Jun 18, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Graduate College

Welcome to The Graduate College

At Rush University Graduate College, we have created an environment that fosters innovation through an interdisciplinary approach to scientific discovery. Our students not only learn leading-edge scientific techniques but also, perhaps more importantly, critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills that will serve them no matter their next steps after earning their MS or PhD. Students who select the Graduate College as their home for graduate education are committed to scientific advancement through research and will become next-generation thought leaders. Through rigorous training, customized curricula, and hands-on experience, students will become alumni who have strong connections and networks and are well-prepared to enter the scientific and clinical workforce where they will solve complex problems and lead organizations that will chart the future.

Strong networks. Rush University has a network of over 16,000 alumni throughout the world. They work in academic and corporate settings, successfully compete for funding, train the next generation of researchers and educators, and make discoveries that enhance human health. Thus, we are building a strong community with robust student-alumni relations that will enable current students to access Rush’s Alumni Association programming to advance their career and professional development while allowing alumni to tap into our stream of newly minted graduates poised to accelerate progress.

Customized and personal. The Graduate College offers doctoral and master’s programs that allow you to choose the track and coursework that complements your research interests. Small class sizes give you a greater opportunity to ask questions, participate in discussions, and provide curricular flexibility based on the needs and desires of each class. You will really get to know the faculty and be exposed to their research while learning about their experiences and networks in clinical and basic biomedical research settings.

Outcomes. The success of the Graduate College’s approach to the training of its students can be measured by alumni outcomes. Over 60% of Graduate College’s doctoral alumni remain in research or research-related careers. Further, more than 90% of the Graduate College’s master’s graduates have entered professional school, doctoral programs, or found employment in a research career within three months of graduation.

At Rush Graduate College we have great educational programs, engaging faculty, and leading-edge research. I hope you will consider joining an MS or PhD program at the Graduate College where you can be a part of the solution to clinical and biomedical problems that will ultimately improve human health. Contact us to learn more about the education and programs at the Graduate College.

Andrew Bean, PhD


The Graduate College: Mission, Vision and Philosophy


The mission of the Graduate College at Rush University is to enhance the intellectual life of Rush University by providing students with expertise in their chosen fields, creativity to cross disciplinary boundaries, courage to challenge convention and confidence to ask unexpected questions and articulate new perspectives. The Graduate College provides a fertile environment where trainees refine their critical and analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, embrace a collaborative approach to problem solving, address critical biomedical problems strategically and advance medical science.

To this end, the Graduate College will: 1) collaborate with our partners at other Rush colleges to provide broadly based graduate education that supports the research and scholarship of students, faculty and the University as a whole; 2) foster an inclusive environment to ensure the educational benefit that can only come from diversity across the academic community; 3) emphasize the critical role of graduate education to the mission of the research university; 4) prepare our graduates for success in competitive national and global economies by providing contemporary professional development and career planning resources. 


The Graduate College provides strategic leadership and administrative and academic structures within which a diverse group of students and faculty find the support and encouragement to advance academic excellence through innovative scholarship, research, teaching and programming.


Rush University provides outstanding health sciences education and conducts impactful research in a culture of inclusion, focused on the promotion and preservation of the health and well-being of our diverse communities.

The Graduate College was established in 1981 and provides opportunities for students to work with nationally recognized faculty while earning graduate degrees in basic and clinical sciences. The Graduate College curricula is interdisciplinary. All graduate students participate in a common, integrated first year curriculum that explores the shared foundations of biomedical sciences. This approach leverages student interactions, interests across biomedical sciences, team-based research training.

The Graduate College: Program Organization

Integrated Biomedical Sciences Doctor of Philosophy Program

The PhD in Integrated Biomedical Sciences is designed to educate science professionals for leadership in research and academic positions, as well as to provide career path education relevant to their specialized fields. Since collaborative interdisciplinary teams of scientists perform most biomedical research, our doctoral program emphasizes an integrated interdisciplinary approach to biomedical research. Graduates of this program will perform high-quality, impactful biomedical research at colleges and universities, government agencies, hospitals and nonprofit agencies and in industry.

