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PhD Program in Integrated Biosciences

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) was approved in October, 2011 by University of North Carolina Board of Governors to introduce a doctor of philosophy program in integrated biosciences. The NCCU PhD in Integrated Biosciences (INBS) degree program was approved by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges (COC) in August, 2012. The first cohort of doctoral students entered the program in fall 2012.

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Integrated Biosciences program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) specifically targets complex issues associated with the pervasiveness of diseases that contribute to an unequal health burden in underrepresented populations, known commonly as health disparities. The principal goal of the PhD in Integrated Biosciences (INBS) program is to effectively train students at the doctoral level to solve complex problems using an amalgamation of concepts in biology, biomedical and behavioral sciences, chemistry, physics, bioinformatics, computer science/information science, environmental sciences, and pharmaceutical sciences.

This program provides students from varying degree discipline backgrounds with a comprehensive approach to the study of health disparity issues. Presently, students may choose from one of two (2) concentrations - Biomedical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The biomedical sciences concentration is designed for students with backgrounds and interests in biology, biochemistry, chemistry or related disciplines. The pharmaceutical sciences concentration is designed for students with backgrounds and interests in pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, biochemistry or related disciplines. All students will participate in a unique core curriculum consisting of an integrated approach to addressing health disparities in human diseases, responsible conduct of research, communication and problem solving, and research techniques.

The educational objectives of the Ph.D. in Integrated Biosciences program are to:

  • Increase the number of scientists who are prepared to meet and address the immediate health needs of the community
  • Create the next generation of qualified biomedical scientists and faculty specializing in health disparities and drug discovery research;
  • Prepare students to investigate biologically relevant research questions through the mastery of physical, mathematical, computational, informational, and biological sciences;
  • Enhance career opportunities for graduate students through the development of a multidisciplinary educational program focused in the integrated biological sciences.
  • Advance the State of North Carolina by increasing the number of health professionals and promoting health disparity research that will benefit its citizens.

Application Requirements

Applicants to the PhD in Integrated Biosciences program must:

  • have earned an undergraduate degree in science with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • submit Official Transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate studies
  • submit GRE scores not more than 5 years old
  • submit a statement of purpose and a resume
  • a minimum of three letters of recommendations are required from individuals who are knowledgeable of the student's academic acumen and abilities to complete the PhD degree in Integrated Biosciences.

A Master's degree is not required for this program. Requests for transfer of graduate credit hours must be submitted to the Graduate School and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. When applying to the PhD program in either the Biomedical Sciences or Pharmaceutical Science track, applicants are encouraged to have completed in undergraduate school the academic subjects of: Organic Chemistry I & II; Biochemistry; Cell Biology or Molecular Biology; Genetics or Microbiology.


PhD students in the INBS Program receive educational funding which covers tuition & fees, and health insurance. The INBS program provides financial support to PhD students up to $30,000 per year for two years consisting of fellowship and/or assistantship.

Program Administration

The Director for the PhD Program in Integrated Biosciences and an INBS Graduate Studies Committee (IGSC) oversee the implementation of the program.

Faculty directly involved in the PhD program have extensive and diverse backgrounds in teaching graduate courses, advising and mentoring graduate students, securing millions in federal and private funding, guiding postdoctoral scholars, and publishing in refereed journals.

 For more information, please contact inbs-phd@nccu.edu.


The PhD Degree in Integrated Biosciences degree is awarded on the basis of

  • achievement in a wide range of course work;
  • a qualifying examination (written and oral) evaluating the breadth and depth of background knowledge;
  • intensive research experience during which the candidate demonstrates ability to initiate, perform, and analyze original experimental work;
  • a written dissertation;
  • and defense of the dissertation through a final oral examination.

The PhD in Integrated Biosciences program will typically be completed in 5 to 6 years. The composition of the program's credit hours includes

  • 18 credit hours of core curricula courses inclusive of research rotations;
  • 9-12 credit hours of domain courses (per approval by research mentor, INBS Graduate Studies Committee, and INBS program director);
  • a minimum of 9 credit hours of doctoral supervised research, a minimum of 12 credit hours of doctoral dissertation research, and a minimum of 3 credit hours of dissertation preparation.

A plan of study must be developed by the student in consultation with his/her research mentor, the INBS Graduate Studies Committee, and the INBS program director and must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Primary coursework is expected to be completed by the end of the second year of study. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and earn a grade of B or better in each core and domain course. Successful completion of a Qualifying Examination (written and oral components) is also required for admission to PhD candidacy. Students take the Qualifying Examination during the summer following year 2 of their program. Only students who have been admitted to candidacy are permitted to proceed further in the program and into dissertation research.

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