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Biomedical Sciences

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

The Vanderbilt University Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) is a leading integrative biomedical graduate program, designed to foster well-rounded science leaders. Since its inception in 1992, the IGP has provided comprehensive training for our students, bridging traditional biomedical fields. Our students learn how to be creative and analytical thinkers, geared to tackle the quickly evolving world of research and technology.

Quantitative and Chemical Biology Program

Quantitative and Chemical Biology is a PhD track, multidisciplinary program introducing elements of biology to students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree at the interface of the chemical, physical, and biological sciences. The curriculum prepares students for research careers in any area of biomedical research, and many students choose to work in interdisciplinary fields such as chemical biology, structural biology, imaging sciences, molecular and cellular biophysics, or systems biology.

Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity

The Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) at Vanderbilt University exists to increase the number of PhDs awarded to graduate students in biomedical research who are underrepresented in science. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has been in existence at Vanderbilt since 2000. Our approach is multi-faceted and emphasizes extensive and careful mentoring at all stages.


Biochemistry is an underpinning of all modern biomedical science. The mission of the Biochemistry Department at Vanderbilt University is teaching, service, and research. Ph.D. students in biochemistry are trained to take up roles as investigators and teachers in biomedical research, and our department provides this background for all IGP Ph.D. students at Vanderbilt regardless of which direction their future training may take.

Biological Sciences

The graduate program in the Department of Biological Sciences is designed to prepare students for careers in research and teaching. Critical thinking skills and technical expertise are achieved primarily through dissertation research beginning with a firm foundation of course work and seminars.

Biomedical Informatics

Biomedical Informatics is the interdisciplinary science of acquiring, structuring, analyzing, and providing access to biomedical data, information, and knowledge. As an academic discipline, biomedical informatics is grounded in the principles of computer science, information science, cognitive science, social science, and engineering, as well as the clinical and basic biological sciences.


Biostatistics graduate program emphasizes modern statistical thought and features the foundations of statistical inference, a topic of critical importance. The program aims to strike a balance between theoretical rigor, methodological proficiency, and functional aptitude. There is a strong emphasis on reproducible, validated research and how to achieve this from a statistical perspective.

Cancer Biology

The Cancer Biology Graduate Program is designed to train students for a career in basic and applied cancer research, as well as in related careers associated with the application of information through biotechnology and the dissemination of information to the next generation of scientists and to the lay public. Modern cancer research is based on a broad range of technical skills, including Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Bioinformatics, which the students will learn through coursework and laboratory training.

Cell and Developmental Biology

The Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) Graduate Program is designed to educate and train students to become innovative research scientists and science educators. First-rate research training, at technical and conceptual levels, is the main focus of the CDB Program.

Chemical and Physical Biology

The graduate program in Chemical and Physical Biology (CPB) is designed for students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree at the interface of the chemical, physical, and biological sciences. The Ph.D. degree in CPB is available to all students who enter the trans-institutional QCB or IGP graduate admissions program or any of the departmentally based graduate programs. The coursework and research components of the program prepare students for research careers in which they are able to bring state-of-the-art tools of the modern chemical and physical sciences to bear on cutting edge biological problems.


Epidemiology at Vanderbilt emphasizes training in advanced quantitative methods with strong roots in logic and causal inference. We engage students immediately as active collaborators in multidisciplinary research teams, focus on analysis of observational data, and encourage scholarly productivity throughout training. The Ph.D. is based in The Institute for Medicine and Public Health with more than 127 researchers who excel in large-scale collaborative research with basic and applied scientists worldwide focused on protecting and improving human health.

Health Policy

Vanderbilt University’s Ph.D. in Health Policy scholars work and learn at the epicenter of the national health care industry and adjacent to an elite academic medical center. The program develops students expertise in using interdisciplinary methods to address a wide range of health policy and health service challenges in the United States while preparing them to work in elite academic, private sector, and governmental settings as part of multidisciplinary teams. The program also pairs candidates with faculty mentors and researchers in the Department of Health Policy and across Vanderbilt.

Hearing and Speech Sciences

The Ph.D. program in Hearing and Speech Sciences is administered through the Vanderbilt University Graduate School. The program emphasizes preparation for research and teaching careers in audiology, speech-language pathology, and hearing or speech science. Doctoral education and training is integrated with the federally-sponsored research programs of faculty members.

Human Genetics

The Ph.D. program in Human Genetics offered by the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute provides students with a solid foundation for a career in human genetics research and teaching.

Microbe-Host Interactions

The MHI program is designed to equip each student with an in-depth understanding of their particular discipline (e.g. bacterial pathogenesis or virus replication), while imparting a knowledge of host biology sufficient for understanding pathogen-host interactions. As a research training program, MHI emphasizes training in the fundamental principles that underlie hypothesis-driven research. The program also offers numerous opportunities to attend seminars by world-class researchers and to discuss recent scientific developments in various journal clubs.

Molecular Pathology and Immunology

The graduate program in Molecular Pathology and Immunology in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology provides training in the basic principles underlying human disease, inflammation, and immunology. Students undertake research experiences to apply this knowledge to investigate the fundamental mechanisms of tissue damage and repair, and the role of the immune system in diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity, and response to infection. The many areas of active investigation in the training program provide students with a diverse choice of subjects for dissertation research and fields of training for future careers as independent, biomedical research scientists.

Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Molecular Physiology and Biophysics offers a broad interdisciplinary range of courses and opportunities designed to train students to develop and execute creative research that utilizes cutting edge technology to answer biologically important questions.


Vanderbilt’s Neuroscience Graduate Program prepares each student to make significant contributions in neuroscience and fosters development from trainee to independent research scientist and educator. This is achieved by combining sound training in the fundamentals of neural science with more specialized training that focuses on the integration of this knowledge base into a study of nervous system function and disease.


There are several inter-related goals in the training of pharmacological sciences at Vanderbilt University. At the scientific level, we seek to provide a didactic curriculum assuring each student has an understanding of the core knowledge in pharmacology and related physiology, including the molecular, cellular, and integrated understanding of drug action, receptor theory, pathways of drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, and rational drug design.