Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D.

Admission Standards

An applicant must have a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. Undergraduate courses should include two semesters each of biology, physics, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry as well as some math (preferably through calculus).

Admission to the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program is determined by the Dean of The Graduate School after recommendation by the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Director and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Advisory Committee. Criteria examined include an appraisal of courses taken, grades achieved, letters of recommendation, research experience, and the student’s statement of purpose for graduate study. A MS degree in a biomedical subject or biotechnology, although not required, makes an application more competitive. Applicants may designate a preferred academic specialization, but, because of the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical research, this is not necessary. Highly ranked domestic applicants are invited to interview and visit the university. Selected overseas applicants receive a telephone interview.

A GPA average of 3.00 or better is required in both the major and overall. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (out of 120) is also required for students whose native language is not English; however, a score of 100 or above is preferred.

Application Information

Inquiries concerning admission and requests for printed program information should be directed to:

School of Medicine Office of Graduate Studies
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
telephone: 803-216-3321 or 803-216-3896

Degree Requirements (62 Hours)

Graduate studies in biomedical science are designed to provide broad interdisciplinary training as well as specialization in an area of research. The Ph.D. degree requirements include an admission-to-candidacy examination, a comprehensive examination, participation in seminar programs and a dissertation based upon the student’s research.

Following completion of required courses, the student must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination in the format of a research grant proposal. The student must also complete an oral defense of the comprehensive examination. The written and oral components will be evaluated by the student’s Advisory Committee.

Ongoing seminar programs expose students to cutting-edge research by scientists at the School of Medicine, other departments of the University, and from around the nation and world. Students are required to present their own data in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Seminar series. The students also are required to present once at the annual Morgan W. Newton Graduate Research Symposium. These seminars provide students with the opportunity to share their research findings with student and faculty colleagues. They also provide the student with valuable opportunities to enhance their oral presentation skills.

Biomedical science graduate students may elect to carry out research in such current areas of interest as cancer, reproductive biology, immunology, biodefense, complementary medicine, cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, microbiology, vision science, developmental biology, cardiovascular biology, AIDS and many more specialties. A detailed description of research activities within the biomedical science program may be found at the USC School of Medicine web site: Research performed by the student culminates in the PhD dissertation. The dissertation research is presented at a seminar open to all students and faculty of the university. The student also must successfully complete an oral defense of the dissertation to their Advisory Committee.

Molecular and Cellular Biology Concentration

The required core courses in the molecular and cellular biology concentration are:

Course Title Credits
BMSC 754Biomedical Biochemistry I4
or BIOL 717 Biological Chemistry
BMSC 700Introduction to Biomedical Research1
BMSC 706Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research2
BMSC 801Seminar in Biomedical Science2
BMSC 702Medical Cell Biology I4
or BIOL 714 Advanced Cell Biology
Total Credit Hours13

Neuroscience Concentration

The required core courses in the neuroscience concentration are:

Course Title Credits
PHPH 750Fundamental Neuroscience I4
PHPH 751Fundamental Neuroscience II4
BMSC 754Biomedical Biochemistry I4
BMSC 700Introduction to Biomedical Research1
BMSC 706Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research2
BMSC 801Seminar in Biomedical Science2
Total Credit Hours17