Medical Sciences PhD

What is the PhD in Medical Sciences?

Our Ph.D. program in Medical Sciences provides advanced training with the goal of preparing you for a research-based career.

What Will I Learn in the PhD Program?

Areas of in-depth study are driven by faculty research and encompass clinically related fields such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, immunology and infectious disease, oncology, and other chronic health conditions.

Read abstracts of recent graduate student research projects, including doctoral theses.

Program Prerequisites

  • BS, MS, or equivalent degree from an accredited college of university
  • GRE scores of at least 148 on quantitative reasoning and at least 150 on verbal reasoning
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Written statement of goals and objectives that identifies your research and curriculum interests and explains how admission to the program will facilitate your professional objectives, including identifying one or more mentors affiliated with the department
  • Current resume and three letters of recommendation
  • If English is not your first language, the University requires a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 570, or at least 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or 6.5 on the IELTS

Admission is selective and competitive, based on the number of available positions in the department laboratories and available faculty and facilities.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences requires a minimum of 43 credits including 9 credits of dissertation. The program is designed to be completed in 4 to 5 years. Program educational goals and courses can be viewed in the Course Catalog.

Required Courses (37 credits):

  •  MMSC800 Preparing Research Proposals (2 cr)
  • MMSC650 Medical Biochemistry (4 cr)
  • MMSC691 Human Medical Genetics (3 cr)
  • MMSC868 Research (12 cr)
  • MMSC603 Research Design (3 cr)
  • MMSC803/804 Seminar (4 cr) (taken 8 semesters: 4 semesters for 1 credit [803] and 4 semesters for 0 credit [804])
  • MMSC969 Dissertation (9 cr)

Science Core Elective Courses (6 credits)

Electives can be graduate-level courses offered throughout the University. 

A preliminary exam is taken at end of year 1 that tests the student’s general knowledge base in Medical Sciences and their ability to critically evaluate scientific literature. The preliminary examination includes a written component followed by an oral component on a separate day.

A candidacy exam is taken at the end of year 2. The student will prepare a written and oral proposal for dissertation research that meets the requirements for an external grant proposal. The oral proposal meeting will include both a defense of the student's proposed research and an in-depth examination of the student's knowledge of their research specialization.

When the dissertation research is complete, all Medical Sciences faculty and students will be invited to attend the oral dissertation defense meetings. Following the oral presentation and questions from faculty in attendance, the Dissertation Committee will meet separately and vote on the outcome. The outcome will be presented to the student, along with any conditions or requirements for proposal or dissertation revisions. 

The 2023-2024 UD graduate student tuition rate per credit hour is $1,028.

Research Assistant awards will be made for students that best fit the needs of the sponsoring faculty member. Teaching Assistant awards will be made for students prepared to teach and otherwise assist with undergraduate instruction.

Students can also apply for internal funding, such as the competitive awards offered through the UD Research and Graduate Studies Office. Students can also apply for pre-doctoral support from external funding agencies. The sponsoring faculty member will work with the student to develop the proposal.

Applications Deadlines: 

Fall: June 1 (International), August 1 (Domestic)

Spring: January 1

Virtual Open House Sessions:

There are no scheduled open houses at this time. View a recording of the last one here.