Postdoctoral Fellowship (Degree)

The degree-granting postdoctoral fellowship program is for US Citizens or Permanent Residents with an earned doctorate in Biomedical Informatics or a related field such as medicine, public health, nursing, or computer science who wish to add informatics training to their prior doctoral work. Individuals who received their MD from a foreign institution must be eligible to practice medicine in the US. This program leads to a Master of Arts (MA) or Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) degree.


  • For the PhD: 60 points of approved coursework and 6 residence units (the equivalent of 4-6 years of full-time study)
  • For the MA: 30 points of approved coursework and 2 residence units (the equivalent of two years of full-time study)
  • Teaching assistant for 2 courses
  • Paper and poster submissions to national conferences beginning the first year
  • Conference attendance
  • Mid-semester progress reports completed in conjunction with faculty
  • Yearly meetings with advisory committee (for PhD students)
  • Regular meetings, either individually or in a group, with research advisor
  • Two preliminary examinations (for PhD students)
  • One preliminary examination (for MA students)
  • Dissertation (for PhD students)


Preliminary Examinations

Both MA and PhD fellows take the Oral I/Breadth Examination. PhD postdoctoral fellows also take the Oral II/Depth Examination. The Oral I/Breadth Examination is generally taken during the summer of the second year after all required coursework with the exception of research has been completed. The Oral II/Depth Examination is taken after the student has identified his or her dissertation topic. For PhD fellows, the dissertation proposal defense must take place within 6 months after passing the Oral II/Depth Exam. PhD fellows receive the MA degree and then the MPhil degree, respectively, after obtaining the requisite residence units and passing the first Oral (for the MA) and second Oral (for the MPhil) examinations. Upon earning the MPhil degree, the student has reached candidacy.

PhD Research

Research is the primary focus of the postdoctoral fellow program. Due to the centrality of research to a student’s degree program, students are expected to receive “A” or above in research every semester. Grades below that level may result in program dismissal. Students are expected to work a minimum of 25 hours per week on research in the first year, increasing to 60 hours by the third year. Both PhD and Postdoctoral MA fellows register for 6 points for research each semester in the first year, 9 points of research each semester in the second year, and 12 points of research each semester for their remaining year(s). Research should be the primary occupation of the student’s time during the summer, due to the absence of coursework. The doctoral dissertation (for PhD fellows) or Master’s Essay (for MA fellows) is the culmination of the student’s research activity.


Funding is available through various sources:

  • National Library of Medicine (NLM) Training Grant. Available for US citizens or permanent residents for up to 5 years of support (for PhD trainees not previously funded by an NLM T15 Training Grant) or for up to three years for postdoctoral MA degree fellows or non-degree fellows. PhD postdoctoral fellows are chosen by the department, normally after their first year in the program in order for the faculty to evaluate their progress. MA degree fellows are selected pre-entry.  The NLM fellowship covers tuition and fees, single student health insurance, meeting attendance such as the June NLM Training Meeting, and a stipend based on NRSA rates for years of experience post doctorate.

How to Apply

The fellowships are only open to US citizens or permanent residents, as required by the funding agency, the  National Library of Medicine. Apply during admissions season using the same application as PhD and MA applicants through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Online applications are available beginning in the fall and are due December 1. GRE (or MCAT) scores are required by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as are TOEFL (or IELTS) scores as specified.  Finalists are invited for on-campus interviews in January or February. Finalists are selected by April.