous research training and acquiring research and career skills. Formal requirements for successfully completing the doctoral study are set as recommendations of the University Commission of Doctoral Studies in Genetics. A doctoral candidate has to publish at least two scientific outputs in peer-reviewed periodicals.
Ph.D. graduate profile
The graduates of Ph.D. study in Genetics are knowledgeable and skilled in a wide spectrum of experimental methods especially in Molecular genetics, Molecular Cytology, and Microbiology in light of the “omics” levels. They are experienced in work with a variety of models and non-model experimental systems and they can apply the acquired knowledge in a great number of professions. An essential part of their Ph.D. study is attaining the bioinformatics skills for data mining and data processing available form DNA/RNA sequencing technologies.
The graduates are capable of both, creative individual and teamwork, critical judgment, evaluation and interpretation of the acquired results in view of the current state of the art.