The University of South Alabama College of Medicine awards the Ph.D. degree in Basic Medical Sciences. In the first year all students are enrolled in an interdisciplinary core curriculum, which includes formal coursework, seminar series and journal clubs, "Meet the Discipline" forums, research rotations, and informal meetings with faculty. By the end of the first year, students should have come to a decision on a Program and an agreement with a Ph.D. mentor.

Research training and advanced study are offered in seven formal advanced programs:

Advanced Programs
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Cancer Biology
Cell Biology and Neuroscience
Lung Biology
Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

The program provides training for students interested in academic careers in universities or medical institutions, or to a wide variety of research or administrative positions in government, non-profit or industry settings.


We are recruiting students trained in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics or related disciplines to fill predoctoral positions beginning each August. The basic requirements for entrance into the Graduate Program are:

  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A grade-point average of B or better (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
  3. Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (Minimum 1000 composite in Verbal + Quantitative)
  4. Courses in biology, physics, organic chemistry, and mathematics through calculus. Other courses which are recommended include statistics, physical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell physiology, etc.

Financial Aid

All students in the Ph.D. program receive a competitive stipend for full-time study. This support allows students to devote their full-time efforts toward their goals. This includes Alabama residents, out-of state U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and foreign nationals. The current stipend is $23,000 per year. In addition, all students receive a full tuition waiver and single coverage health insurance.

Application Information

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Ph.D. program in the Basic Medical Sciences started in 1978 and a total of 130 Ph.D's have been awarded since the program's inception. These predoctoral students were selected from a large national and international pool of applicants.

The advanced program in physiology represents an integrated approach to graduate training that focuses upon cardiovascular and pulmonary research. Research in the Department of Physiology is well funded from a number of extramural sources. Our faculty published approximately 100 papers and abstracts per year and have authored or edited a number of textbooks and monographs over the last 5 years. Our faculty have international reputation for leadership and excellence in this field, and are routinely invited to speak at many national and international symposia last year, many of which they organized and chaired. In addition, several faculty serve as officers and committee members of national and international societies, as well as on review committees for funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

The Curriculum

The advanced program in Pharmacology provides the student with a didactic training not only in Pharmacology but also in related areas. Our intent is to equip the student with an integrated understanding of physiology from the whole organ to the cellular and molecular level, in order to prepare students for research positions in academic and industry in the 21st century.

All students are required to satisfactorily complete the interdisciplinary core curriculum in the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program during the first year. Research and the focus on Phyarmacology begins in the second year. Students are expected to attend seminars and journal clubs. The advanced course work and dissertation research is usually completed within five years. Our graduates have obtained outstanding postdoctoral positions and subsequent employment in universities and laboratories throughout the United States.

Year 1

Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum

Years 2 - 3

Required Advanced Coursework

  • Molecular and Cellular Toxicology PHA 643, 3cr
  • Literature Reports PHA 546, 6cr
  • Effective Scientific Writing IDL 641, 1cr

Electives (minimum 1 course)

  • Biophysical Chemistry BCH 551, 3cr
  • Special Topics IDL 590, 1-3 cr
  • Other COM courses, as approved


  • Directed Research PHA 547, 3cr
  • Dissertation Research PHA 799, 3cr

Qualifying Exam

  • Should be completed by the end of the third year in the Graduate Program

Years 4-5

Dissertation Research
  • Research / Dissertation PHS 799
  • Pertinent Journal Club

Non-didactic Requirements

  • Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series

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