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PhD Program Year

Approximately 40 students enter the MUSC PhD program each Fall. One goal of the first year curriculum is to foster an understanding of the interrelatedness of molecular, biochemical, and cellular mechanisms, both from a historic and contemporary perspective. To be well prepared, it is important that students are familiar with the major concepts within each of these subjects prior to entering the program. If you have any concerns the course director (Dr. Adam Smolka ) is always available for counsel.

The College of Graduate Studies offers a single entry pathway for new PhD students. The first year curriculum provides a broad interdisciplinary background devoted predominately to the principles of the basic sciences. It also provides information on some of the latest and cutting edge areas of science. The Curriculum is composed of several elements:

At the end of the first year curriculum (May) the student chooses a PhD program and faculty mentor for their dissertation research. This choice is critical as the mentor trains the student to understand the nuances of science-how to think about science, how to write scientific papers and funding applications, and how to network with other professionals in the field. We are proud of the fact that there are many outstanding and well-funded scientists at MUSC available to support students as a mentor.

With a solid background in the foundations of biological sciences, the possibilities are endless. We hope to see you in the next class.

PhD Program Year 2

The second year of didactic courses is decided upon by the various departments and programs. The College of Graduate Studies requires a minimum of 12 didactic hours beyond the first year for the PhD degree. The student shall follow an individual program of study designed in consultation with the Advisory Committee and approved by the Graduate Training Committee of the department or program. For many programs the qualifying exams are administered after the second year of study. Upon successful completion of the qualifying exams a student is admitted to PhD candidacy.

PhD Program Year 3 and Beyond

The third and subsequent years of study are generally devoted to dissertation research.

For More Information

If you have any questions concerning the admissions process or the curriculum please feel free to either call 1-800-589-2003 or email