Biomedical Sciences, PhD Degree

Biomedical data science and informatics is an interdisciplinary field that applies concepts and methods from computer science and other quantitative disciplines together with principles of information science to solve challenging problems in biology, medicine and public health.

The nation's transition to new healthcare delivery models and the exponential growth in biomedical data translate to a need for professionals with expertise in data science focused in biomedical research who can leverage big data to improve health in the state and the nation. Specialized tracks include precision medicine, population health, and clinical and translational informatics.

The program is a unique collaboration that brings together Clemson’s strengths in computing, engineering, and public health and MUSC’s expertise in biomedical sciences to produce the next generation of data scientists, prepared to manage and analyze big data sources from mobile sensors to genomic and imaging technologies. Graduates will possess the necessary skills for informatics careers in biology, medicine or public health focused on the development of prescriptive analytics from large data sources.

Completion of this degree offers opportunities in academic institutions, industry, government agencies and administrative positions for individuals who wish to pursue careers as independent researchers, educators, administrators or other positions requiring a terminal degree. This curriculum typically is completed in five to six years. Base stipends for PhD students are $30,500 per year.  Ph.D. students are also provided with paid health insurance and tuition and fees paid by a Dean’s scholarship. 

Graduate training in the biomedical sciences is offered in the following areas: biochemistry, bioengineering, bioinformatics, biostatistics, cancer biology, cardiovascular biology, cell biology, cell regulation, data science and informatics, drug discovery, epidemiology, genomics, genetics and development, immunology, lipidomics, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, oral biology and pathogenesis, pathology, pharmacology, proteomics, signal transduction, structural biology, toxicology, virology and many others.

The first year curriculum offers an entire academic year for Ph.D. students to explore all of the graduate training programs before selecting a program and research area. More information about the curriculum and the research training programs can be found at the College of Graduate Studies. Students in biostatistics, epidemiology, data science, and informatics take a specialized curriculum designed by their department.


The applicant must possess a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution of higher learning or a doctorate from a professional school. No single metric is used to assess applicants, but rather a broader picture of the candidate's qualities is considered by the admissions committee. Applicants are assessed on evidence of satisfactory undergraduate preparation in the sciences, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. Participation in a monitored research experience is highly recommended for those interested in the basic sciences. The general GRE test is no longer required for most of our programs. Students applying for Biostatistics and/or Epidemiology are STRONGLY encouraged to submit their official GRE scores.

International Students
Exceptional international applicants may be considered for a stipend. Because several months may be required for securing needed information and for processing an application from abroad, foreign nationals are urged to submit complete information as early as possible. In addition to other official entrance credentials, those applicants whose native language is not English must submit the official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS score) exam. The TOEFL or IELTS score must not be more than two years old. Final consideration cannot be granted to an international student’s application for admission until these official scores are received by the Office of Enrollment Management. Competitive scores for the TOEFL equals 100 and for the IELTS equals 7.

If an international applicant has graduated or will graduate from an institution that uses English as the language of instruction, the TOEFL/IELTS may be waived upon request.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted through the dates shown below. However, the admissions process is rolling and you are encouraged to submit ALL of your application materials by December 15th for best consideration. 

All applications to the College of Graduate Studies must be submitted online. If you are unable to apply online you must petition the office of the Dean for special accommodation explaining why you are unable to apply online. The online application fee is automatically waived for domestic applicants applying to all College of Graduate Studies Ph.D. programs.

In addition to the application itself the applicant must complete all supplemental materials specific for the program to which they are applying. These forms are available in PDF format within the application and are also sent through email once an application is submitted. If references are submitted electronically (see application for instructions), it is not necessary to submit paper references.

Applicants are required to submit unofficial or official transcripts for each and every post-secondary school attended even if listed as transfer credit on another transcript. All materials must be received by the application deadline. In the cases where we accept unofficial documents, the unofficial document must be a copy of the original. If you are submitting an unofficial transcript, it must reflect all courses, grades, degrees awarded (if applicable), and the name of the institution must be clearly visible.

Some academic advising reports and degree audits do not contain all the necessary information so please review the document before submitting. As part of your online application, you may upload one copy of the scanned unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution where you earned credit. For International transcripts, please make sure you include the diploma or certification verifying the degree obtained.

If you are offered a position, you will be asked to request an official transcript from each institution listed in the Education section of your application, regardless of the number of credits earned. MUSC reserves the right to rescind any offer of admission if any discrepancies are found between your unofficial and official transcripts.

As a Ph.D. student you may take an interdisciplinary first year curriculum that allows exposure to all departments and programs before a research area and mentor are selected. The curriculum consists of interactive and comprehensive didactic units, self-selected laboratory rotations, and seminars to set the stage for your research career. Later, we encourage you to define your own schedule of courses to complete your educational plan.

First Year Curriculum 2018-2019

Departments & Training Programs

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Microbiology and Immunology

Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology Program

Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience Institute

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Use of Marijuana and/or CBD Products

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal to purchase in South Carolina. Apart from a narrow and limited scope of codified/documented medical exceptions, it is illegal for individuals to use marijuana/tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in South Carolina. Although cannabidiol (CBD) products may be purchased and used in South Carolina, please be aware that CBD products may contain higher levels of THC than represented on packaging and use of CBD products can result in a positive drug screen for THC/marijuana. Be aware that current drug testing methods cannot accurately ascertain the origins of THC metabolites (i.e., whether from marijuana or CBD products). Your academic program has the authority to conduct random and/or scheduled drug testing; if your test result is reported as positive for THC metabolites (even if you only used a CBD product), your ability to be accepted into the program, progress in the program, and/or successfully complete the program may be negatively impacted.

Scholarship Eligibility

MUSC offers scholarships for which you may be eligible. Some are awarded based on academic achievement; others are awarded based on community service, for example. However, the majority of scholarships awarded at MUSC are based on financial need. This means those scholarships are only awarded to students who need some financial assistance to cover the cost of tuition and fees. If you would like to be considered for a financial need-based scholarship, you must have an up-to-date Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file. Make sure you list Medical University of South Carolina on your FAFSA form, along with MUSC’s code: 003438. We encourage you to submit the FAFSA as early as possible. It is recommended to submit the FAFSA in January if you plan to enroll in the Fall.

Application Deadlines

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Fall 2023 Regular Sept 1, 2022 Dec 15, 2022
Fall 2023 Extended Dec 16, 2022 Feb 1, 2023

Applications received after regular deadline will be considered on a space available basis.