Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Biomedical and Biological Sciences

Program Description

The Cornell University Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary program consisting of outstanding graduate students conducting state-of-the-art basic, clinical and translational life sciences research alongside their world-renowned faculty mentors and other research professionals. Housed in the heart of biomedical research at the Cornell-Ithaca campus in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the BBS program takes advantage of outstanding research facilities, the vibrant Cornell undergraduate campus and strong links to the Weill Cornell Medical College campus in New York City. The BBS Program fosters a nurturing, student-centered community of scholars that is accessible, engaging and committed to ensuring that our graduate students reach their full potential in research, teaching and professional development. Students in the BBS field will select Special Committee chairs associated with one of five concentrations: Immunology and Infectious Disease, Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Population Medicine and Epidemiology, Translational Medicine, and Zoology and Wildlife Conservation.

Population Medicine and Epidemiology represents the study of health and disease in a population and the underlying factors that lead to these conditions.  The goal of this research is to prevent the spread and/or future incidents of illness.  As such, it is considered the cornerstone of public health, production medicine, and preventive medicine.

Immunology and Infectious Disease: The concentration of Immunology and Infectious Disease has a substantial cadre of faculty members and students working in the areas of infection and immunity, cellular immunology, immune regulation, immunogenetics, and immunopathology. There are also members currently carrying out studies in the areas of immunotoxicology, membrane biochemistry, developmental immunology, immunoparasitology, and related fields.

Molecular and Cellular Medicine faculty and trainees are engaged in investigations of fundamental cellular processes and the mechanisms that control them in health and disease.  Research projects range from molecular interactions, protein folding, and membrane biophysics to development and function of organ systems and whole animals. Fundamental research, using cutting-edge technologies, enables researchers at Cornell to make significant advances in broad scientific disciplines such as cell and developmental biology, genetics and genomics, neurobiology, pharmacology, and physiology. 

Translational Medicine:  Translational medicine seeks to leverage basic science discovery for the development of new therapies that will improve the health of animals and humans.   Basic scientists and clinicians partner in drug and biomarker discovery, stem cell and regenerative medicine, and development of imaging technology to tackle problems in reproductive biology, infectious disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other clinically relevant areas. 

Zoology and Wildlife Conservation integrates two broad fields of biology: animal biology and conservation biology. Opportunities exist for study and research in comparative and functional anatomy, developmental biology, and comparative and experimental embryology. The survival of threatened and endangered species requires innovative and integrative ideas and approaches to wildlife conservation, and our faculty are those innovators – conservation studies focus on individual animals, species, and ecosystems.

Contact Information

Phone: 607-253-3276

S3-009 Schurman Hall


Concentrations by Subject

  • immunology and infectious disease
  • molecular and cellular medicine
  • population medicine and epidemiology
  • translational medicine
  • zoology and wildlife conservation


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall: December 1

Requirements Summary:

all Graduate School Requirements

Statement of purpose
This essay is an important part of your application, and is your opportunity to tell the committee more about yourself.  Please be sure to include a discussion of your past research experience. You can talk about one project or several, but focus on your role in each project.  Please also describe your potential future research interests (if you have settled on any), and why you chose the BBS program for your PhD degree.  
If there is anything else you think the committee should be aware of, please feel free to include that as well. If you would like to include the additional information separate from your statement of purpose you may upload a short (2-3 paragraph) additional writing sample.
Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended must be uploaded to online application

English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants. Minimum scores and exceptions can be found here.

Letters of Recommendation 2 letters minimum, 4 letters maximum, Alert your recommenders of the December 1st deadline

Resume - uploading a resume to your online application is optional

Note: GRE test scores are no longer required for application to this program

Learning Outcomes

A candidate for a PhD degree in the BBS Graduate Program is expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the field, and to contribute significant, original research to our understanding of biology within their sub-discipline. In so doing, the candidate will have demonstrated the following upon completion of the program:

  • Made an original and substantial contribution to the field.
  • Demonstrated in-depth knowledge of one area of expertise.
  • Demonstrated a broad knowledge of theory and research across several sub-disciplines in the field.
  • Learned and followed ethical guidelines for working in the field.
  • Written and spoken effectively to professional audiences about issues in the field.