PhD Programs

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has made significant contributions to the history of global medical research. From the development of the first polio vaccine by Jonas Salk more than 50 years ago, to the groundbreaking biomedical investigations being led today, our program is dedicated to fostering those who hunger for discovery. Students can explore a personalized training path with opportunities that range from fundamental mechanistic biology to clinical translation. 

Biomedical Informatics

The Biomedical Informatics program provides training in knowledge based systems and medical artificial intelligence in the context of health care delivery.  Students conduct research on: simulation and modeling of complex phenomena; information retrieval, problem solving and cognition; system evaluation, social/organizational factors, and health services research; machine learning, data mining and knowledge discovery; enterprise computing: integrated architectures and clinical and biomedical application of the Internet; organization and representation of multimedia biomedical information.

Clinical and Translational Science

We live in an exciting era of scientific revolution. The nation has devoted extensive resources to basic biomedical research, and this has led to many fundamental discoveries. Now is the time to cross the barriers between basic science and clinical research to translate new knowledge into enhanced clinical care of the patient and back again to the bench. Clinical and translational science is the emerging field that aims at closing the gap between basic science and clinical research. This rigorous and advanced training program is intended primarily for clinicians.

Computational Biology

The joint PhD program in Computational Biology represents an exciting collaborative program offered by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The program's goal is to provide intensive interdisciplinary education to enable outstanding students to become leaders in identifying and solving tomorrow's biological problems using computational and/or mathematical methods and fundamental principles of life and physical sciences.

Integrative Systems Biology

The Integrative Systems Biology (ISB) graduate program provides an exciting, innovative and vigorous academic environment for training highly motivated biomedical students and prepare them for a systems biology research career in academic institutions and industry.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (four program options)

The Interdisciplinary Program offers training in Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology. This program has a strong track record of training success that begins with an emphasis on laboratory rotations and rigorous introduction to modern cell and molecular biology, followed by students choosing an area of specialization. After the first year of interdisciplinary training and selection of a dissertation mentor, students transfer into a PhD granting program in one of the following areas:

  • Cell Biology & Molecular Physiology 
  • Cellular & Molecular Pathology
  • Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Pharmacology
Microbiology and Immunology

The Program in Microbiology and Immunology (PMI) brings together faculty in basic and translational sciences, including researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Magee-Women’s Research Institute, Rangos Research Center at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center. The program aims to train highly motivated PhD students as self-reliant scholars in an environment with ready access to the breadth of expertise, approaches, and sub-disciplines that constitute the diverse fields encompassing microbiology and immunology.  

Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology

The Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology program is an exciting joint program (offered by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) operates at the fertile interfaces between Biology, Chemistry, Physics and other traditional disciplines. Molecular Biophysics aims to unravel and explain biological phenomena and processes in atomic and molecular detail. Research conducted by faculty of the MBSB program addresses diverse problems of molecular structure and function at the highest levels of resolution that one can observe.


This campus-wide program is overseen through the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP). It is designed to develop competence in conducting laboratory research, general knowledge of neuroscience and specific expertise in one or more areas of neuroscience, and general professional competence in oral and written expression necessary for a career in science.

Financial Support

Graduate students enrolled in PhD programs receive a stipend ($33,360), full tuition remission, and individual health insurance (with an option to purchase additional family coverage). The combination of our competitive stipend and Pittsburgh's affordable cost of living allows students to live comfortably. In addition, a $2,000 educational enrichment account is provided to each first-year PhD student for the purchase of books, computers, and other education-related expenses.