Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Medical Scientist Training Program

PhD Programs

For the research-phase of their training, Northwestern University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) students select their PhD thesis advisers and thesis committee members from over 300 graduate faculty members in 14 departments of four schools of Northwestern University.

There are several umbrella PhD Programs that include faculty from multiple departments:

Interdepartmental Biological Sciences (IBiS) Program and Driskill Graduate Program (DGP) in the Life Sciences

These programs are based primarily in Evanston (IBiS) and Chicago (DGP) and include faculty working in all areas life sciences research, from fundamental mechanisms of biological macromolecular structure and function; molecular biology and genetics; cell and developmental biology; biochemistry; physiology; biotechnology; nanotechnology; and engineering. Many faculty members study these fundamental processes as they pertain to a variety of human diseases, including cancer, heart disease, neurologic disease, reproductive disease, and infectious disease.

Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience PhD Program (NUIN)

This university-wide program is devoted to normal and abnormal function of the nervous system at all the levels described for IBiS and IGP.

Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program (HSIP)

The Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program (HSIP) offers doctoral student training across multiple disciplines within the Health Sciences including Health Services and Outcomes Research, Health and Biomedical Informatics, Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, and Social Sciences and Health. The PhD program builds upon existing Master's degree programs in these fields and incorporates new areas of strength in measurement and health behavior. Integration across these programs provides the flexibility for doctoral students to receive rigorous interdisciplinary training in the core content needed for population research in the 21st century.

There are additional department-based PhD programs, the most commonly chosen by MSTP students listed below:

Biomedical Engineering Program (BME)

This university-wide program is devoted to the exciting and fast-moving field of biomedical engineering with its ever-changing boundaries. General areas of concentration include Neural Engineering and Rehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary and Vascular Engineering, Materials, Cells, and Tissues and Imaging and Biophotonics.


Chemical and Biological Engineering (ChBE)

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)

Each laboratory can be associated with one or more umbrella or departmental PhD programs. The student chooses the laboratory first and the PhD program next, based on preferred course offerings and other training opportunities. Significant course credit is given to MSTP students so that the course requirements are minimal – 3+ courses for IBiS, DGP and NUIN, 4+ courses for Chemistry, and 8+ courses for BME, MSE and ChBE.

In addition to these PhD programs, there are numerous Interdepartmental Training Programs, Centers, and Institutes that afford additional training activities such as symposia, seminar series, special conferences, and retreats.

Applicants interested in pursuing a PhD in a program offered by Northwestern, but not listed here, are welcome to apply to the MSTP. Applicants interested in these alternative PhD programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require coordination with the PhD program of interest for consideration. Please contact the MSTP ( with questions on coordinating with these PhD programs during the application process.