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Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics

The Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics

The Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics

Welcome to the home of the first interdisciplinary 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.

The 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, psychology, political science and policy to provide students with the tools necessary to develop a program of research. Three cognate areas allow students to focus on their area of interest for health care genetics and/or genomic research. These opportunities include translational “bench to bedside” research, the interventionist focus for study on genetic issues for individuals, communities and/or populations and finally ethics and/or policy. 

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

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.


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 in all member states. Please review our state authorizations to see if this program is offered in your state and our process for student complaints against the university.

The Ph.D. in Health Care Genetics will draw on Clemson programs as diverse as sociology, higher education and administration, health policy, psychology, microbiology, biological sciences, cellular biology and statistics.

  • Program Tracks

    Program participants will choose from three tracks:

    • Interventionists
    • Bench science
    • Ethics and health policy
  • 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.
  • Are You A Candidate?

    The primary areas for those candidates who identify themselves as leaders are:

    • Those who have degrees in non-nursing disciplines but who have an interest in genetics
    • Those who are nurses.
    • Those who are nurses and have a minor, double major or second degree related to genetics or who have an employment history in obstetrics, pediatrics or oncology.
  • 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) 720-2052Clemson University Graduate School | HCG Doctoral Handbook