Welcome to the IBG community!

IBG trains graduate students in research on the nature and origins of individual differences in behavior. To train at IBG, students must be admitted to a PhD program at the University of Colorado (Boulder or Denver). Upon completion of the training program, PhD students receive a certificate in Behavioral Genetics.  This is accomplished by requiring students to obtain a strong training in a primary academic discipline, by instructing them in the interdisciplinary content of behavioral genetics, and by providing an atmosphere that fosters interactions among scholars from different disciplines.


Students Currently Enrolled at the University of Colorado (Boulder or Denver) Wanting to Join IBG

Applications for the Behavioral Genetics certificate program can be submitted anytime after admittance to an IBG-affiliated PhD program (i.e, one that is home to one of our faculty fellows; see faculty page) and are reviewed on a rolling basis. However, to be considered for a potential training grant appointments for the following year, applications should be submitted by December 31st. Note that students who were admitted to a PhD program and whose advisor is an institute rostered faculy member should have already automatically been admitted to the Behavioral Genetics Cerificate Program.


Prospective IBG Students Applying to a PhD program

If you are a prospective student, not yet admitted to a PhD program at the University of Colorado, all you need to do is apply through your potential faculty mentor's department. Applicants admitted to a PhD program and whose advisor is an institute rostered faculy member (see the faculty page) will be automatically admitted to the Behavioral Genetics Cerificate Program. In consultation with their advisor, such students may choose at a later time to not pursue the certificate.

We highly recommend contacting directly the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work. That faculty member can help guide you through applying to the appropriate academic department. Our faculty love to hear from prospective students, so please email us! If you already know with which faculty member you want to work, you can also apply directly to the Ph.D. program the faculty member is affiliated with. You can find each faculty member's affiliated department under their picture on the Faculty page. For example, if you would like to enroll as a PhD student mentored by John Hewitt, you would apply to the Behavioral, Psychiatric, and Statistical Genetics PhD program in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and list Professor Hewitt as your advisor of choice. If you would like to work with Jerry Stitzel, you would apply to the PhD program in the Department of Integrative Physiology and list Professor Stitzel as your advisor of choice.

To be considered for admission, the Graduate School requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. For more information on what is considered for admission, please visit the admission websites for the particular department and area (Psychology and Neuroscience, Integrative Physiology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) you are applying to.
We are committed to fostering a diverse student and trainee bodyWe strongly encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Steps to Apply:Program Requirements

  1. Determine the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work.
  2. If you choose to do so, email the faculty member(s) to make sure that they are accepting students, to assess whether your research interests align, and to ask any other questions you might have.
  3. Apply to departmental PhD program with which that faculty member is affiliated. These include:
    1. Department of Psychology & Neuroscience (BPSG, Clinical, Cognitive, or Behavioral Neuroscience programs)

    2. Department of Integrative Phsyiology

    3. Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

    4. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    5. Human Medical Genetics (University of Colorado Denver)

    6. Pharmacology (University of Colorado Denver)

    7. Toxicology (University of Colorado Denver)

That's it! As noted above, students who are admitted to a PhD program and whose advisor is an institute rostered faculy member will automatically be admitted to the Behavioral Genetics Cerificate Program. All other students should wait until they are enrolled to apply for the Behavioral Genetics Certificate Program (see Students Currently Enrolled... above). 


Program Requirements

All students are eligible to take any graduate level course offered at the University of Colorado Boulder or at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora that is deemed suitable for their research interests, with permission of their research advisor. This includes courses offered through the various departments with which IBG faculty are affiliated: Psychology; Integrative Physiology; Neuroscience; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Computer Science; Human Medical Genetics (Denver); and Pharmacology (Denver).

To graduate with an IBG Interdisciplinary Certificate, students must complete two sets of requirements. The first set of requirements comes from the program and Department in which they are enrolled, and includes all requirements of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado. The second set of requirements is specific to the Behavioral Genetics Certificate Program. Often, there is high overlap between these two sets of requirements.


Student Funding

​​Student fundingIBG PhD trainees accepted into the Behavioral Genetics Certificate Program are fully supported during their graduate studies, either through one of our NIH-funded training grants, as a graduate research assistant (GRA) with their faculty mentor, or as a teaching assistant (TA) in their home department. This support includes academic year living stipend, tuition, insurance, and limited book and travel allowance to trainees in our program who continue to meet annual requirements. Moreover, IBG trainees in the Behavioral Genetics Certificate Program may apply for (and typically receive) summer funding to support their research activities during the summer.

IBG has two NIH-funded training grants that support up to 8 predoctoral students and 3 postdoctoral trainees. These training grants are administered through the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The advantages of being on the training grant are (a) it is competitive, and so being on the training grant is a nice line to put on your CV; and (b) it pays most of your academic year and summer stipend (your advisor will typically make up the rest in order for your pay to equal that of TAing) so that you can concentrate on your research. There are usually more students than training grant positions and so students may be supported by any of the three mechanisms (TAship, GRAship from a grant your advisor has, or a GRAship from the training grant) at various stages in their training. Students accepted into the IBG's Behavioral Genetics Certificate Program will typically be considered for a training grant position beginning their 2nd year (first year students are supported as a TA).

The University of Colorado is an equal opportunity/nondiscrimination institution and diverse applicants are especially encouraged to apply. We also welcome applications from students with disabilities and the Institute is partnered with the University of Colorado at Boulder Disability Services to encourage and support such students. Please contact Disability Services at http://www.colorado.edu/disabilityservices if you have questions about support services at the University of Colorado.


Scholarship and Award Opportunities for PhD Students

Curci Scholarship

Applying or first year international students should speak to their advisor about the Curci scholarship (https://www.colorado.edu/asmagazine/2022/06/17/major-gift-enhance-divers...). This fully supports international students for their first two years.

Carol Becker Lynch Award for excellence in behavior genetics research

IBG graduate students are eligible for the Carol Becker Lynch Award for excellence in behavior genetics research, two annual $2000 prizes awarded for excellence in graduate trainee research.


Undergraduate Research Opportunities

IBG has multiple opportunities for paid, volunteer, or course credit undergraduate research. Interested students should contact an IBG faculty member directly to inquire about possible positions.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP):

UROP funds undergraduate research, scholarly and creative work for CU Boulder undergraduate students with several types of grants. For more information, please check out:

UROP at CU UROP Grant Directory