Perelman School of Medicine

Biomedical Graduate Studies

Biomedical Graduate Studies was established in 1985 and serves as the academic home within the University of Pennsylvania for nearly 800 students pursuing a PhD in the basic biomedical sciences, including approximately 150 students pursuing a coordinated dual MD/PhD or VMD/PhD degree program. BGS provides training and administration through seven graduate groups, some of which have distinct sub-specialty areas. The Perelman School of Medicine is the home school for BGS, and approximately 500 PSOM faculty members participate in BGS as course directors, research mentors, program leaders, and in other educational roles.  Another 150 BGS faculty members have primary academic appointments in the other associated health schools (Veterinary, Dental, or Nursing) or in Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Applied Science, or Wharton.  BGS faculty members also include researchers based in associated institutes, including the Wistar Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Consequently, BGS students have the opportunity to learn about virtually any area of modern biomedical research.

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The mission of Biomedical Graduate Studies is to provide each student with a broad-based foundation in a core academic discipline; flexible, interdisciplinary options for scientific and career development; and rigorous research training. Each graduate group has its own academic mission, leadership, and staff, but there is often significant overlap among the groups in respect to faculty membership, courses offered, policies, and procedures.  BGS students are admitted with a full-funded fellowship for the duration of their training and may participate in a variety of optional certificate programs and student-run affinity groups for the exploration of academic and professional development interests.  To date, roughly 2500 students have obtained a PhD in BGS. Virtually all BGS graduates are employed in fields that make use of their PhD training.  The majority of BGS alumni engage in a postdoctoral research period, after which 39% conduct research in academia, 22% conduct research in industry, 8% are engaged primarily in post-secondary teaching, 8% are in communications, and the remainder are based in a variety of related fields, including consulting, policy, patent law, and grants management.