PhD Programs

BSTP Faculty and student with clear image

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine offers a variety of PhD training options to suit every interest. Eleven of our 15 programs have a common entryway known as the Biomedical Sciences Training Program. The other four programs offer direct admittance to the programs themselves. Our faculty value their interactive relationships with students and view mentoring young scientists as an important part of the mission of the School of Medicine. Here, students are treated as colleagues. Begin your research career at Case Western Reserve University and think beyond the possible!

Biomedical Sciences Training Program (BSTP)

The Biomedical Sciences Training Program is a funded, interdisciplinary PhD umbrella program designed for student success. The BSTP gives you the opportunity to explore most of our various biomedical science PhD programs to determine what research and course of study best fits your personality and career goals. You begin the program with coursework in cell and molecular biology, while rotating through labs of outstanding faculty members who represent a wide range of research areas. In the middle of the first year, you will choose your thesis advisor and fully join one of the prestigious PhD programs. Afterwards, you complete your degrees with specialized courses and intensive research.

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Available Tracks: RNA Biology, Structural Biology and Biophysics

From Harland Wood’s discovery of carbon dioxide fixation to the recent development of the Mighty Mouse by Richard Hanson’s group, the Department of Biochemistry has a storied tradition in biomedical research. As a student, you will work alongside faculty who use a wide range of techniques and systems to address fundamental biological and disease-related questions.

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Cell Biology

The Cell Biology PhD Program includes faculty from the School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. As a student, you will receive training opportunities as research science professionals through formal coursework, the conduct of original research in the laboratory of your selected mentor, and through informal interactions provided by seminars, journal clubs, workshops and laboratory meetings. The centerpiece of this training is a research project that provides the opportunity for completion of a written thesis and preparation of paper(s) for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

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Genetics and Genome Sciences

Available Tracks: Developmental Biology

The goal of the genetics graduate program is to train the next generation of geneticists who have extensive knowledge and expertise in many areas of modern genetics, genomics and biomedical research, and who use this training to pursue careers in basic and applied research in academia and industry, teaching, healthcare, publishing, foundations and government, and other areas of leadership in the public and private sectors.

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Molecular Biology and Microbiology

The requirements for a PhD degree in Molecular Biology & Microbiology include coursework, participation in formal and informal seminars, a research qualifying examination, and the Ph.D. thesis. Students are required to complete a minimum of sixteen additional credit hours of advanced coursework.

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Molecular Virology

The requirements for a PhD degree in Molecular Virology include coursework, participation in formal and informal seminars, a research qualifying examination, and the PhD thesis. In addition to the core curriculum, students are required to complete a minimum of sixteen additional credit hours of advanced coursework, including Introduction to Virology and Virus-Host Interactions.

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Available Tracks: Developmental Biology

The Department of Neurosciences offers graduate and postdoctoral training in a wide range of disciplines in modern neuroscience. The program has a strong emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate the function and development of the nervous system. Training in neurobiology is provided through a combination of research, course work, and seminars.

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Alterations in metabolism are at the root of numerous disorders, and nutritional status is a critical determinant of human health. The PhD program in Nutrition aims to train students in the various approaches that are required for the study of metabolism and nutrient homeostasis. Candidates are expected to learn and utilize diverse experimental approaches such as biochemistry, cell biology, bioinformatics, proteomics and metabolomics, and apply them as necessary for their thesis project. Appropriate training is provided by coursework, research, and weekly seminars, where multidisciplinary collaborations are emphasized.

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Available tracks: Cancer Biology, Experimental Pathology, Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease

The Department of Pathology provides extensive opportunities for graduate training in experimental pathology, immunology and cancer biology leading to the PhD (or MD/PhD) degree. Teaching faculty are based in the Department of Pathology and other basic science and clinical departments at the University and at affiliated hospitals (University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center).

