Skip to Content

Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics

Welcome to the home of the first interdisciplinary and online Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics. The curriculum offers the opportunity to learn from experts the vital elements of their discipline which can impact the evolving knowledge of genetics and/or genomics.

The impact of genetics on health care has the potential to be greater than any earlier scientific advancement. With all it promises in prevention, early detection diagnostics and treatment of disease, genetics will require a much different way of providing health care and conducting research. To help meet this challenge, Clemson University introduced the first interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy in Health Care Genetics ever offered in the U.S.

Program Information

Our program offers graduate students the opportunity to be mentored by interdisciplinary faculty from more than six disciplines. Core courses are in genetics, health care genetics, statistics, and research methods with cognates available in psychology, political science, policy and other areas to provide students with the tools necessary to develop a program of research. Core courses are offered in a live synchronous online format and students may choose to locate in the Clemson area or remain distance. Students will be matched with faculty to conduct dissertation research.

With its highly collaborative research and practical-application structure, this program will prepare interdisciplinary scientists to:

  • collaborate with multiple disciplines to generate knowledge and develop theories that focus on the genomic aspects of actual and potential health problems.
  • formulate health promotion, disease prevention and treatment strategies that translate and integrate genomic knowledge from a variety of disciplines.
  • demonstrate leadership that facilitates interdisciplinary development and application of ethical guidelines and health policy in genetics.
  • A new lab offers students research projects that are being translated for use in the clinical setting while giving them experience to gain skills for their future research in the lab. 
  • Students can participate in a variety of specialty genetic clinics and learn to research questions that are real to patients and their health care providers.
  • Implementation of a new annual seminar gives back timely information on significant genetic topics that can personally affect the local community and health care providers.

Are You A Candidate

  • Those who have degrees in non-nursing disciplines but who have an interest in genetics
  • Those who are nurses who have an interest in genetics, particularly those with experience in obstetrics, pediatrics or oncology.

For a Fall (August) start, applications are accepted through the Graduate School at Clemson University through January 15th.  Applications open in August (for the following year) and can be found here.  For more information about the Graduate School at Clemson University simply visit their site here.  Accepted students will attend a 2-day orientation during the Spring semester with one day being on campus at Clemson University and the next day at the Clemson Nursing Building in Greenville, SC. 

  • Living In Clemson

    Clemson is located in the Upstate region of South Carolina, in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and on the shores of Lake Hartwell. We are surrounded by many small towns with easy commutes to campus and we are located about 40 minutes from Greenville, SC, a thriving small city recently ranked as the 10th best place to live in the United States.  Additionally, several larger cities, e.g., Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA are within a couple hours’ drive, as are many beautiful beaches on the South Carolina coast.  For more information about living in Clemson, please visit: 

    Things to do in and around Clemson 

    Life in Clemson 

    Working in Clemson 

    Clemson is strongly committed to inclusive excellence and to ensuring that our graduate students have a high-quality experience during their time here.  As part of this, I would encourage you to review Clemson’s GRAD360 program – a comprehensive professional development program for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. 

  • Facilities

    Clemson offers unique facilities and centers for students and researchers:

    • The Genomics Institute ranks as a leading research and training center for discovering and analyzing genes important to agriculture, human health and the environment. The institute offers more than 150 genetic libraries of plants, animals and insects for use by scientists all over the world.
    • The S.C. DNA Learning Center provides outreach education in biotechnology and modern genetics to K-12 teachers, non-formal educators, students and the general public.
    • The Clemson University Biosystems Research Complex is one of the university’s newest laboratory facilities and serves as a focal point for biotechnology research, which uses life sciences to create new products and processes in medicine, agriculture and industry.
    • The Electron Microscope Facility holds state-of-the-art equipment. With a wide range of capabilities, this multi-user facility attracts clients from automotive, pharmaceutical, textile, electronics, environmental and medical industries.
    • The Joseph F. Sullivan Nursing Center is an academic nursing center that offers clinical practice opportunities for students while providing services to the community. The center has won numerous awards including the Best Chance Network Provider Facility of the Year.
    • The Center for Research on Health Disparities provides leadership to develop and advance comprehensive, culturally sensitive, community-based research that improves health outcomes and enhances quality of life. The center links faculty, students and community members to advance research on the complex causes of health disparities and strategies to eliminate these disparities.
    • The Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics provides the campus and community with a forum for exploration and discussion of ethical issues. The flagship project of the center is to cultivate the Ethics-Across-the-Curriculum movement.
    • The School of Nursing Healthcare Genetics Wet Lab offers tissue-culture capabilities for students interested in translating research from bench to bedside. Cell flow cytometry and cell sorting are also available through University partners.
  • Reciprocity

    South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University (CU) is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs. State authorization allows CU the ability to offer online programs to students who live outside of SC OR enroll students in learning placements that will take place outside of SC (such as internships, clinicals, practicums, and student teaching). CU must meet all of the regulatory requirements, including those from licensure/certification boards, of the state where the student physically resides or where an activity will take place. IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU UNDERSTAND THE REGULATIONS FOR YOUR STATE PRIOR TO ENROLLING IN ANY ACADEMIC PROGRAM OR COURSE. Please review our state authorizations to determine if specific program offerings or learning placements are available in the state which you will be physically located while enrolled. If you experience difficulty finding the requirements for a specific state, please email for help. 

    If you are expecting a change in your physical location, contact the State Authorization office as soon as you know the anticipated location(s). Physical presence in a location where we do not meet state regulatory requirements can negatively impact our ability to offer you federal financial aid, military tuition assistance, or your continuation within the program. These restrictions extend to courses taken online over the summer, internships, clinicals or other forms of learning placements if they are conducted outside of an approved state. Students are responsible for providing accurate and updated information about their physical presence to the institution. Early notification allows the institution to minimize, but may not prevent, the possibility of program delays/offerings.

  • Job Opportunities

    Job opportunities are broad and may include these careers:

    • Genetics educator
    • Genetic disease or syndrome-specific specialties in practice or research
    • Research scientist for industry
    • Pharmaceutical clinical coordinator/educator
    • Clinical molecular geneticist
    • Clinical trials research associate
    • Medical/life science research scientist
    • Medical technical officer for hospital
    • Genetic epidemiologist
    • Genetics policy/bioethics expert
    • University professor (especially nursing)
  • Partners

    Clemson University offers a unique college structure that lends itself to collaborative work. This new Ph.D. program in Health Care Genetics grew from well-established and strong Clemson research partnerships and collaborations. These working relationships enrich the program.


    • Greenwood Genetic Center
    • University of Iowa
    • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System
    • Clemson’s Genomic Institute
    • Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    • Clemson’s Department of Psychology
    • Clemson’s Department of Political Science
    • Clemson’s Department of Genetics and Biochemistry
    • Clemson’s College of Education
    • Clemson's Rutland Center for Ethics
    • Clemson’s LPN to Professor Program, including AnMed Health, Oconee Memorial Hospital, Palmetto Health Baptist Easley and Cannon Memorial Hospital
  • Contact Information

    For information, please contact Ellen Chiles, Graduate Student Services Coordinator, via email at or by phone at (864) 720-2052


Ellen Chiles
Graduate Student Services Coordinator
(864) 720-2052


HCG Doctoral Handbook

Clemson University Graduate School


For a Fall (August) start, applications are accepted through the Graduate School at Clemson University through January 15th.  Applications open in August and can be found here.  For more information about the Graduate School at Clemson University simply visit their site here.  Accepted students will attend a 2-day orientation during the Spring semester with one day being on campus at Clemson University and the next day at the Clemson Nursing Building in Greenville, SC.