Graduate Education in Medical Sciences

Admission Requirements
Degree Requirements

Mailing Address:
Graduate Education in Medical Sciences
College of Medicine (MC 784)
1853 West Polk Street
Chicago, IL 60612

Campus Location: CSN Suite 300, Rm 324
Program Code: 20FS8060PHD
Phone: (312) 355-0389
Fax: (312) 413-8221
Web Site:
Co-Directors: William Hendrickson and Buck Hales
Program Administrator: Laura King Price

The GEMS Program offers students integrated training in the biomedical sciences. PhD programs include the areas of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Neurosciences, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology. Students have the flexibility to choose a mentor from among more than 150 funded research faculty in all departments and PhD programs of the College of Medicine. Areas of research excellence within the broader disciplines include stem cell biology; cancer; development; gene regulation; host-pathogen biology; lung biology; molecular and integrated cardiac and vascular biology; proteomics, genomics, and bioinformatics; reproductive biology; signal transduction and virology.

Admission Requirements

Students apply using the GEMS PhD program code (20FS8060PHD) and list in order of preference up to three of the participating departments as areas of interest. Participating departments are the following: Anatomy and Cell Biology (20FS1024PHD), Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (20FS4050PHD), Microbiology and Immunology (20FS1468PHD), Pathology (20FS1548PHD), Pharmacology (20FS1564PHD), Physiology and Biophysics (20FS1584PHD). Specific requirements are listed under each of these graduate programs.

In general, students should have the following:

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions. However, applicants must have a satisfactory record of courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and at least one year of physics and of mathematics.
  • Grade Point Average At least 2.75/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours of undergraduate study. Preference is given to applicants with a GPA greater than 3.00 on a 4.00 system.
  • Tests Required GRE General. This test should be taken prior to submission of the formal application. Preference is given to applicants with a combined verbal and quantitative score above 1200 and an analytical writing score above 4.0.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL The TOEFL score cannot be more than two years old. UIC’s Institutional Code is 1851. 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based); 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores.
  • Letters of Recommendation Required.
  • Personal Statement Required.
  • Other Requirements Preference is given to applicants with a documented record of research accomplishments.

Degree Requirements

GEMS students, during their first semester of study, engage in a core curriculum that focuses on the fundamentals of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and physiology. Beginning with the second semester, students choose from a variety of courses with the goal of concentrating more on their chosen area of interest.

During the first year, students additionally engage in 3 or 4 laboratory rotations of 10 weeks each. The students select from among the GEMS faculty potential mentors for their thesis research. At the end of the first year, students select their mentor and department from within the College of Medicine. The PhD is granted by the degree-granting program that the student selects.

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work Required Courses: All students must take or show proficiency in three out of the following four core courses: GCLS 500, 501, 502, 503. Students must take or show proficiency in Research Methods courses GCLS 504 and 505. Students must also take select 500-level courses as specified by their chosen PhD program.
  • Preliminary Examination During the second year of graduate study, students must pass a preliminary examination in a format specified by their chosen department.
  • Dissertation Required. Students must earn at least 52 hours in Research in their department (599).
  • Other Requirements: Journal clubs and research seminars as specified by the student’s chosen department.