Photo credit: Rick Gaber


Prospective students in Life and Biomedical Sciences apply to either IBiS (Evanston campus) or
DGP (Chicago campus).

These programs operate collaboratively and have equivalent requirements in order to facilitate students taking full advantage of the impressive array of resources available at Northwestern. IBiS and DGP offer complementary but distinct research environments, and prospective students are encouraged to explore both web sites and apply to the program that best suits their research interests. In choosing a program for admission, applicants should focus on identifying a concentration of faculty in either program that most closely matches their research interests.

Regardless of the site of entry, the PhD program in Life and Biomedical Sciences enables and encourages students to take advantage of training faculty, coursework, and resources from across all of Northwestern. Students participate in cross-campus activities throughout all stages of their academic careers, and have the opportunity to work with and learn from faculty across the whole of the University.



During the first year, students are given the opportunity to work 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.


Students typically take six graded courses in the first year.  Follow these links for specific course requirements in IBiS or DGP

Beyond the six first-year courses, students are required to take at least two other graded courses during their second or third year.


Once students join a thesis lab, they are required to 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.

Qualifying Exam

At the end of the second year, students will take a qualifying exam. They are then ready to proceed to complete their thesis work.