Prospective Biomedical PhD Students

Accessibility: The Student Disability Access Office will work with you to ensure access to education for all students. "Our goal is to provide and coordinate accommodations, support services and programs that enable students with disabilities to have equal access to all  Duke University programs and activities. "

Admission: Application to all biomedical PhD programs except the Medical Scientist Training Program is through the Duke Graduate School.  On the drop-down menu in the Graduate School application form, select the proposed department/program, and choose “Ph.D.” as the highest degree sought. Students admitted through admitting-only programs (i.e. Cell & Molecular BiologyCognitive Neuroscience, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health) affiliate with a PhD-granting program/department at the time the student selects a dissertation lab.

Financial Support: Full support (stipend, tuition, fees and health insurance) is guaranteed to all PhD students for at least five years.  First and second year students are supported by the institution; by one of twelve (T32) training grants; or by individual fellowships. Students in their 3rd year and above are supported by their dissertation advisors, generally from research grants. In the event of a lapse in advisor funding, the institution (department or school) fills the gap in support.

Course of Study: Although each PhD program has its own course work and preliminary exam requirements, the first year is generally devoted to course work and laboratory rotations. At the beginning of the second year, students enter their thesis labs, finish course work and assemble dissertation committees.  At the end of the second year, students complete their preliminary exam, which is generally based on their proposed dissertation project. After passing the preliminary exam, the student is fully devoted to research. Some programs have a teaching requirement but all students can serve as teaching assistants with the approval of their dissertation mentor.

Statistics: These data are also available on the Statistics page for The Graduate School. The PhD programs received 1,385 applications this year and enrolled 113 students; 32% are international and about 11% are underrepresented minorities. Enrollees have an average Verbal GREs of 160; Quantitative GREs of 162 and Writing GREs of 4.30, with an average GPA of 3.67. PhD completion rates for each of the departments can be viewed here. The average time to degree is 5.66 years.

Outcomes: We are very proud of the way Duke graduates bring their training in critical thinking and scientific inquiry to a broad array of professional settings. For information on the diversity of exciting and worthwhile ways our graduates make use of their training, please check out the links listed on our Alumni page, which will take you to summaries of professional outcomes data.

Biomedical PhD Career Outcomes



Graduate Program Program Admits PhD Students Program Grants PhDs Years to PhD Current Students  International Admissions (%) GRE  GPA 
Verbal Quant Writing
Biochemistry Yes Yes 5.7 54 48 157 161 4.02 3.61
Biostatistics & Bioinformatics Yes Yes n/a 14 57 158 167 3.86 3.65
Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Yes Yes 5.3 33 55 160 166 3.81 3.60
Cell Biology* No Yes 6.0 40 30 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cell & Molecular Biology* Yes No n/a 20 45 161 161 4.33 3.70
Cognitive Neuroscience Yes No n/a 10 10 165 162 4.81 3.69

Developmental &
Stem Cell Biology

Yes No n/a 3 0 159 160 4.37 3.69
Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health  Yes No n/a 3 0 160 160 4.61 3.74
Immunology Yes Yes 5.7 36 31 160 162 4.78 3.68
Molecular Cancer Biology Yes Yes 5.7 30 23 160 162 4.50 3.80
Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Yes Yes 5.7 76 22 160 161 4.50 3.60
Medical Physics Yes Yes 4.7 21 33 156 163 4.10 3.80
Medical Scientist
Training Program
Yes No n/a 13 15 N/A N/A N/A 3.83
Neurobiology Yes Yes 6.1 62 23 161 163 4.36 3.67


Yes Yes 5.7 19 37 158 163 3.96 3.48
Pharmacology & Cancer Biology Yes Yes 5.7 53 28 159 161 4.02 3.57
University Program in
Genetics & Genomics
Yes Yes 6.0 58 14 162 160 4.44 3.61
Total or Average  n=16 n=12 5.66 n=545 31% 160 162 4.30 3.67

*Cell & Molecular Biology and Cell Biology statistics for GRE and GPA are combined and listed under Cell & Molecular Biology. 
Statistics reflect all current students who matriculated through the listed program as of Fall 2017. Data based on statistics published by The Graduate School.