Feb 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Translational Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D.

Return to: 11000 Institute for Biomedical Sciences  

Program Goals and Objectives

Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for translating advances in basic biomedical sciences from the laboratory into new clinical therapies for human diseases. To meet this challenge, the Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBMS) Ph.D. program will educate a new cadre of biomedical scientists that will be ideally trained to enter the state, national, and international workforce. The TBMS Ph.D. program creates a unique educational experience that promotes synergistic and multidisciplinary educational training opportunities. These opportunities address unmet needs in advancing fundamental and innovative biomedical research that is translated into improvements in human health. Due to their multidisciplinary education and training in translational biomedical sciences graduates of the TBMS Ph.D. program are poised to become societal leaders that contribute to the cutting-edge knowledge base and fuel a growing and rapidly evolving economy in Georgia and the nation.

Thus, the goals listed below are the main focus of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Translational Biomedical Sciences Program:

  • Pursue excellence in fundamental and innovative education in the basic biomedical sciences in order to promote the future competitiveness of Georgia and the United States in this area.
  • Provide an environment for preparing students to participate in a broad-based and evolving economy in biomedical research and health professions.
  • Increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds who excel in biomedical sciences and become leaders in a wide variety of biomedical careers in industry, research, education, and medicine.

The faculty and staff of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences are committed to providing a supportive academic environment that promotes the growth and progress of students engaged in graduate studies.

Program Academic Regulations

The maximum time limit for completing the Ph.D. in Translational Biomedical Sciences program is eight years from the first semester of admission.

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for graduate courses taken while a student at Georgia State University. All required core coursework must be completed with a grade of B- or better, and any student earning a grade of C+ or below must repeat the course. No final course grade below B- will be accepted towards the degree.

Students should refer to additional program requirements outlined in section 11030 Graduate Enrollment , especially subsections 11030.15 Continuous Enrollment Requirement and Requests to Reenter , 11030.25 Course Load , 11030.40 Grade Point Average and Course Grade Requirements , 11030.50 Scholastic Warning, Exclusion and Suspension   and 11030.55 Application for Graduation .

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Translational Biomedical Sciences requires the completion of the following:

  • At least 110 credit hours of required graduate coursework and research hours
  • Proficiency in translational biomedical science experimentation and project management
  • Translational biomedical science research
  • A qualifying examination
  • A dissertation
  • A final oral presentation, directed primarily to the defense of the dissertation


The Ph.D. core curriculum will provide students with a fundamental knowledge of cutting-edge biomedical science combined with how to practically apply this knowledge to research as well as how to apply this knowledge to the business world.

Required Elective Courses (12 Credit Hours)

The selection of elective courses will vary based on the student’s academic and career goals and must be made in consultation with and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies via an approved program form.edit only if the section subtopic is not also repeated.

Recommended electives:

Required Research (70 Credit Hours)


Faculty directly involved with the TBMS Ph.D. program include:

Christopher Basler, Benoit Chassaing, Cynthia Cornelissen, Timothy Denning, Lanying Du, Pallavi Garg, Andrew Gewirtz, Leszek Ignatowicz, Sang-Moo Kang, Chunying Li, Jian-Dong Li, Didier Merlin, Richard Plemper, Hongyu Qiu, Ping Song, Tshidi Tsibane, Baozhong Wang, Zhonglin Xie, and Ming-Hui Zou

Faculty Advisor

Upon entering the Ph.D. program, each student will be matched with a faculty advisor from the Institute. The faculty advisor will serve as the primary student advisor and will mentor the student throughout the program by assisting with research focus, serving as the student’s dissertation advisory committee chair, signing off on official documents, etc.


Annual Review of Doctoral Students

Ph.D. students will be given feedback from their primary faculty advisor on an annual basis. Student progress will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Knowledge of core concepts in translational biomedical science experimentation and project management.
  • Ability to communicate innovations in translational biomedical science as well as business applications to a specialist and general audience.
  • Advanced knowledge in the area of specialization within translational biomedical sciences.

If progress is unsatisfactory, the student will plan a course of action with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Programs to improve his/her progress. If the student demonstrates unsatisfactory progress on the plan, or during more than one annual review, he or she may be scholastically excluded from the doctoral program.

It is the student’s responsibility to schedule and hold one committee meeting before the end of the Fall semester each year. For each meeting, an Annual Committee Meeting Report should be completed and emailed to biomedgrad@gsu.edu with appropriate signatures by the last day of the Fall semester.

Individual Development Plan

Ph.D. students will be required to meet with their faculty advisor annually to check in with students regarding their progress in the program, future career plans, the steps they have made towards accomplishing goals prior to graduation and more. In this meeting, students will self-evaluate themselves in various areas related to professional development and complete an Individual Development Plan to strengthen these areas.

Doctoral Qualifying Examination

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in TBMS must take their first Qualifying Examination at the end of their second year and must pass this examination no later than the end of their third year. This qualifying examination will include a written component, a proposal, and an oral component, a presentation describing the proposal. The qualifying exam committee will assess the mastery of knowledge in an area of specialization at the interface of translational biomedical sciences and business.

Specific qualifying exam guidelines can be obtained from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences Office of Academic Assistance. Guidelines are subject to change.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for a doctoral student is requested immediately after the successful completion of the comprehensive examination. The following is a complete list of requirements for admission to candidacy:

  1. All prerequisites set as a condition to admission to candidacy have been satisfactorily completed.
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 has been maintained for all graduate coursework completed as a part of the program of study.
  3. The residency requirement has been met.
  4. Written and oral comprehensive qualifying examinations have been passed and reported to the OAA.
  5. The doctoral advisory committee, including any necessary changes in the membership, is confirmed and all its members have been notified of and agree to accept their appointment.
  6. The dissertation proposal has been approved by the student’s doctoral advisory committee.

Students must be recommended for admission to candidacy within four calendar years of their admission to the doctoral program unless an extension has been granted by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Should a student not be permitted to proceed to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree or choose to leave the Ph.D. program prior to defending the final doctoral dissertation, a terminal M.I.S. degree may be granted if requirements for the degree are met.


Students pursuing a Ph.D. must complete a dissertation on a subject connected with their major field of study/concentration. The dissertation must present original research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. Its conclusions must be logical, its literary form must be acceptable, and its contribution to the field of biomedical sciences should merit publication.

Student dissertation progress will be reviewed periodically by the student’s doctoral advisory committee (DAC), beginning in the student’s third year of doctoral study. The student, with their primary faculty advisor, will select a committe including two additional faculty members to serve on the DAC. One faculty member may be from outside of IBMS, but at least one member of the DAC must be an IBMS graduate faculty member. During the first committee meeting, the student will orally present a proposed plan of research study. The DAC must approve this proposed plan before the student receives approval to begin research on the topic. This plan can be atlered as the research progresses during the dissertation phase of the student’s training. All subsequent, annual DAC meetings will be a research-in-progress presentation by the student, followed by questions and suggestions by the DAC. If a student is not making expected progress on the dissertation project, this will be noted on the DAC meeting notes as not meeting expectations.

At the dissertation defense, the DAC will complete written evaluations of each student’s written and oral communication skills at the doctoral dissertation defense. Overall performance will be evaluated based on an assessment of whether each student exceeds, meets or does not meet expectations.

Specific doctoral dissertation guidelines can be obtained from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences Office of Academic Assistance. Guidelines are subject to change.