Student Achievement

The Scripps Research Institute (Scripps Research) has created this page to provide up-to-date information demonstrating the learning outcomes and scientific achievements of Scripps Research doctoral students in the course of their graduate studies.


Through the annual admissions process, entry into Scripps Research's graduate program remains highly competitive, as evidenced by a 19 percent acceptance rate  in the 2016 application cycle. Of the 859 applicants to the 2016 program, 45 accepted offers and joined the ranks of Scripps Research's doctoral students, bringing the total student body to 260 students. Click on the image at right to visit the admissions data page, which contains charts showing current and historical statistical trends, including disaggregated enrollment data pertaining to gender, ethnicity, research interests and other criteria. 


In addition to conducting advanced chemical and biological research, first- and second-year graduate students at Scripps Research are required to select and complete several courses, which are designed to extend their undergraduate education to the current frontier of knowledge and prepare them to meet the scientific challenges of the next century. Students customize their curricula by choosing 18 course credits (six courses) out of the more than 30 available courses taught by one or more Scripps Research faculty members. Echoing the highly interdisciplinary research environment at the institute, graduate students are strongly encouraged to enroll in courses outside of their primary research area. Charts illustrating interdisciplinary enrollment in Scripps Research graduate courses can be viewed by visiting the course enrollment data page.

Available courses cover a wide array of current research topics, ranging from Medicinal Chemistry and Modern Organic Synthesis to Cell Biology and Immunology. New to the curriculum are Cancer Biology, Drug Discovery, and Natural Product Biosynthesis and Engineering. Other courses—including Scientific Communication, the Business of Biotechnology, and Career Planning—prepare students for success as young scientists.


Outside of the lab and classroom, Scripps Research graduate students present their research at scientific meetings across the country, attend development workshops, and participate in a wide array of other activities designed to prepare them for productive scientific careers.

Research meetings and conferences are an opportunity for students to interact with the broader scientific community. In addition to the benefits gained by exposure to new ideas and topics in research, students develop communication skills, since a majority of Scripps Research students who attend meetings present their research at a poster session or oral presentation. Included below is a partial list of the meetings attended by Scripps Research graduate students during the 2016-17 academic year:

* American Chemical Society National Meeting

* American Peptide Symposium

* Cell Symposia: Cancer and Inflammation and Immunity

* Endocrine Society Annual Meeting

* Future of Genomics in Medicine

* Gordon Research Conference: Biology of Aging

* International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting

* International Symposium on Filoviruses

* Keystone Symposia Conference: HIV Vaccines

* Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

Back on campus, graduate students participate in journal clubs, student-organized distinguished lecturer seminar series, and other activities that afford them opportunities to develop leadership, business and mentoring skills. While many students derive enrichment from groups such as the Scripps Consulting Club or Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable, others develop valuable teaching and mentoring skills through the institute's education outreach programs, such as high school career panels or summer internships for undergraduates and high school students.

TSRI Publications Data Page PUBLICATIONS

The rate at which Scripps Research graduate students publish the results of their research in scientific journals remains strong and is another testament to the quality of the Scripps graduate experience. According to the most recent data on currently enrolled students, after completing five years in the program, Scripps graduate students achieved an average of  4.37 publications.  Moreover, 100 percent  of current students achieved at least one publication by this milestone.

The Scripps Research graduate program sets publication goals at three yearly milestones. Students are encouraged to achieve at least one publication by the end of their third year, two by the end of their fourth year, and three by the end of their fifth year. In response to these targets, 59 percent  of currently enrolled students have achieved the Year 3 goal, 40 percent have met the Year 4 goal and 48 percent have achieved three or more publications by the end of their fifth year.

Alumni of the program continue to publish after leaving Scripps and embarking on their career. Across all alumni, the mean number of publications (since enrollment) is 19.9 per alumnus/alumna. Click on the image above to visit the publications data page, which contains charts illustrating publication rate data for currently enrolled students and Scripps Research alumni.


The mentorship, laboratory training and classroom education of doctoral students at Scripps can be credited almost entirely to the tremendous investment of time and effort by the 162 Scripps Research faculty members actively involved in the graduate program. A faculty-to-student ratio of 1:1.6 benefits graduate students by affording them unparalled access to world-class scientists with expertise in a variety of research areas. The number of faculty who serve as mentors to graduate students is also high: 85 faculty members advise one or more graduate students in their laboratory.

As noted above, coursework is an integral part of graduate students' early scientific training. It also is another opportunity for students to interact with leading reseachers, as almost all courses are taught by Scripps faculty. For academic year 2015-16, 29 faculty members acted as a course director for at least one course. Many courses also feature guest lecturers from other Scripps Research laboratories. During AY 2015-16, 96  Scripps faculty members taught at least one lecture. Of these lecturers, 48 percent are tenured faculty, which underscores the access students have to highly accomplished, well established faculty.

Another way that faculty assist in mentoring graduate students is by serving on their advisory committees. During AY 2015-16, 73 percent of graduate program faculty members served on at least one student advisory committee.


According to the most recent data, approximately 92 percent  of students who enter the Scripps Research graduate program leave with a doctoral degree (graduation rate). The percentage of students who either remained in Scripps' graduate program or graduated with a PhD (retention rate) by the end of year 3 is 92 percent. The mean time for students to earn a doctoral degree at Scripps is 5.3 years

Click on the image at right to visit the graduation and retention data page, which contains charts showing current and historical statistical trends, including disaggregated graduation and retention data pertaining to gender, citizenship and ethnicity.


Scripps graduate students currently are supported by fellowships from:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • American Cancer Society
  • California HIV and AIDS Research Program (CHRP)
  • The Fulbright Program
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore (A*)

Career Outcomes



Each year, Scripps Research's Career and Postdoctoral Services Office completes an exhaustive survey of graduate program alumni, resulting in a fascinating glimpse into the career directions taken by graduates of Scripps' doctoral program.

The latest survey (November 2016) revealed that 35 percent of Scripps alumni are currently working in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sectors, 22 percent hold faculty positions in academia, and 16 percent  are continuing their training as postdoctoral researchers. To view the entire survey results, click on the image at right.

Graduates working in the phamaceutical and biotechnology sectors can be found at a wide array of companies, including: Amgen; Biogen Idec; Bristol-Myers Squibb; DuPont Industrial Biosciences; Eli Lilly and Company; Genentech; Gilead Sciences; GlaxoSmithKline; Illumina; Merck & Co., Inc.; Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Pfizer; and others.

Universities and research institutes are home to Scripps Research graduate program alumni serving as faculty members, including: Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Cornell University; Duke University; Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Northwestern University; Rice University; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Southern California; University of Oxford; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Yale University; and others.

Other Scripps alumni have found rewarding careers in the consulting and finance sectors (McKinsey & Company; Piper Jaffray) as well as government research, policy and public health (National Institutes of Health—multiple centers; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), while still others are continuing their training as postdoctoral researchers at universities and companies, including: Columbia University; California Institute of Technology; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Pfizer; Rockefeller University; the Salk Insitute for Biological Studies; University of California, San Francisco; and others.