Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory invites participation in our courses and workshops from all eligible applicants irrespective of gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, religion, or nationality. Please see our Diversity & Inclusion Policy for details.

Short Courses & Workshops at CSHL
Applications & Financial Aid
Selection Process
Fees & Payments
Campus Information


CSHL courses and workshops range from a few days to three weeks in length and are in-residence, meaning that all participants live at Cold Spring Harbor while a course is in session. All faculty and students are housed within walking distance to teaching laboratories, seminar rooms and dining facilities. The courses are very intense and involve twelve to fifteen hours per day of lectures, invited talks, hands-on exercises, experiments, and group projects. Trainees in CSHL courses and workshops range from Ph.D. students to senior investigators; approximately 70-80% of the trainees who take CSHL courses each year are graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

All CSHL courses and workshops are small by design to ensure excellent instructor-to-student ratios. Currently, courses are categorized broadly in terms of the overhead required to run them as well as their general formats: laboratory courses require significant overhead in the form of laboratory equipment, reagents, protocols, and computers for data analysis; computational courses have no laboratory component and thus require slightly less overhead in the form of cloud computing resources, storage servers, and computer rentals; and, workshops have no significant laboratory or computational component and are instead primarily grounded in lectures, invited talks, literature discussions, and associated class activities. Laboratory and computational courses are typically offered on our main campus while lecture-based discussion workshops are offered at our Banbury campus. Laboratory courses can accommodate 12-18 students per class, computational courses can accommodate 20-24 students, and workshops can accommodate 25-30 students.


Application Materials: Applications for CSHL courses are accepted online only and include the following pieces:

  • Online application form. Click the Application tab above to begin the process.
  • Curriculum vitae. While a CV or resume is optional, it is recommended you include one as part of your application materials.
  • Personal statement/essay. In 1000 words or less, please tell the admissions committee why you're applying for the course, how you will benefit from taking it, and what you hope to gain. In your personal statement, you should also clearly outline your academic training, research projects, and career path.
  • Letter(s) of recommendation. Unless otherwise stated on the course webpage, you can assume that two letters of recommendation are required as part of the application (some shorter courses require only one letter of recommendation). You can either upload your letter(s) as attachments or use the Blind References option in the online application form. If one or more of your references prefer to send their letters directly to CSHL, type their information into the Blind References fields and CSHL will contact them. If you use the Blind References option for a letter of recommendation, you do not need to upload an attachment for that person. It is your responsibility to ensure that your references write or send letters in a timely fashion; if CSHL does not have your letters of recommendation by the application deadline, you may not be considered for admittance to the course.
  • Financial aid request (optional). CSHL, together with course instructors, makes every effort to seek financial support on behalf of participants in the form of grants from appropriate federal agencies, private foundations, and corporations. If you require financial aid, please include an aid request as part of your application. In your request, please describe other sources of funding available to you (if any) and outline what you would need to fully cover tuition. Be sure to read through the course webpage and click the Sponsors tab above before writing your request. If you are eligible for any of the funding sources described in those pages, please note this in your financial aid letter. Financial aid requests do not affect selection decisions made by the instructors.

Accepted File Types: The CV, personal statement, letter(s) of recommendation, and financial aid request are uploaded as separate attachments in the online application form. Accepted file types are PDF and Microsoft Word, and each file must be less than 5MB in size. Please consult the course webpage for course-specific application requirements beyond what is described here. You must submit all application materials by the posted deadline to be considered for admission.


Selection Criteria: CSHL courses have small class sizes to maximize instructor-to-student ratios, and admission is therefore competitive. Each year, course instructors are confronted with the difficult task of selecting students from a large number of well-qualified applicants. Admission to a CSHL course is based first and foremost on the degree to which an applicant would benefit from the training opportunity, which in turn is judged from the materials provided by the applicant. The selection criteria can be summarized by the following two broad categories:

  1. Research and training. An initial list of potential students is generated from the applicant pool based on the quality of proposed research described in their applications, their demonstrated need for training, the institutional/community impact of their training, and evidence of relevant background knowledge. Talented students from institutions where it may be difficult to learn the material are given special consideration, particularly if their participation could lead to dissemination within their home institutions of the concepts covered in the course.
  2. Diversity. The initial list is then refined and the admitted students ultimately selected from it based on diversity criteria. Each class in a CSHL course is designed to be diverse in terms of U.S. versus international representation, institution, geographic region, gender, and race/ethnicity. We have found that such diversity produces class discussions that are lively, productive, and represent many different backgrounds and perspectives.

Acceptance/Rejection Letters: Admission decisions are returned four to six weeks after a course application deadline. Upon receipt of an acceptance letter, you then have several days to accept the offer. We understand that your acceptance is sometimes conditional on the amount of financial aid provided to you, so please communicate with the course registrar if you are concerned about payments and financial aid.


Tuition: CSHL tuition is all-inclusive and covers course reagents, supplies, food, housing, parking, receptions, and a banquet. We do not offer a per diem rate. Travel and ground transportation costs are not covered by CSHL tuition fees.