Students in the program will work with faculty and scientists to generate new knowledge in the fields of biomedicine using sophisticated research methods. As a part of the program, students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of core and concentration-specific courses and pass a comprehensive preliminary examination based on their research proposal. They will design and conduct research that culminates in a dissertation, and they will disseminate their scientific findings through scholarly publications and presentations.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences Master of Science Program

The MS in Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS) is a research master’s degree that will introduce students to the scientific approach and provide an opportunity for the student to pursue a directed research project. Graduates will be prepared to perform advanced biomedical research at colleges and universities, government agencies, hospitals, non-profit agencies and industry. Our integrated program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to biomedical education and research. Students in the program will work with faculty to generate new knowledge in biomedicine using sophisticated research methods and approaches.

Students can choose research experiences and advisers from among the many qualified faculty from Rush University Medical Center’s academic and clinical departments.

Biotechnology Master of Science Program

The Master of Science in Biotechnology (BTN) is a non-thesis research and laboratory training program designed to prepare the student for careers in research-related fields, education, and/or graduate or professional school. This flexible degree program is designed for students with earned bachelor’s degrees that are interested in furthering their scientific education. The customized curriculum helps students meet their career and professional goals.

There are three tracks in the program including: 1. Pre-professional, 2. Research and 3. Education. Students will participate in hands-on laboratory courses designed to cover the common and most important techniques and methods employed in research today. The program director, in consultation with the Graduate College dean, has oversight of the program and its faculty. The program director is responsible for the implementation of program goals and assessment of student learning outcomes.

Clinical Research Master of Science Program

The Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) is a rigorous program that meets the needs of health professionals engaged in the full spectrum of patient-oriented research. This flexible and personalized degree program is designed for a variety of students, including those who seek to understand, and/or conduct, supervise, co-ordinate varied aspects of clinical research (including clinical trials). These students may be physicians, researchers and research study personnel (research nurses, study coordinators, managers in clinical research and site management organizations (CROs and SROs) and bachelors prepared individuals with interests in applied clinical research in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.

The Graduate College: Admission Requirements

The Graduate College prepares students for Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. An undergraduate record of scholastic excellence is an important background for the Graduate College experience. The process of application review includes a search for evidence of creativity and scholarly potential in the applicant. The Graduate College also values diversity of thought, ability, expertise, and background, and therefore seeks to admit thought leaders that will solve complex problems related to human health. Thus, the Graduate College uses the following guidelines to evaluate candidates for admission.


Application Deadlines:

Doctor of Philosophy Program

  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences (Jan. 4)

Master of Science Programs

  • Biotechnology (May 15 priority deadline) (July 30)
  • Clinical Research (May 15 International Applicants) (July 30 US citizens and permanent residents)
  • Integrated Biomedical Sciences (July 30)

International students have earlier deadlines. Please check with the Graduate College Admissions Office early in the application process.

  1. Application form - The application must be submitted by the deadline.
  2. Statement of purpose - Describes the past and current research interests as they pertain to graduate school in the biomedical sciences.  Your statement of purpose should be limited to one page.
  3. Curriculum vitae - Includes academic honors, awards received in college and/or graduate school, employment history, internships, summer research programs, education history, etc.
  4. Three letters of recommendation - Recommendation letters should come from professional or academic sources. Letters must be on official letterhead and uploaded by the online application by recommenders.
  5. Standardized test scores - Standardized test scores are optional. However, applicants applying to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science programs in Integrated Biomedical Sciences can submit GRE scores. MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or USMLE scores can be used in lieu of GRE for Biotechnology and Clinical Research master’s programs. Applicants with an international medical degree must submit USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores.
  6. Official transcript(s) - Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Students with an international degree must submit an official course-by-course evaluation from Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES), no other transcript evaluation organizations will be accepted. The Graduate College requires transcripts from all schools attended.
  7. TOEFL scores - TOEFL or IELTS scores must be submitted for international applicants who have received a diploma from a university at which English is not the language of instruction. TOEFL/IELTS scores will be waived for non-native English speakers who have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher from a US accredited institution and have demonstrated language proficiency supported by the interview. TOEFL and IELTS are the only two testing organizations accepted by the Graduate College.
  8. An interview with Graduate College faculty is required for Integrated Biomedical Sciences Doctor of Philosophy candidates.
  9. Applicant fee - A $50 application fee is required to submit the application.


Non-degree Students: Non-degree students may take selected courses but are not candidates for advanced degrees. Upon approval by a course director, any individual may audit a course.


The Graduate College: Shared Curricula

Some Graduate College courses are shared by more than one program. The curriculum is designed to provide basic knowledge base deemed necessary to become successful in science. The Graduate College shared curricula elements provide introductory training in molecular genetics, genomics, cellular biochemistry, cell biology and tissue biology. Students will learn basic theories underlying modern scientific techniques. Courses in ethics, scientific writing and basic statistics are key components of the curriculum and can be selected from the list below.

The following courses comprise the Graduate College shared curriculum:    

  • GCC - 506 Biomedical Ethics
  • GCC - 516 Foundations in Biomedical Science
  • GCC - 546 Principles of Biostatistics I
  • GCC - 547 Principles of Biostatistics II
  • GCC - 548 Bioinformatics I
  • GCC - 549 Bioinformatics II
  • GCC - 594 Introduction to Grant Writing


The Graduate College: Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree conferred by Rush University. The Doctor of Philosophy is awarded in recognition of high achievement in a particular field of scientific research as evidenced by submission of a dissertation that demonstrates independent investigation and contributes new information to the body of existing knowledge. The PhD program integrated and research; oriented; it should culminate in a work of literary and scholarly merit, which is indicative of the candidate’s ability to conduct original research in a recognized specialty. Specifically, the program is composed of formal courses, guided individual study in a chosen field or discipline, cognate subjects recommended by the candidate’s advisory committee, original research that serves as the basis of scientific publication and a scholarly dissertation. A first-authored scientific manuscript of the student’s original research is a degree requirement.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is evidence that the doctoral student has successfully completed all preliminary coursework and is prepared to move into the intensive research experience. Depending upon the requirements of the program, these exams will test accumulated knowledge, scientific reasoning and the ability to critically and analytically thinking. Admission to candidacy is a demonstration of confidence that the student will successfully accomplish the remaining requirements of the program. Students failing to achieve admission to candidacy may apply the coursework and completed research toward a related Master of Science degree.


A doctoral student must complete a dissertation. This document is developed through faculty-guided independent research projects. The dissertation must be original and cannot have been used to meet the requirement of any other degree, either at Rush University or any other university.

Each student will have a dissertation or advisory committee whose role is to assure that the student’s dissertation is of high quality and meets the standards of the program and the Graduate College for originality, contribution to the field and scholarly presentation. The committee is also to assure that the student is making satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree. The committee is chosen by the student in conjunction with the student’s primary adviser and should consist of at least five total members.

The composition of this committee should be approved by the Academic Standards Committee and should comply with any specific requirements of the Graduate College. Advisory committee members must be members of the Graduate College. At least one member of the committee should be external to Rush University. Once the committee convenes, it will choose a chairperson who cannot be the student’s primary adviser. In addition to the five committee members, the program director will serve as an ex officio member of the committee.

The public defense will be comprised of a public one-hour lecture attended by the dissertation committee and faculty and students of the University. The dissertation committee then meets in closed session to examine the candidate and approve the dissertation. Typically, the meeting immediately follows the public lecture. The committee strives for a consensus, but the dissertation can be approved over the objections of a single committee member.  

Master of Science

The Master of Science degree is designed to enhance the scientific and professional preparation of students aspiring for a career in the health professions or in a related field requiring graduate level biomedical sciences. Students will bolster their preparation for further study or entry into the biomedical workforce by completing a rigorous combination of multidisciplinary graduate level coursework, immersive experiential learning, individualized electives, advising and professional development.

