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IGP and Participating Programs

In today’s quickly-evolving world of science, researchers pushing forward discovery and innovation must critically evaluate information and connect links between fields. Thus, the main goal of the IGP year is not to absorb vast quantities of facts, but to learn how to be a creative and analytical thinker who can gain information as needed from the scientific literature.

Which Program is right for me?

Students with traditional backgrounds in biology and/or chemistry should apply to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP).  The IGP is an interdepartmental program encompassing 11 graduate programs. IGP students take the fall foundational course described above followed by individually tailored, specialized modules and electives in the spring semester. Students rotate through four laboratories during the first academic year to identify a thesis project and mentors. Rotation choices provide the flexibility to sample laboratories in completely different fields or conduct all 4 rotations within the same discipline. Prospective applicants can explore more HERE.

Students with educational backgrounds in the quantitative sciences such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, or computer sciences should apply to the Quantitative and Chemical Biology (QCB) Program. QCB is a multidisciplinary program introducing elements of biology to students with backgrounds in the quantitative sciences wishing to pursue a doctoral degree at the interface of the chemical, physical, and biological sciences. The curriculum prepares students for research careers in chemical biology, imaging sciences, molecular and cellular biophysics, or structural biology. Previous didactic training in the biological sciences is not required for entry into the QCB.

Applicants seeking more research experience before applying to graduate school should apply to a postbaccalaureate research education program (PREP). PREP programs at Vanderbilt include the Vanderbilt Experimental Research Training Inclusion Community Engagement Skills (VERTICES) program, and the Vanderbilt Education Research and Training in Cancer and Leadership (VERTICAL) program. Both are designed to provide research training for individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science following graduation.

About the IGP

The IGP is designed to prepare students with the foundational knowledge required in each discipline and to hone the analytical skills necessary for conducting insightful and creative research. Didactic coursework in the fall semester provides competency-based training in core disciplines that serve as a prerequisite for performing life-long cutting-edge research in the molecular and cellular sciences. Small group discussion sections complement didactic training to learn how to critically analyze the primary literature and to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the major experimental approaches that underlie discovery-based science. Entry into the Ph.D. programs in the Biomedical Sciences at Vanderbilt is designed to provide a personalized, flexible approach to accommodate a wide range of educational backgrounds and specific interests.

What departments and programs are affiliated with the IGP?

There are 11 departments and programs affiliated with the IGP.

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 to address cutting-edge biological problems. The first year training program is described HERE.

Please explore our website to learn more about the exciting, stimulating, and comprehensive training provided by the IGP. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Our online application for Fall 2024 is now closed. 

  • Submission of GRE scores is optional.
  • There is no application fee for anyone who has performed research funded by a US entity. Read more here!

At Vanderbilt University, we hold the sincere belief that fostering the advancement of and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion of all students, faculty, and staff benefits all members of our community. To bring to life our vision of inclusive excellence, we are intentional about recruiting, retaining, and supporting diverse and underrepresented groups of students. We encourage individuals from all populations to apply to our graduate programs. The university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic background, or disability.