Payments: No tuition is due until you have been officially accepted into a course. Payment in full (less any financial aid awarded) is due four weeks prior to the start of a course. If you have difficulties arranging payment, please contact the course registrar as soon as possible. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. If paying by academic or personal check, payment is due immediately upon acceptance into the course. Checks should be made payable to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and mailed to the Meetings & Courses Program, One Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724. Be sure to include your name and the title of the course on any checks. Wire transfers will be accepted only with prior authorization; contact the course registrar for further instructions. All bank charges associated with payment are the responsibility of the course participant.

Extra Nights: If you need to stay at CSHL for extra nights prior to the start of the course and/or after the course concludes, please let the course registrar know. Extra nights at CSHL may be subject to a $225/night charge, which includes all meals on campus.

Family Members & Guests: Because of the very long hours in CSHL courses, trainees are discouraged from bringing family members to Cold Spring Harbor. Course faculty who wish to bring family members to CSHL should check with the course registrar as far in advance as possible. We try to accommodate all reasonable requests for families of course instructors and invited lecturers, but our housing options are unfortunately limited.

Receipts: Receipts and confirmations for all online payments are sent via email at the time of processing; please check your spam folders if you do not receive a receipt. Receipts for all other payments will be included in your registration packet upon check-in at CSHL.

Cancellations: Please contact the course registrar as soon as possible if you must cancel. Cancellations less than four weeks prior to the start of a course will incur a $150 cancellation charge. No-shows are ineligible for any refunds except in extenuating circumstances. Cancellation of any additional night(s) at CSHL (early arrival or late departure nights) must be done at least 48 hours prior to your intended arrival date, or else you will be charged. A full refund will be issued if you have difficulty obtaining a U.S. visa in time and we are aware of that difficulty, so please notify us in advance of any potential visa issues.

Reversal of Credit Cards: If you need to change your payment method after payment has been processed, a $50 fee will be imposed per transaction.


Arrival at CSHL: Please check in at Grace Auditorium or the Banbury Conference Center upon your arrival in Cold Spring Harbor. You will be contacted via email to indicate on which campus your course will be held.

Housing: Housing assignments are provided in your registration packet upon check-in at CSHL. Accommodations are a mixture of single and double occupancy rooms with other course participants, and all rooms are equipped with wireless internet access and telephone. Default housing for all students is double occupancy .  Roommate requests are honored wherever possible; please contact the course registrar in advance if you wish to request a particular roommate. All course faculty and invited lecturers are housed in single-occupancy rooms.  **Spam alert: a number of participants have reported receiving email messages from third party "travel planners" asking for information regarding arrival and departure at CSHL.  Any such emails should be ignored or deleted, as they are most certainly "phishing" scams.  All housing is arranged by our Housing Coordinator and we never use any third party organizations to plan your accommodations. 

Check-In/Check-Out Times: The check-in time for all rooms is 3:00 pm. Check-out is 12:00 pm (Main Campus Courses), 9:00 am (Banbury courses).

Parking: If you plan to drive a car to CSHL, you can request a temporary parking permit from the Meetings & Courses office upon check-in. Any vehicle on grounds without such a permit will be towed at the owner's expense. There is no charge for parking on the CSHL campus, however course participants are limited to the North parking lot.  

Dining & Refreshments: Mealtimes at Blackford Hall (main campus) and Robertson House (Banbury campus) are as follows: 7:30-9:00am breakfast, 11:30am-1:30pm lunch, 5:30-7:00pm dinner. A coffee shop/bar is located in the lower level of Blackford Hall, immediately downstairs from the main campus dining facilities. The coffee shop is open 9:00am-4:30pm Monday through Friday, as well as on Saturday when large events are on campus. The Blackford Bar is open 5:00-11:30pm Monday through Saturday, as well as some Sundays. Please note all special meal requirements on your online application form or email the course registrar.

Childcare: Family housing is primarily reserved for the course instructors and faculty. Given the very intensive nature and long hours of the courses, as well as  the limited availability of family housing, we strongly advise against trainees bringing children to CSHL. If you have no other option, we do maintain a list of local childcare facilities (including CSHL's Mary D. Lyndsay Childcare Center) and local summer camps for older children, as well as a roster of trusted childminders with whom parents may arrange babysitting services directly. Please contact the Meetings & Courses office ( to inform us of your childcare needs, and we can try to direct you to an appropriate service. You may also enquire about financial aid (see above) to partially support childcare costs during your stay.

Communications: CSHL wireless network= GUEST. Computers and printers are available on the main and lower levels of Grace Auditorium. CSHL house phones are located throughout the campus.

Bookstore: The CSHL bookstore is located in the lower level of Grace Auditorium and features a wide variety of clothing, gifts, and books, including Cold Spring Harbor Press publications. Store hours are scheduled for the convenience of course participants and posted on the door.

Laundry: Laundry facilities are available in the Dolan Hall west wing (main campus) and Sammis Hall (Banbury campus).

Exercise & Recreation: While CSHL's campuses are designed primarily to encourage scientific learning, discourse, and exploration, they also offer plenty of opportunities for recreation. Recreational facilities include hiking, walking, and jogging trails, volleyball and tennis courts, kayaks and sailboats, a swimming pool (Banbury campus only) and beach, and an indoor fitness center. Please inquire in person at the Meetings & Courses office for more information. The pool at the Banbury campus, kayaks, and sailboats are all available 12-6pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day (late May to early September).