The College offers two types of Master of Science degrees: thesis and non-thesis. The Integrated Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Research Master of Science programs are thesis-requiring and traditionally take five terms to complete. The Biotechnology Master of Science degree is a two-term, non-thesis accelerated program designed to provide laboratory and research skills at the graduate level.


The thesis is a record of the research experience of the student and must be original work with the potential to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. The student will identify an area of interest and submit the name of a potential adviser to the Academic Standards Committee for approval.

After the student selects a research adviser and begins to collect preliminary data, the student and adviser will select an advisory committee. This committee will advise the student and evaluate their proposal and thesis documents. The committee will consist of the adviser and two additional Graduate College faculty members. Committee members should be familiar with either the research area or crucial technical aspects of the student’s project.

Committee members are intended to be a resource for the student and their adviser to enhance didactic and technical knowledge towards the completion of the student’s project. Upon completion of the thesis, the student will present their findings in a public forum open to the University community. All voting members of the Committee must approve the thesis document and certify that the student has completed all requirement for the Master of Science degree.  


The Graduate College: Academic Policies

The Graduate College follows University-wide policies and procedures and reviews program-specific regulations. However, the Graduate College reserves the right to make substantive changes in its programs after a student has matriculated. Students will be informed in writing if any requirements are changed. Students re-entering the college after an absence will be guided by policies and procedures in effect at the time of re-entry.

Examination Policy

It is the responsibility of the individual course director to inform students about the examination requirements for their course. A period at the end of the term is provided for final examinations; however, any form of assessment can be conducted at any week of the semester. This information will be included in the course schedule and syllabus.

Pass/No Pass Grades

Required courses are taken for a letter grade and not under the pass/no pass (P/N) option. Research hours are generally graded using the P/N option. 

Good Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, students must earn a B (3.0) or better in core courses, meet the requirements of their program and maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students should refer to their program academic policies for additional guidance on academic standing. IBS PhD students must be in good academic standing to be admitted to candidacy and to graduate. Students who fail to remediate their deficiencies within one academic term, or are placed on probationary status a third time, are subject to dismissal by the Graduate College.

Academic Difficulty

The responsibility to inform students of their academic deficiencies and for establishing conditions to remedy said deficiencies and regain good academic standing resides within the Graduate College. The program director also monitors the progress and promotion of students and gives approval to award students’ degrees.


Recommendations for student dismissal are initiated by the programs or the Graduate College and follow the Rush University process. Should a program recommend the dismissal of a student, the program director will forward such recommendation to the Academic Standards Committee for final recommendation to the dean. Letters of dismissal come from the dean. Appeal of a dismissal action begins within the appropriate program.

Full-time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment is required of all Graduate College students with the exception of the Clinical Research students. Full-time students must register for at least nine credits each term or at least two credits when enrolled in thesis and dissertation research courses. Students receiving a thesis-based master’s degree from the Graduate College as a full-time student must be enrolled for all terms between their matriculation and graduation. At the time of graduation, the student must be enrolled in the college.

Extension of Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidates are expected to meet all requirements for graduation within five enrolled academic years in the Graduate College (excluding leaves of absence). This period begins with the term in which the student formally matriculates. Exceptions to the time limitation must be submitted to the Academic Standards Committee in writing. The request must identify the reasons for the extension and provide a written plan with reasonable deadlines for completion. This document will be co-signed by the student’s research adviser and program director.

The Academic Standards Committee will vote on the extension (simple majority) as a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate College. If the extension is approved, the student’s adviser will then provide an update on the student’s progress after six months. One year after the extension is granted the student is expected to complete all requirements. A second request may be made by the student’s adviser and program director but will be approved for a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate College by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at a formal hearing of the Academic Standards Committee.

Within one year of that second request, the student must complete all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree or face dismissal. Alternatively, the student may be awarded a Master of Science degree upon the recommendation of the student’s graduate program.


Individuals with an accredited bachelor’s degree or its equivalent have the option of taking select Graduate College courses as a non-degree student, prior to application to a degree program. The policy regarding the transfer of student-at-large credits can be found in the Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog.


Any student who has withdrawn from the University or any dismissed student may apply for re-admission to the Graduate College. A re-entering student must meet the conditions for re-enrollment, and all policies, requirements, including course sequence in effect at the time of re-entry. Application deadlines may vary by program.

Academic Progression

The graduate programs, in concert with the rules of the college and Rush University, develops specific regulations governing the process that results in final awarding of the degree. While such regulations differ slightly from one program to another, the Academic Standards Committee reviews the regulations of each program for approval. Programs must be explicit and clear about regulations concerning academic policies and procedures surrounding qualifying, preliminary, and final examinations when they are required.

Programs must provide candidates with the support needed to plan and conduct thesis/dissertation research. Students must become familiar with the regulations and expectations of their chosen program. These regulations and expectations are included in this catalog within the sections devoted to each program. The student is responsible for understanding the regulations, and monitoring changes that may occur during their tenure in the program.

Student Academic Appeals Policy

Any student in the Graduate College may appeal a final course grade, failure on a preliminary or comprehensive examination, or failure of the thesis or dissertation that results in his or her academic probation or dismissal from the University. A student may also appeal an unreasonable delay in his or her graduation from the University. No other issues may be appealed through this process.

The process for filing an appeal will be completed within one term. If a resolution cannot be achieved at the program level, the procedure outlined below should be followed. At any step in the process, the student may withdraw the appeal by written notification to the dean. In the event of a dismissal decision, a student may continue to enroll until the appeal process is completed or the student withdraws the appeal.


Step 1: If the student wishes to appeal the decision beyond the program, within two weeks of receiving a decision from the program, the student will submit a written statement to the Academic Standards Committee requesting consideration of his or her case by an advisory panel. The student must provide the following in the written statement:

  • Course number and grade being appealed or other cause for probation or dismissal, i.e., failure of preliminary or comprehensive examination or thesis or dissertation
  • Action being requested
  • Justification for the request
  • An outline of the efforts and actions already taken to obtain consideration of the request


The student will send copies of this communication to the Academic Standards Committee. In addition, if a course grade is being appealed, the student will send a copy to the course director. If the evaluation of a thesis or dissertation is being appealed, the student will send a copy to the chairperson of the thesis or dissertation committee. The advisory panel will be the Academic Standards Committee.

Step 2: Within two weeks after notification to the Academic Standards Committee, the committee will meet to review the appeal, and submit a written recommendation to the associate dean.

Step 3: Within two weeks following receipt of the recommendation from the Academic Standards Committee and upon discussion with the student and with others as appropriate, the associate dean shall reach a final decision and notify each party of the decision. 

If the student wishes to appeal the decision of the associate dean, he or she may appeal to the Graduate College Council who will consider the evidence and render a recommendation to the dean regarding the appeal. The decision of the dean is final. If the dean recuses themselves from the appeal process, the recommendation of the Graduate College Council on the appeal will be rendered by the provost or their designee.

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct

The Graduate College and its programs follow the University policies on academic honesty and the University statement on student conduct. Each student is expected to conduct himself or herself at all times in a professional manner - a manner that conforms to the ethics of the profession and which instills confidence in one’s abilities as a working scientist. Irresponsible, unprofessional or unethical behavior, as determined by the Graduate College Honor Code Committee may result in dismissal from the program. The college and its programs will not condone cheating in any form. Allegations of cheating will be reviewed by the program director with the help of an ad hoc committee. If merited, the report will be forwarded to the Graduate College Honor Code Committee.

Rush University Academic Policies

The Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog contains additional Rush University academic policies.

This Rush University catalog also details the policies regarding inclusion of minorities and those with disabilities, as well as the policies and procedures for reporting harassment. Students who may need special accommodations can access this information at www.rushu.rush.edu/office-student-accessibility-services.