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Biomedical Sciences: Biochemistry and Systems Biology

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Biochemistry is the study of living systems on the molecular level. These fields have led to our greater understanding of both normal and abnormal physiological processes, enabling us to explain many diseases and the molecular mechanisms underlying many human diseases.

The Biomedical Sciences: Biochemistry and Systems Biology program prepares students for research careers in this dynamic field. Multidisciplinary in nature, the programs consist of faculty not only from GW, but from other renowned academic institutions such as Children’s National Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.

Doctoral Degree

The Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Systems Biology is designed to develop research scientists in areas where the principles and methods of cell and systems biology, biochemistry, and genetics are applied to the study of human diseases. Investigators in the program use the latest technologies in genomics, proteomics, high resolution imaging, bioinformatics, and pre-clinical (murine) trials. The training program includes research opportunities in autism spectrum disorders, muscular dystrophies, biomarkers, asthma, airway diseases, brain tumors, microRNA processing, dysregulation of mitochondrial functions and protein trafficking.

Ph.D. programs in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences require 72 credit hours, of which 12 to 24 hours are fulfilled by dissertation research. During the first year, students take core courses required of Institute for Biomedical Sciences students and rotate through three laboratories to gain exposure to experimental research. Upon completion of core courses and laboratory rotations, each student selects a degree program and a research mentor. A research advisory committee then guides the student through completion of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – December 1

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test (institutional code 5246). 

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the PhD program are:
Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or 
TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
PTE Academic: 68;

Recommendations required:

Two (2) recommendations

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Prerequisite requirements:

A bachelor's degree in biological sciences, chemistry, or a related field.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

Interview: An interview is required.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday