Biomedical & Biological Sciences PhD Program

Apply NowThe Cornell University Biomedical and Biological Sciences (BBS) Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary umbrella program housed within the College of Veterinary Medicine offering high-level basic and biomedical research training, a flexible curriculum, and clinical or translational research opportunities.

With publications in such front-line journals as Nature and Science, externally-sponsored grant and contract support of nearly $31 million, and prestigious fellowships from national health and science organizations, the exceptional BBS faculty have established one of the premier health and medical research institutions in the country.


During the first year, PhD students rotate in three labs to get a range of research experiences and to select a faculty mentor who is willing to accept the student into their lab and provide funding for the duration of the research project. BBS students are able to create their own research programs and choose from among the more than 1000 graduate faculty members across the University to serve on their Special Committees. 

All first year BBS students will take an introductory courses which covers key areas including:

  • grant writing
  • public presentations
  • design of experiments
  • interpretation of data
  • literature analysis

When you apply you will choose and rank up to 3 of the following concentrations: 

  • Immunology and Infectious Disease
  • Molecular and Cellular Medicine
  • Population Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Translational Medicine
  • Zoology and Wildlife Conservation

The BBS program also houses two optional minors (which are open to all Cornell Graduate Students): 

Minor in Genomics

Minor in Stem Cell Biology


The BBS Program is committed to enhancing our culture by providing full participation of all members of our community. Currently, 25% of our current PhD students identify with an underrepresented minority ethnicity, while 34% of our PhD students are international.  BBS fosters a nurturing, student-centered community of scholars that is accessible, engaging and committed to insuring that all our graduate students reach their full potential in research, teaching and professional development.

Our BBS Graduate Student Council members are available to help answer your questions about graduate student life in the BBS Program at Cornell. Feel free to connect with them today!


All students admitted to the BBS Program will be funded for the duration of their program (contingent upon satisfactory performance).  Funding covers tuition, health insurance and stipend. An application to the BBS program is considered an application for funding. For 2021-22, students received a stipend of $38,205/year.

Applications are reviewed starting in December, and all admissions decisions are made by mid-February.  Admissions decisions are based on the quality of the student’s prior academic and professional career, the fit of his/her research interests with funded faculty our program, and the admissions committee’s assessment of the student’s ability to successfully complete doctoral level work.