Contact GSBS

  Home Prospective Students Current Students Visitors
Academic Programs
Student Profiles
News & Events

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

D.O./Ph.D. Dual Degree


Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine has established cooperative and collaborative educational efforts with other New Jersey schools of higher education, promoting the integration of the multiple health professions in order to provide comprehensive primary care health services to the residents of New Jersey. The dual degree program leading to the D.O. and Ph.D. degrees represents a merging of the separate and distinct academic programs of the School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Stratford Division. It is recognized that the core coursework of both programs will need to be mastered to the satisfaction of each academic unit. A student interested in a dual degree must apply and be accepted to each of the schools independently.

The departments of Cell Biology and Molecular Biology offer a unique interdepartmental program intended to prepare graduate students anticipating careers in biomedical research or teaching. Graduate studies include formal training in the basic disciplines of biochemistry and cell and molecular biology as well as elective courses based on the student's own research interests.


The D.O./Ph.D. Program is co-sponsored by two of Rowan's Schools, School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). SOM provides a superb clinical education experience through its facilities at Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes and other affiliated hospitals in the surrounding area. In addition, SOM is associated with a variety of state-of-the-art treatment and research facilities. These include The Center for Aging, The University Headache Center, The New Jersey CARES Institute, and The University Pain Care Center. GSBS provides a thorough foundation in the theoretical and practical aspects of biomedical research through its two basic science departments. Research opportunities are available in a wide range of fields including molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular genetics, physiology, pharmacology and neurosciences. The research programs are supported by numerous core facilities, including animal care, molecular resource, microscopic imaging and computing services, as well as the Health Sciences Library at Stratford.

The Program

The Interdisciplinary D.O./Ph.D. Program is designed as a seven year integrated experience. However, the program may be longer depending on the Ph.D. thesis project. The first two years consist primarily of pre-clinical medical school courses. One mandatory laboratory rotation (8 weeks in length) must be performed in the summer following the first year as part of the SOM Summer Medical Research Fellowship program. Students would then apply to the D.O./Ph.D. dual degree program in the Fall of Year 2 in the D.O. Program. A letter of recommendation from the GSBS faculty member/mentor is among the application requirements. Students will complete the first two years of the medical school curriculum and successfully pass COMLEX part I, BEFORE beginning the graduate program. Therefore, a student MUST take the COMLEX, Part I no later than the end of June so that the GSBS is aware that they have passed prior to starting the Ph.D. phase. Afterwards in that summer, the student should perform their 2nd lab rotation of 7 weeks so that when they start in the fall, they will only need to perform one more lab rotation. Afterwards, they will choose a thesis mentor and start their thesis research. Years 3-5 generally involve full time research towards the Ph.D. degree in a laboratory of mutual agreement. During Year 3, the student will successfully complete the graduate core course work, which includes formal training in the basic disciplines of biochemistry and cell and molecular biology as well as skill courses. Students are also expected to select an advisor for intensive thesis work by December and sit in January for the Student Advisory Meeting. During the fall semester of Year 4, the student takes the Qualifying Exam, which is a written and oral presentation of their Thesis Proposal. Year 5 involves the student completing their thesis work, writing their dissertation, AND defending their thesis in public. The student will NOT be allowed to return to the D.O. program until he/she has publicly defended their doctoral thesis. The final two years of the program focus on clinical experience. Coordination between the clinical and research years is designed to facilitate a smooth transition between aspects of the Program.

Chart of the D.O./Ph.D. Curriculum 

Financial Assistance

D.O./Ph.D. Scholarships are available to all accepted applicants to the Program.

The curriculum is expected to be completed according to the following time-frame:

Years 1-2

D.O. program -- (RowanSOM)

Years 3-5

Ph.D. program -- (Thesis research and courses within the RowanGSBS)

Years 6-7

D.O. program -- (RowanSOM)

Note: PhD program may take longer than three years.

Admission Requirements

Requirements for admission to the D.O./Ph.D. Program include a strong academic record, letters of recommendation, evidence of ability to succeed in a research environment, and competitive GRE scores (MCAT scores will not be accepted). Students must be enrolled in the D.O. program at the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the time of application and have obtained an average of High Pass or better in medical school courses. Applicants also must have participated in the SOM Summer Medical Research Fellowship program with a GSBS faculty member/mentor during the Summer of the 1st year of the D.O. program; one letter of recommendation must be from the SOM Summer Medical Research Fellowship program mentor. Final entry into the D.O./Ph.D. dual degree program is contingent upon the student obtaining an average of High Pass or better in the first two years of the D.O. program and passing the first part of the COMLEX.

For further information, please contact the SOM-Admissions Office at (856) 566-7050 or go their website at:


Notes of Interest

 Copyrights © 2013 Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. All rights reserved. Developed by Engramatix.