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How Does BBS Work?

BBS is the gateway to a Ph.D. in the biological and biomedical sciences at Yale. Rather than applying to and entering a Ph.D. program upon admission, you would instead apply to and spend your first year within one of 8 interest-based areas called Tracks:

Track-based first year training

Our Track-based first year training environment enables you to explore and refine your research interests before having to commit to a particular Ph.D discipline. Regardless of your home Track, elective courses, faculty labs, and seminars throughout the university remain available. A typical course of study follows the schedule below:

Year 1

You will typically take two to four courses per semester and will conduct two to four lab rotations over the course of the year. Each Track has a faculty Director who will help you select courses and find suitable lab rotations.

Year 2

Prior to the start of the second year, you will select a thesis adviser in whose lab you will conduct you doctoral research. At the beginning of the second year you will leave your BBS Track and formally join one of these 12 Ph.D.-granting programs:

  • Cell Biology
  • Cellular & Molecular Physiology
  • Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
  • Experimental Pathology
  • Genetics
  • Immunobiology
  • Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry
  • Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Translational Biomedicine

In Year 2 you will complete the course requirements for the graduate program you have joined, take a qualifying exam, act as a teaching assistant in lecture or lab courses, and begin thesis research.

Year 3 and Beyond

You will focus primarily on thesis research, publishing your results, and presenting your work at scientific meetings.

The median time-to-degree is 5.7 years, as defined as time to receipt of the diploma. Yale awards diplomas only two times per year (May and December), and you may complete your training up to 8 months prior to receipt of your diplomas.