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Northwestern University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Dec 
International :01 Dec 

PhD Life Sciences

 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

4052 USD
4052 USD

Application fee

International 95 USD
National 95 USD
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)90
TOEFL-PBT (min)577
GRE (avg)313

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About this course

The DGP has approximately 175 pre-doctoral students representing widely distributed areas of the United States and other countries. DGP students share courses and labs with members of other life science programs at Northwestern. Several students enrolled in the combined MD/PhD degree program receive their graduate training in the DGP. The Chicago campus is also home to more than 200 postdoctoral fellows.

DGP students typically take six courses in the first three quarters of Year One, and eight courses total in Years One and Two. All students take the three core classes (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology), as well as Statistics.  Beyond these four required courses, students take at least four other courses. Students may take more than eight courses if desired.

During the first year, students also rotate in three different laboratories, under the supervision of leading scientists, allowing them to explore the diverse interdisciplinary research opportunities available and hone their research interests. By the end of the first three quarters, students are expected to choose a thesis lab. Simultaneously, they will choose and begin to participate in the activities of one of the Research Clusters that will provide advanced, more focused, training activities over the reminder of their PhD studies.

In the spring quarter of the second year, students will take a qualifying exam. Upon passing the qualifying exam, students are ready to proceed to complete their thesis work.  The thesis proposal is completed in fall quarter of year three.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

GRE: General Record Examination (GRE) scores for the general test ARE required for consideration to the DGP, though no subject test is necessary. MCAT scores cannot be substituted. Please have your official GRE scores sent by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) directly to The Northwestern University Graduate School (Institution code 1565, no department code needed). You should also self-report your scores as part of the online application
TOEFL: For international students, valid TOEFL scores are required by the NU Graduate School. The DGP cannot waive this requirement. The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. For the TOEFL, you must score 90 or higher on the internet based test. The Graduate School's school code for TOEFL is 1565. When prompted, IBT test takers should request that their scores be sent to the graduate office. ALL scores sent to school code 1565 are made available to all programs, regardless of the "departments" selected on the ETS form.
IELTS: The IELTS may be used in place of the TOEFL. For the IELTS, you must receive a score of 7.0 or higher.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

DGP Course Offerings Listed by Quarter
The following table lists core and elective courses from DGP, but there are additional courses available through NU. Furthermore, NU is a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). Among the institutions in the CIC are the schools of the Big Ten and the University of Chicago. A graduate student enrolled in any of these schools may take a course for credit at any of the other participating universities.

Courses Offered

  • Fall Quarter
  • Biochemistry,  Statistics, Advanced Immunology, Topics in Drug Discovery, Topics in Developmental Biology, Eukaryotic Molecular Biology, Colloquium on Integrity in Biomedical Research
  • Winter Quarter
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics, Advanced Microbial Pathogenesis, Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Basis of Drug Action, Molecular Basis of Carcinogenesis, Signal Transduction and Molecular Pharmacology, Structural Basis of Signal Transduction
  • Spring Quarter
  • Cell Biology, Tumor Cell Biology, Receptors and Signaling Mechanisms, Microbiology, Virology, Macromolecular Structure/Function, Science and Society
  • Summer Quarter
  • Introduction to Translational Research, Introduction to Life Science Research (Proposal Writing)

Course Name Course No. Note

Electives and Course List

  • Biochemistry 401 Required Core
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics 410 Required Core
  • Cell Biology 405 Required Core
  • Statistics 484 Required
  • Colloquium On Integrity In Biomedical Research 494 Required For Second Year Students
  • Immunology 440 Elective
  • Microbiology 442 Elective
  • Virology 475 Elective
  • Advanced Immunology 403 Elective
  • Advanced Microbial Pathogenesis 433 Elective
  • Data Science for Biomedical Researchers (Informatics) 485 Elective
  • Topics in Drug Discovery 425 Elective
  • Signal Transduction and Molecular Pharmacology 426 Elective
  • Eukaryotic Molecular Biology 462 Elective
  • Intro to Translational Research 422 Elective
  • Molecular Basis of Drug Action 420 Elective
  • Receptors and Signaling Mechanisms 435 Elective
  • Advanced Developmental Biology 456 Elective
  • Genetics 430 Elective
  • Macromolecular Structure and Function 465 Elective
  • Structural Basis of Signal Transduction 466 Elective
  • Tumor Cell Biology 450 Elective
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis 480 Elective
  • Science and Society 495 Elective

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Letters of Recommendation
Please arrange for the submission of letters from three or more advisors/professors who are familiar with your work and achievements and can assess your potential to succeed in a PhD program. At least one (and preferably more) of your letters of recommendation should be from an advisor who can comment on your performance in a research setting. Our admissions committee places great emphasis on quality research experiences, strong letters of support from research and/or academic advisors indicate an appreciation of the research enterprise and a dedication to graduate training.

Letters should be submitted online by your recommenders.  Please follow the instructions on the Apply Yourself website.

Official Transcripts
The Graduate School requires all applicants to upload a copy of their official transcripts.  Instructions for uploading transcripts to the TGS application site are here or in ApplyYourself.  Please do not have transcripts sent by mail.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae
Upload this information to the ApplyYourself website.

Check further details on University website

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