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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 24, 2024
 
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Integrative Systems Biology (PhD)


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ISB is an innovative program in graduate training that rapidly immerses students into a research environment, then mentors them to become independent scientific practitioners, skilled not only in the art of technical execution but in the creative multidisciplinary thinking required to address important questions in systems biology. Students receive a PhD in Integrative Systems Biology.

Integrative Systems Biology is a field of study that has emerged within the last decade as a unifying discipline that focuses on placing the molecules that comprise living systems within functional and organism contexts. The goal of ISB is to utilize all of our available resources to create a training and research environment to answer challenging questions of fundamental importance in biomedical and life sciences. The ISB faculty are drawn from cellular, developmental, molecular and systems biologists across the University of Pittsburgh campus and are distributed between  research foci:

  • Quantitative Biology
  • Translational Medicine

Contact Information

Integrative Systems Biology Program
Shari Murphy - Program Administrator
Biomedical Science Tower 3, 5th floor, 5061
3501 5th Avenue
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-383-4318
Fax: 412-383-2211
E-mail: sas101@pitt.edu

Admission Requirements and Procedures


Students most likely to gain admittance will have a baccalaureate degree from a natural science, physical science, or engineering program, a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4), and three letters of recommendation. As this is an accelerated program, students should have prior immersive experience in research studies. Applicants who are citizens of countries where English is not the official language (and the Province of Quebec in Canada) are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency by submitting the official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 650 (paper), IELTS score of at least 7.50 or iBT score of at least 100 is required for admission to the Program.

Additional information and a link to the online application can be found at http://www.isb.pitt.edu/how-apply

Financial Assistance

All full-time students receive a stipend, educational enrichment fund, computing and network service, and individual health insurance (with option to purchase additional family coverage) during their graduate training.

Degree Requirements


This is an accelerated program that provides the opportunity for students to complete their degrees in approximately 4 years. Students enter the program in the fall session, and after performing three rotations identify an advisor and area of research dissertation research project.  Areas of research focus include Cell, Development, and Molecular Biology, Quantitative Biology, Translational Medicine, and Genes and Evolution. Required course work is completed during the first two years. After Spring of the students’ second year, they take a comprehensive examination that includes the generation of a research proposal ready for submission to national fellowship programs. Students receive career mentoring throughout their ISB training to ensure a seamless transition to the postdoctoral level. Additional information can be found in the Student Handbook: https://www.isb.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/ISB-Handbook_4-13-21.pdf.

A minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the PhD degree. 32 of these credits are completed taking required and elective course work, and 40 of these credits are taken as dissertation research credits upon completing the comprehensive examination and advancing to candidacy. Required course work includes the following:

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