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Milestone for Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School

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Education posts

To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe. —Mission statement of the American Museum of Natural History


For more than a century, graduate students from universities far and wide have been coming to the Museum to study the collections and to train with the scientists here.


But in 2008, with the opening of the Richard Gilder Graduate School, the American Museum of Natural History started enrolling graduate students of its own for the first time. Offering a degree in Comparative Biology, the American Museum of Natural History became the first Ph.D.-degree-granting museum in the Western Hemisphere.


With an accelerated four-year program culminating in a dissertation and, ultimately, a Ph.D. in Comparative Biology, the Richard Gilder Graduate School's interdisciplinary curriculum was designed to provide all students—whatever their ultimate specialty within comparative biology, be it microbe, fish, or invertebrate evolution, or speciation, genomics or paleobiology—with a deep understanding of evolution; systematics and biogeography; and the ability to ably communicate their ideas.


This graduate program is also designed to take advantage of the Museum's unique set of resources.


These include natural history collections containing about 32 million specimens and artifacts; a long tradition of intensive field expeditions, in which the graduate students were invited to participate; myriad opportunities to teach students of all ages, as well as the public; and a faculty committed to working closely with their students. (In fact, the graduate school offers an almost-unheard of faculty-student ratio of 2:1.)

On September 30, 2013, the first group of graduates will receive their Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the inaugural commencement for the graduate school—a banner day in the history of the Museum and of the Richard Gilder Graduate School.

During the next few weeks, we'll profile the seven graduates on the Museum's blog.

Click here to read more about the Richard Gilder Graduate School.