QBS PhD degree requirements

Modern biomedical research relies on both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Multidisciplinary approaches bring several different scientific disciplines such as bioinformatics and genetics to bear on a research question. Interdisciplinary approaches synthesize knowledge and methods from other disciplines to provide an integrated framework for solving complex biomedical problems in new ways.

The rapid advancement of high-throughput technologies such as DNA microarrays and mass spectrometry for measuring biological systems and their application as part of translational medicine has generated a significant demand for investigators doing cutting-edge research in quantitative disciplines such as bioinformatics, biostatistics and epidemiology. Those with the greatest impact are cross-trained in multiple disciplines giving them the ability to synthesize and integrate several disciplines to provide a truly interdisciplinary approach to solving complex biomedical problems.

The goal of the doctoral program in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences is to prepare PhD students for careers at the intersection of biomedical research and quantitative sciences such as bioinformatics, biostatistics and epidemiology.

The requirements for the PhD degree in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences are listed below.


Satisfactory completion of the following courses:

Research rotations and additional coursework

  • Three first-year research rotations that will consist of three small research projects, conducted with different faculty members for periods of about three months each, and registered research until the completion of the PhD
  • Satisfactory completion of 3.5 units of approved graduate-level elective courses
  • Satisfactory completion of nine approved journal club courses


  • One quarter of supervised teaching in a QBS course, unless otherwise approved

Qualifying examination and thesis

  • Satisfactory completion of an oral qualifying examination
  • Satisfactory completion of a significant research project and preparation of a thesis describing this research
  • Successful defense of the thesis in an oral examination and presentation of the work in a public lecture

For details of program rules and regulations see the QBS handbook.