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Available tracks: Cancer Therapeutics, Molecular Pharmacology, Membrane Structural Biology, Structural Biology and Biophysics, Translational Therapeutics

The Department of Pharmacology enjoys a tradition of excellence in basic science research. Our legacy includes the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1971 to Earl W. Sutherland Jr. for his discovery of the now famous "intracellular messenger" cAMP. Several generations of scholars have continued this tradition through their nationally and internationally recognized contributions to biomedical sciences.

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Physiology and Biophysics

Available tracks: Cell and Molecular Physiology, Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, Organ Systems Physiology, Structural Biology and Biophysics

Our program provides an interdisciplinary doctoral training allowing you to pursue a research career in the biomedical sciences. We emphasize a quantitative and state-of-the art instrumentation intensive approach that equips you with cutting edge skills to address key biological questions. The ultimate goal is to train future scientists in understanding the mechanisms that control normal function of biological processes, translating that knowledge into new approaches and cures for disease.

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Systems Biology and Bioinformatics

The Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Program will train scientists who are able to generate and analyze experimental data for biomedical research and to develop physical or computational models of the molecular components that drive the behavior of a biological system.The program is participating in Case Western Reserve University's Data Science initiative. We have developed new courses for the undergraduate Applied Data Science minor in the Health domain area. These courses will introduce students to healthcare data analytics and bioinformatics research.

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Direct Admit PhD Programs

Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University was one of the first in the world, and studies focus on ways to promote human health through education and research that bridges the gap between medicine and engineering. Here you can work alongside faculty members to play a leading role from basic science discovery to the creation, clinical evolution, and commercialization of new technologies, devices and therapies.

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Biomedical & Health Informatics 

The PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI) offers pragmatic, interdisciplinary areas of study immediately relevant in contemporary health systems or research enterprises. Our program encompasses both biomedical research and clinical care informatics with applications to health care delivery, precision medicine, accountable care organizations, and reproducible science. Our program provides grounding across multiple disciplines and will be of interest if you seek a career in which you:

* Analyze patient diagnoses, treatments and outcomes, based on electronic health records, to inform clinical practice
* Design or manage studies to inform quality and safety process improvements
* Collaborate in analysis of large genetic and various “omics” studies, integrated with clinical or population data, to advance the understanding of diseases
* Design and manage studies that draw from clinical, cohort or population data to assess and develop devices, therapeutics or other interventions

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Clinical Translational Science

The PhD in Clinical Translational Science program will train and graduate clinical-translational scientists to meet the need for a transformed clinical and translational enterprise. As a student you will be rigorously trained in the theory and practice of clinical translational science in order to make significant clinical discoveries and to move these discoveries across the translational continuum (discovery to implementation). The program will focus on enhancing skills to design and conduct research that is patient-oriented and translational. The program faculty, representing diverse scientific and professional fields, are located at CWRU and several collaborating local medical centers: Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, and Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center.

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Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Through the Epidemiology and Biostatistics PhD program, outstanding doctoral students will develop a thorough understanding of how to study the multiple determinants of population health outcomes; the individual and structural factors that may lead to disparities in those outcomes; and the way in which specific policies and interventions influence the nature and impacts of population health determinants. Student- and faculty-led seminars provide an ongoing mechanism for keeping abreast of current literature and identifying important areas of research and collaborative opportunities. Here, you are considered junior colleagues of the faculty and you will develop the capacity to work independently in a supportive environment. The Department operates within a strong interdisciplinary framework involving faculty within the department, the school of medicine, and across the entire university, as well as leaders in health care institutions and health oriented organizations and agencies throughout the wider community.

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Molecular Medicine

The Molecular Medicine Ph.D. Program integrates medical knowledge into graduate training. In this program you will become a trained research scientist who is an effective members of translational research teams working alongside physicians. You will be engaged in basic or applied research that is relevant to human health and can lead to new understanding of disease, clinical and diagnostic tools, medications, and therapies. The program is part of the the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic is consistently rated among the top four U.S. Hospitals according to U.S. News & World Report and has been rated #1 in cardiac care for 18 consecutive years. Molecular Medicine Ph.D. students train in a state-of-the-art facility with over 700,000 square feet of research space and nearly 200 investigators.

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