Disability & DIversity Statement

UPGG is strongly committed to improving racial and ethnic diversity in the biological sciences. We actively participate in several programs to attract underrepresented minorities to Duke graduate programs, summarized below.

The Duke University Office of Graduate Student Affairs (GSA) and the Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity (OBGD) for the School of Medicine work together to coordinate, supplement, and expand the recruiting efforts of all Duke graduate departments and programs. GSA and OBGD administrators and staff, as well as UPGG faculty members, visit numerous locations around the country to actively seek out talented minority students. Our active recruiting efforts have led to a rise in the number of applications to the basic biomedical sciences and to the UPGG program in particular. We hope that our continued efforts will encourage more minority students to consider becoming the "other kind of doctor."

The Duke University Graduate School awards approximately 35 honorary Dean's Graduate Fellowships to the strongest underrepresented minority students in the applicant pool. For students in the UPGG program, the fellowships are supplemental in nature, providing enhanced stipend support, tuition, and fees.

UPGG applicants are also eligible for an additional competitive fellowship designed to promote diversity among its graduate students. Biomedical Graduate Fellowships are provided to exceptional applicants who—by reason of their background, culture, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, work, and life experiences—contribute to a fuller representation of perspectives within the academic life of the University. UPGG is committed to promoting diversity by encouraging nominations of students who are Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, as well as students with disabilities, and from financially or culturally disadvantaged backgrounds. All candidates must be invited to interview and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Fellowship provides a $5,000 stipend supplement each year for the first two years of graduate study. Candidates who are eligible for this award will be vetted internally by the program and can be simultaneously nominated for university-wide fellowships such as the James B. Duke Fellowship.

The Director of the Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity, Sherilynn Black, can provide more information about this fellowship and many other opportunities for underrepresented PhD students in biomedical graduate programs. Please visit the OBGD website for more details on the programming and specialized efforts designed to enhance the experience of minority scientists during their time at Duke.


The Duke Genetics & Genomics Program and the Graduate School are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, as well as applicable state regulations and federal and state privacy laws.We encourage applications from all sectors of society, including those whose life experiences may include the challenge of access due to a disability. 

If you believe you may need and qualify for reasonable accommodations, please visit Duke's Disability Management System (DMS) at http://www.access.duke.edu for detailed information and procedures. The knowledgeable staff at DMS serve Duke's undergraduate, graduate and professional students, trainees, employees, and faculty, as well as the public, in support of Duke University and Duke University Health System efforts to ensure an accessible, hospitable working and learning environment for people with disabilities. Through DMS, Duke ensures consistent processes for requesting accommodations, evaluating needs, and determining appropriate response, and the DMS serves as a clearinghouse for disability-related information, procedures and services available at Duke, in Durham, and in North Carolina. For more information about DMS visit http://www.access.duke.edu.

In support of disabled trainees, the School of Medicine offers a Biomedical Graduate Fellowship for disabled trainees that provides a $5000 stipend supplement. Trainees are deemed eligible by the Duke Student Disability Access Office for both accommodation and the fellowship. The Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity is partnering with Duke Counseling and Psychological Services to hold programmatic initiatives that support disabled students (for example, workshops on decreasing stress associated with imposter syndrome). The School of Medicine also plans to create focus groups with all currently enrolled disabled biomedical PhD trainees to ensure that the program and institution actively create an environment to promote their scientific success.