A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Graduate Programs

The Basic Sciences in the School of Medicine offer graduate studies with emphasis in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Physiology.

General Description

PhD students admitted to the Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Program will enroll in a core curriculum during the first year. The core curriculum consists of:

  • An integrated content course covering major aspects of biomedical sciences from the disciplines in which degrees are offered
  • A weekly journal club discussing literature relevant to topics from the course
  • A companion course covering research related topics such as ethics, presentation of findings, data analysis, statistics, and grant writing
  • Two seminar series--one for invited speakers of national renown and one for student presentations
  • Research laboratory rotations

At the end of the first year, each student will select the program from which they wish to receive the PhD degree as well as a research mentor in whose laboratory they will complete the dissertation research. During the second year, students will take additional courses as determined by the selected department and will continue working on the selected dissertation project. At the end of the second year, students will take a written comprehensive examination. Upon passing this examination, students will choose a guidance committee in consultation with the mentor and graduate student advisor. This committee will administer an oral examination covering the proposed dissertation research. Students will be admitted to candidacy upon the successful completion of both the written and oral comprehensive examinations. Students will continue working on the selected dissertation project as guided and advised by both the research mentor and the Graduate Guidance Committee. Upon completion of this work, students will write and orally defend the doctoral dissertation.

Students wishing to pursue a master's degree in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, or physiology should apply directly to the selected department. At this time, master's students are not accepted into the pharmacology department, though such degrees may be granted in special circumstances. Both thesis and non-thesis MS degrees are available for anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology and physiology. Students will enroll in courses as described for the individual programs. In lieu of writing and defending a thesis, non-thesis MS students must pass a written comprehensive examination.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited US college or the equivalent from a foreign university. Foreign applicants must have their transcripts evaluated by an accredited agency for equivalency to a US degree. 

Entrance requirements include a full year of each of the following undergraduate courses: General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and General Physics. 

Upper division Biology (such as Cell and Molecular Biology), Chemistry (such as Biochemistry), and Calculus are strongly recommended. 

Results of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). 

Guidelines for minimum scores are set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies:

  • GPA: 3.0
  • GRE: A combined minimum verbal and quantitative standard scores totaling the sum corresponding to the 50th percentile for each of those sections with neither verbal nor quantitative score lower than the standard score corresponding to the 35th percentile for that section
  • GRE Writing: Greater than or equal to 4.0
  • TOEFL: 550 if paper-based, 213 if computer-based, and 80 if internet-based (with a minimum of 18 on each of four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing)

Applications are considered as a whole and all parts of the application are important. No one factor will guarantee acceptance or denial. Applications are considered in the context of the applicant pool and the availability of stipend funds in any given year.

Application Process

The application process begins with the student filling out an online application. Although applications can be submitted until May 1 for the academic year beginning in September, decisions regarding stipend support are typically made during the month of February. Therefore, early application is strongly encouraged.

Core Curriculum

Students accepted into the Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Program will be expected to arrive on campus in time to attend the annual Basic Science Research Symposium. This event is designed to give incoming students an overview of the research performed at Loma Linda University as well as to provide a forum for faculty to share their research and foster collaborations among the research groups.

During the time between the research symposium and the beginning of formal instruction, there will be an orientation session for new students. This orientation will provide the basic tools for research, acquainting new students with relevant resources and regulations as well as safety training.

The formal coursework in the core curriculum consists of the following elements:

 The Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems sequence

  • IBGS 511: Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I
  • IBGS 512: Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II
  • IBGS 522: Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club
  • IBGS 513: Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III
  • IBGS 523: Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club

 The Introduction to Research sequence

  • IBGS 501: Biomedical Communication and Integrity
  • IBGS 502: Biomedical Information and Statistics
  • IBGS 503: Biomedical Grant Writing
  • IBGS 605: Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar
  • IBGS 607: Biomedical Graduate Seminar

Research Rotations

  • IBGS 697:  Research Rotation

The curriculum for MS students will vary somewhat depending on the department requirements but is generally closely related to the curriculum for PhD students.

Requirements for Degrees

Click here to see the course requirements for the PhD and MS degrees in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology and physiology.

Tuition Waivers and Stipends

Most students entering the PhD program are awarded a tuition waiver plus a stipend for living expenses. The intent of the stipend is to provide enough financial support for a modest lifestyle, allowing students to give 100 percent of their energies to the academic program. The stipends are awarded on an academically competitive basis with no regard for financial need or visa status. Renewal of the stipend for the first two years is dependent on satisfactory progress in the program; in most cases the stipend will be the responsibility of the student's laboratory for the remainder of his or her studies. During the 2010-2011 school year, the stipend amount was $22,500 per year. Master's students are not eligible for these stipends or for tuition waivers.

Master's Degrees

Both thesis and non-thesis (coursework) tracks are available to students pursuing MS degrees. The individual programs are responsible for defining the specific requirements for these degrees. In general, the thesis option requires both the successful completion of coursework and the preparation and oral defense of a thesis based on a research project. The coursework option requires the completion of additional coursework and the passing of a written comprehensive examination.

Combined Degree Program

A combined degree program, which allows students to earn both a PhD and an MD degree, is also available.