Admissions Guide: PhD in Biomedical Sciences

Panel of faculty members

Applications for 2022 are closed.

We welcome applicants from all scientific backgrounds (including early career clinicians) who wish to pursue a translational research career.

Keep scrolling for a guide to the materials you need to complete your application.

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Applications for 2022 are closed.

Admissions Timeline (Entering Class)

Dates Admission Process

Summer

Application period opens

December 1, 11:59 p.m. PST

Applications must be submitted with all supporting materials

Second week of January 

Candidates visit St. Jude campus for interviews and tours

February 

Issuance of decision letters begins

April 15

Acceptance of admission offer due

July 19

Orientation

August 2

First day of class

Eligibility

Our program is designed to launch you quickly from your studies into independent research. We do require a background in science.

Required Scientific Preparation

  • Previous exposure to laboratory research

Undergraduate degree (BA, BS or equivalent) in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Similar science discipline

If you already hold (or are pursuing) a related advanced degree (e.g., MD, DO, PharmD, DVM or DDS), we encourage you to apply.

Additional Minimum Criteria

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
  • English language proficiency

No GRE or MCAT

  • No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores or percentiles are required.

How to Apply

Our required online application guides you through each step. You may save your application at any time and complete it later, as long as it is submitted before the December 1 deadline.

Your Application

In the online application, you will be asked to provide demographic information and the following materials (please check application for accepted file formats):

  • A curriculum vitae describing your academic background, including all degrees, research experience, awards, publications, presentations and other achievements.
  • A brief essay of your prior research experience.
  • A one-page summary in lay language describing your most important contribution to research. Please focus on your best research experience, including how it contributed to the overall project and demonstrates your suitability for graduate studies. Do not send published work.
  • A two-page personal statement that outlines your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in biomedical sciences, your career goals and how you determined that the St. Jude Graduate School is the best program through which to attain those goals.
  • A transcript of your academic record from each institution you attended. You may submit an unofficial copy in the online application.

Required References

In the online application, you will be asked to provide email addresses of up to five (and no less than three) individuals who will be providing letters of reference. The system will automatically contact them. Referees should be prepared to describe your academic successes, background in research, potential for achievement at the graduate level and capacity for creative, self-directed study.

An Environment of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Our vision for “collaborative and translational research” that leads to scientific discovery depends on an environment of diversity and equal opportunity. Diversity presents itself in many different forms, including race or ethnicity, religion, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality or place of origin, disability, socioeconomic status and unique work or life experience. The Graduate School is committed to cultivating an inclusive environment that values diverse backgrounds, approaches and perspectives—all essential ingredients for true academic excellence. We have a strong history to build on and the commitment to create a stronger future.

Our History

When St. Jude opened in 1962, Danny Thomas vowed the hospital would treat patients regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. The hospital also committed itself to hiring African Americans not just as service employees, but as researchers, doctors and nurses.

Our Commitment

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences encourages diversity on campus and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, genetic information, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran’s status, disabled veteran’s status or any other status protected by federal or Tennessee law. The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is committed to creating an inclusive learning environment that provides cultural and ethnic diversity. Underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply to the program.

More detailed admissions and eligibility information is available in our general catalog.

Health Screening and Vaccines

Newly admitted students whose program requires an on-campus presence or are considered full-time must fulfill health screening requirements. Students who will be physically present on the St. Jude campus or are considered full-time must have immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, varicella. Those physically present on the St. Jude campus must participate in St. Jude’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Program (full vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 by September 9, 2021 is a condition of enrollment, unless a medical or religious accommodation request is approved). If proof of immunity cannot be established at time of enrollment, blood titers will be performed to test immunity, excluding SARS-CoV-2. Students who will work with influenza viruses must receive the annual influenza vaccine unless a medical or religious accommodation is approved. All other students physically present on the St. Jude campus must receive the annual influenza vaccine or sign a declination form.

Students may also be required to comply with St. Jude health and safety protocols designed in accordance with local and federal requirements or guidelines. These protocols may include daily SARS-CoV-2 symptom screening, masking and/or physical distancing.


The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In order to view detailed job placement and graduation information on the programs offered by the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, please visit http://www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/student-aid-and-compliance/postsecondary-state-authorization/authorized-institutions-and-data.html.