Medical Sciences PhD

Why a PhD in Medical Sciences?

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

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 the applicant’s research and curriculum interests and explains how admission to the program will facilitate his/her professional objectives
  • Current resume and three letters of recommendation.
  • If English is not the 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.

Admissions 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.
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)

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 2022-2023 UD graduate student tuition rate per credit hour is $979.

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 funding agencies such as the American Heart Association. The sponsoring faculty member will work with the student to develop the proposal.