Life as a Biology Graduate Student

Grad students in the lab.

The life of an MIT biology graduate student is a rich amalgam of experiences—academic, scientific, social, and recreational. During their first year at MIT, they are immersed in the rigorous coursework that will support their studies going forward. That intensive classroom period includes a semester of rotations in the spring, giving students a chance to sample the labs and decide which most closely maps to their interests. This first year is also a powerful time of bonding with fellow students on and off campus—often in “The Pit,” the lounge where first-year students meet up to study, play pool, party, or ponder the mysteries of biology, MIT, and the wider universe. 

“People here get excited about the work they do and yet don’t take themselves too seriously.”

After the first year, MIT Biology grad students spend their days—and many a night—in the lab, but that’s why they’ve come, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. The friendships they’ve formed with their peers during the first year have developed into a productive support system. MIT Biology graduate students are among the best in the world, and in this highly collaborative environment, they continually share knowledge, ideas, and scientific street smarts.

“What really drew me to MIT was the overwhelming feeling that I got at the prospective student weekend that everyone really wants you to succeed here.”

MIT Biology students also make time to experience life beyond the lab, tapping the extraordinary depth and breadth of extracurricular activities on campus and across the Cambridge-Boston metro area—one of the most exciting arts, culture, and sports scenes in the country. And they take advantage of the geographic variety of the metro area. The Atlantic Ocean is a few subway stops away, and the full spectrum of winter sports is within driving distance.

Resources for MIT Biology grad students: