Joint Ph.D. Program

The joint Ph.D. program is designed to provide depth of study in a traditional discipline as well as interdisciplinary breadth of study in a quantitative area of the life sciences. Education of joint Ph.D. students involves meeting the requirements of the primary (traditional) graduate program and supplementing that training with a small number of interdisciplinary courses (to be arranged by the graduate program directors of the traditional program and of QB as well as the thesis advisor, to best align and streamline the coursework requirements). Being in the Joint Ph.D. program also entails undertaking research of an interdisciplinary nature at the interface of the quantitative and life sciences. Applications for the joint degree are made through the standard application channels of the traditional program, with a specific indication of interest in the joint Ph.D. program with QB (in the essay/personal statement). Students who earn a joint Ph.D. degree will possess the full credentials of the core discipline Ph.D. as well as broad interdisciplinary training, enabling them to direct research at the interface of the quantitative and life sciences.

How the QB joint degree program works:

  1. Students enroll in one of the partnering graduate programs <PGP>. Currently, these programs include:
  2. Students enroll in one of the partnering graduate programs (PGP).
  3. Students enroll in the QB program, either concurrently or later in their graduate education.
  4. Once accepted into the joint degree program, a QB joint degree track is selected to coincide with that of the PGP conferring the disciplinary degree.  (This track follows the degree requirements for the PGP and sets the format for the qualifying examinations and the final thesis defense.)  
  5. While all diplomas for graduate degrees from Rutgers are designated as “Doctor of Philosophy” without further specification of the discipline, the formal degree that is awarded is the joint degree, designated as “Ph.D. in <PGP> and Quantitative Biomedicine.”  This is also indicated on the student’s transcript.
  6. Students enrolled in the Joint Ph.D. program with QB have the option to earn a Master’s of Science degree in QB or their <PGP> but not both.
  7. Students pursue at least some fraction of pre-doctoral research focused on an interdisciplinary topic in quantitative biology
  8. Students participate in the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Boot Camp (link), designed to augment the education for students coming from all areas of science.
  9. All Joint students are required to attend at least two semesters of the one-credit interdisciplinary Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine.  Joint students are encouraged to attend the post-seminar lunches with the speakers as well.
  10. Soon, there will be a 3-credit Skills Course for Joint students, covering such topics as proposal and publication writing, public speaking, scientific creativity, and more.

Research Advising:

A student receiving a joint Ph.D. degree with QB and a PGP has either:

  1. one advisor who is a member of both the QB graduate faculty (i.e., a member of either the Institute or Associate Graduate Faculty and also the PGP graduate program faculty or
  2. a primary advisor who is a member of the PGP graduate faculty and a co-advisor who is on the QB graduate faculty. If the student opts out of working with a QB-associated graduate faculty member during his/her first academic year, s/he will become solely a PGP student (and will not be eligible for a joint PH.D. or any joint Ph.D. awards).

Course Requirements:

  • Students must satisfy ALL of the course requirements for the PGP degree.
  • Students must take the following courses:
    • Interdisciplinary Quantitative Boot Camp (at least one) 16:848:601 (1 or 2 credits)
    • Seminar in Quantitative Biomedicine (at least for two semesters)  16:848:616 (1 credit)
    • Soon: A 3-credit Skills course
  • The Graduate Program Directors involved will meet early in students' graduate programs to determine any possible additional course needs for joint Ph.D. students.

Format for Qualifying Examinations:

  • The format for the qualifying examinations in the joint Ph.D. degree is defined by the PGP.
  • At least two QB faculty members that are not a primary or co-advisor are part of the student's committee. (If the QB faculty are PGP faculty as well, there is no change to PGP faculty requirements. If this is not the case, graduate program directors determine the best make-up of faculty members for these committees.)
  • The PGP and QB faculty independently assess student performance. Possible outcomes are that the student can earn: 1) a joint degree in the PGP and QB, 2) a degree in PGP only, 3) a degree in QB only, or 4) neither.

Final Ph.D. Defense:

  • The Joint student will submit his/her Ph.D. dissertation to his/her committee members for review as per the standard for the primary graduate program (PGP), noting that the committee itself must include two members of the Quantitative Biomedicine graduate program faculty.
  • Following the student’s defense, the committee members will all sign the Ph.D. Candidacy form after which the Graduate Program Director or Associate Director will also sign.  

  • The title page of the final, corrected thesis should indicate that the thesis is in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Program in PGP and Quantitative Biomedicine.


Direct entry method: 


  • Students apply to enter the Joint Ph.D. program via the PGP (following instructions provided on both the PGP and QB websites, indicating interest in the Joint Ph.D. program in the personal essay).  Follow the instructions provided on the Graduate Admissions website and apply to the traditional program, which will be your primary program in conjunction with the Quantitative Biomedicine program. The program requirements will correspond to those of the primary program, with the added requirements of including some interdisciplinary coursework (which will often meet the requirements of the primary program) and an interdisciplinary component to the thesis research undertaken. 

    The Graduate School, New Brunswick GSNB: 
    Applying For Admission to Graduate School at Rutgers:

  • The PGP directs graduate applications of interested students to the QB admissions committee for evaluation, requesting consideration for a joint degree.

  • The PGP and QB admissions committees individually render their acceptance decisions.

  • Acceptance by both programs results in admittance to the Joint Ph.D. program.

  • Acceptance by the PGP only results in a traditional one-discipline education. 

Delayed entry method:

  1. Students apply to the joint program during graduate school (normally during the first year), providing a 1-page personal statement, a recommendation letter(s) from the student's primary advisor and QB co-advisor (if the primary advisor is not a QB faculty member), the student's original graduate school application material, and (unofficial) transcript(s) corresponding to any previous programs of study.  It is advisable to apply early during graduate school in order to receive the  guidance and educational enhancement that come with being a Joint Ph.D. student.
  2. The QB admission committee evaluates the application and invites applicants for to meet with them. Shortly thereafter, a decision is provided. 

Joint Student Documents:


Contact Us

Please send all questions and comments to:

Sagar Khare, Ph.D.  
Graduate Program Director, Quantitative Biomedicine  
Associate Professor, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, School of Arts & Sciences 
Resident Member, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine