Category Archives: All Purpose JTL

The default category for Joining the Lab

Studying at SDSU

There are several routes to graduate studies at SDSU, and members of the Edwards lab come from all different routes. Each program has different entrance requirements, forms, and protocols, so you should contact the graduate advisors for each of the programs to seek further advice. The masters programs tend to be easier to get into, but typically students do not receive a stipend (money). It depends on the program and the professor that the student works with. 

Master’s Degrees

The masters programs are a great way to come to see if you like the university and the professors, and to study before applying to the PhD programs. If you get good grades in the masters courses it is a lot easier to be accepted into the PhD program, and those courses will
count towards your PhD so you don’t need to take them again!

Computer Science

The Computer Science Masters program has a usual CS focus, with core courses in CS as you would expect. We also have some great certificate programs in mobile and web application development that teaches cutting edge development.

Computational Science

The Computational Science Masters program has a more applied focus than the CS masters program. Many of the core courses are about the application of computational thinking to scientific problems.

Biomedical Informatics

The biomedical informatics masters program covers biology and computer science, with some statistics. This program will set you up as a bioinformatician, and teach the basic skills you need to cross from biology to CS or vice-versa.

Cell and Molecular Biology

The biology masters program is, as you would expect, a biology program. However, students also take some bioinformatics classes with Dr. Edwards (and others,  of course) and biology students with computational interests work in Edwards lab.

Ph. D. programs

There are several PhD programs at SDSU that include bioinformatics students. The three PhD programs in biology are Cell and Molecular Biology; Evolution; and Ecology. Each has slightly different requirements, slightly different faculty, and all of those include some bioinformatics.  The Computational Science program also includes bioinformatics, but is more theoretical than the biology based programs, with less emphasis on wet lab classes. In the CSRC we have an emphasis in Quantitative Biology that has been extremely successful in graduating students.

The PhD programs are quite competitive and you will likely need to take both the TOEFL  and GRE tests to be accepted. However, the PhD programs pay students to cover their living expenses.

To apply for any of these programs, you should start by emailing the program directors. Then, there is an online application process that you need to follow which is linked from each of the websites above (but its the same process for all of them!). The applications are typically due from November through January, and decisions are made in February and March.

The most successful applicants to our PhD programs, regardless of whether they are in Biology or Computational Science, typically have a first author publication to complement a competitive GRE and TOEFL score. If you are thinking about grad school, think publications!



How to join the lab


The Edwards lab is a dynamic lab. Our students come for a while and do exciting things, and then head into industry and earn big salaries or on to academic positions to break the frontiers of science. We are always looking for scientists with curiosity, drive, and the ability to understand Rob’s ideas and convert them into something meaningful!

If you are interested in joining our lab, the first thing you need to do is understand what we do. Take a look at the Research and Projects section of the web site to see our funded projects. Also, check out our open projects page.

Once you’ve done all that, talk to Rob.



  • Read the web, think about the kind of science we do
  • Stop by the lab, talk to people working in the lab
  • Find the open problems page and think about some of those
  • Come up with an idea for a project. Even if its unworkable, at least you have had an idea


  • Expect Rob to give you a project when you walk in the door
  • Expect Rob to give you a project if you don’t even know what the lab works on
  • Expect to get paid right away