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Ph.D. Program

Student Life

Students enjoying time together outside during their training at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Life at Mayo for graduate students

Graduate students are the lifeblood of a research institution — you work hard, but you also must take time to relax, unwind, and cater to your other interests. Graduate school is not only a place for scientific training, but personal growth as well. This is a place for crafting lifelong friendships and relationships both personal and professional.

There’s a lot for you outside the lab and our Student Life resources can help you make the most of your time here.


As an incoming student, you're part of a diverse group of about 45 new trainees who are starting at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (MCGSBS) this year at one of Mayo Clinic's three campuses.

To introduce you to Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Mayo Clinic, as well as to ensure a smooth transition to your new community, you'll take part in a comprehensive orientation session.

Orientation is scheduled for July 1-2, 2019. Please check in promptly at 7:55 a.m. on Monday at the Siebens building, room 04-06 (Grumman Lecture Hall). It will end at approximately 3 p.m. each day. Your full participation is required at all sessions. At check-in you will receive a comprehensive schedule of guests and presentations.

Objectives for orientation

The objectives of our orientation program is to assist in the transition to graduate school by acquainting you with the principles, expectations, and resources of the MCGSBS community within Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, which will be your home for the duration of your graduate studies.

Our core objectives include:

  • Engagement
  • Program benchmarks
  • Student rights and responsibilities
  • Student services

During orientation you will meet other new students, faculty, and staff. You'll learn more about lab rotations, curriculum, and program milestones.

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science students have rights and responsibilities. You are responsible for understanding and conducting yourself in accordance with college policies and for upholding community behavioral standards.

The Student Services department serves as the single point of contact for the efficient delivery of value added ancillary support mechanisms which positively enhance and augment your student experience. During orientation, you will become acquainted with our Student Services colleagues in the registrar's office, financial aid office, bursar, and colleagues affiliated with wellness and academic success.

Orientation actions

  • Laptops. You will receive a laptop on July 2. An overview will be provided.
  • Photograph. You will have your photo taken on July 2. Please wear business attire as this photo will appear on your Mayo Clinic Access/Identification Card and is published in the online directory.
  • Identification. You will receive a photo access card that is to be worn on the upper torso at all times while in the medical complex. This card grants access to the buildings and surface parking lots after hours. It also serves as your name badge.
  • Drug screening. You will receive a drug screening form and instructions at check-in. You will have seven business days to comply, and will receive a scheduled timeframe to complete the drug screen at orientation.
  • Dress code. The dress code at Mayo Clinic is business casual. While working in a lab, you will have the option of wearing business casual or individually-owned scrub suits.
  • Address. Be prepared to provide your local address at check-in.
  • Email address. You will receive an email address at check-in. You will use your email address for official communications and notices from the college and graduate school.
  • Training modules. All Ph.D. students are required to complete several online training modules. You will have seven days to complete them.
  • Laboratory/campus tour invitation to Arizona or Florida campus (optional). MCGSBS provides opportunities for laboratory rotations and research at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Florida. You may also choose to complete your entire Ph.D. program in one of these locations. You are invited to participate in a site visit to either Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona or Florida. These visits will allow you to "preview" the Arizona or Florida campus on July 10-13, 2019. Transportation expenses (airport parking and flight), hotel, meal, and activity expenses will be covered. The formal invitation will be emailed to you in May. RSVP is due by May 31, 2019, to Sarah Giese at

Survival guides

In an effort to assist you in your transition to the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (MCGSBS), the Graduate Student Association (GSA) has put together survival guides for MCGSBS, Rochester, Minnesota, and Jacksonville, Florida. 

All three guides were compiled from the experience of both current and former MCGSBS graduate students. The guides cover a variety of topics from moving to Minnesota, Arizona, or Florida; commencing your coursework and laboratory rotations; and thriving (not merely surviving) during the graduate school transition.

Specifically, the MCGSBS survival guide provides a wealth of information regarding graduate school administration, program directors, students in each of the seven tracks, helpful guidelines to consider as a graduate student, rotations, classes, and much more!

The Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, guides are detailed guides to advise you as you make your move to the Rochester or Jacksonville campuses. These guides offer recommendations on anything from setting up utilities, parking at Mayo, popular restaurants and night life, how to set up housing, and local sports teams. (We're working on a guide for the Arizona campus.) 

As you begin this next amazing chapter in your life, remember to maintain good health and well-being by taking the time to relax, unwind, and live a balanced life! 

Best regards,

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

Frequently asked questions

Where do I park?

Parking is in high demand in downtown Rochester.

Fortunately, Mayo Clinic provides parking privileges for new Ph.D. students at an off-site parking lot (located on Second Street Southwest) and park-and-ride lots (located at Cub Foods, Olmsted County Fairgrounds, IBM, Shopko North, and Target South).

Shuttle service is available from park-and-ride lots to Mayo Clinic and Saint Mary's Hospital. The shuttle bus schedule is available on the parking and transportation internal website.

You will receive a parking tag on the second day of check-in. You'll have access to the campus allied health staff parking areas from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and on weekends and holidays.

Is bus service available?

Bus passes are available at no charge for students who wish to commute within Rochester on the city bus. Commuter bus passes to cities outside of Rochester are available at a reduced fare.

Bus passes are available at the Parking/Access Card Office, on the main floor of the Mayo Building. They can only be used for commuting to and from work.

Bus routes are limited on Saturdays, and don't run on Sundays. Learn more on the City of Rochester's Public Transportation website.

Is the Mayo campus secure?

Mayo Clinic Security consists of more than 90 staff members who provide 24-hour campus security, patrolling all internal properties, as well as external areas such as parking ramps and lots. Video monitoring of public areas, parking facilities, subways, and entryways is conducted from security operations centers.

Security provides escorts to Mayo parking areas upon request.

Mayo Clinic buildings are locked at designated times and access thereafter is controlled. Card-key access systems are used for access to buildings and restricted areas. Data files are kept for all access card usage. Access cards are invalidated in the system when reported lost or stolen.

What resources are available to me?

  • Mayo Graduate Student Association (GSA). The purpose of the GSA is to facilitate the interaction between the administration of the school and students enrolled in the graduate degree programs. It also provides an avenue for information exchange between graduate students in various programs. Questions regarding the GSA can be directed to the current co-presidents at Elections for new officers are held in August.
  • Research Core Facilities. Mayo Clinic Research Core Facilities are centralized, shared research resources that provide access to instruments, technologies, testing, and services. They provide expert technical and consultative services to investigators engaged in basic science research and clinical trials. These facilities expand investigators' capabilities, foster collaboration, and accelerate discovery and translation.
  • Mayo Clinic Library. Mayo Clinic is served by an integrated system of libraries, knowledge centers, and archives including extensive online resources and efficient delivery systems. The system includes the Mayo Digital Library of Electronic Resources, accessible 24/7 at all institutional sites.
  • Discovery's Edge. Mayo Clinic's research magazine offers insight into the process and progress of medical science at Mayo Clinic.