The emphasis of our graduate program is on comprehensive research training in our laboratories and we offer PhD and a combined MD-PhD degrees. Graduate training combines integrated coursework in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, and genomics with extensive research training. 

PhD in Biochemistry & Combined MD-PhD Degrees

Our PhD program is part of the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) interdisciplinary, “umbrella” program. This program incorporates didactic coursework and biomedical research. MD-PhD candidates must fulfill the requirements for both the MD and the PhD degrees. For complete information on the PIBS and MD-PhD programs please use these links:

Graduate training combines integrated coursework in the Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS) curricula in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics and genomics with extensive research training in our faculty laboratories.

bubestIn addition to the biomedical science coursework mentioned above, our Professional Development & Mentoring curriculum offers our graduate students opportunities to consider careers in many areas including academia, biotechnology, or government. Students enjoy a rich curriculum that includes credit-bearing courses as well as workshops, shadowing experiences and internships, all part of our NIH-funded Broadening Experiences in Science and Technology (BEST).

Financial Support

PhD graduate students receive a competitive stipend, tuition, and health benefits. MD-PhD students are supported through the Dean’s Scholarship program.

How to apply

Prospective students interested in our PhD program should apply directly through the GMS admissions portal:

Prospective students interested in our MD-PhD program can learn more about the admissions process and requirements through the BUSM admissions portal:

Once accepted into our graduate programs, you should contact our faculty to discuss availability of research rotations. Detailed PhD requirements and procedures can be found in our Graduate Student handbook (available from Dr. Barbara Schreiber: and are outlined below. Please note that many of our faculty are members of other graduate programs including: Nutrition, Molecular and Translational Medicine, and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, and the requirements vary among these programs.

Course Work

  • GMS FC 701, FC 702, FC 703, FC 704, FC 706 (Foundations in Biomedical Sciences Modules I, II, III, IV, and V)
  • GMS FC 762 Critical Thinking in Biomedical Research
  • GMS BI 777 Techniques in Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology
  • Biostatistics
  • Advanced electives
  • Research credits

Qualifying Examinations

Candidates for the PhD degree must pass both written and oral qualifying exams.

Dissertation Advisory Committee and Defense

Upon completion of qualifying exams, PhD candidates present a research proposal to a five-member Dissertation Advisory Committee. The committee is assembled at least once annually to discuss the progress of the accepted proposal. Once the committee determines that the research work is complete, the student writes and defends the thesis.