Biomedical Sciences: Genomics and Bioinformatics

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

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

Program Overview

Program Overview

The PhD in Genomics and Bioinformatics program 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.

The program begins with interdisciplinary coursework in genes, cells and systems in biomedical sciences, professional development in scientific communication and science careers, and laboratory rotations offered through GW’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences. After the first year of study, students work with their research advisor to complete remaining degree requirements, including the dissertation.

Faculty are drawn largely from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, including scientists from Children’s Research Institute of Children’s National Health System.

Students have access to extensive research facilities and libraries on campus and in the greater Washington, D.C., area, which include the School of Medical and Health Sciences, GW’s Gelman Library and Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, Children’s Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health and numerous other research institutions.

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Programs at GW

Five doctoral programs are organized within the Institute for Biomedical Sciences: Cancer Biology, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology and Physiology.  Students are admitted into these programs through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.


All five Ph.D. programs in organized within the Institute for Biomedical Sciences are designated as STEM programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – December 1

Standardized test scores:

GRE general exam is not required.

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:

Three (3) 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.

Additional Requirement:

Additional Essay (Please answer all three questions):

(1) Research experiences shape an interest in the biomedical PhD and a career in science. Please describe your current or previous research experiences, including any role in designing, performing or reporting a study. What did you learn about yourself in completing this experience? (250-500 words)

(2) Please identify three GW IBS faculty trainers and describe your interest in their research programs. (up to 250 words)

(3) Doctoral study involves both self-motivation and resilience. Give an example of a time you faced a serious obstacle or failure, and how you handled it. (up to 250 words)

Interview: An interview is required.

International applicants only:

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


The Biomedical Science PhD programs are only able to consider international applicants who have been awarded fellowships to support their graduate education on a case by case basis. We invite you to contact the Institute for Biomedical Sciences with any questions ([email protected])

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 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday