Biomedical Data Science and Informatics


Degrees Offered


Biomedical data science and informatics is an interdisciplinary field that applies concepts and methods from computer science and other quantitative disciplines together with principles of information science to solve challenging problems in biology, medicine and public health. 

The nation’s transition to new healthcare delivery models and the exponential growth in biomedical data translate to a need for professionals with expertise in data science focused in biomedical research who can leverage big data to improve health in the state and the nation. Specialized tracks will initially include precision medicine, population health, and clinical and translational informatics. 

The program is a unique collaboration that brings together Clemson’s strengths in computing, engineering, and public health and MUSC’s expertise in biomedical sciences to produce the next generation of data scientists, prepared to manage and analyze big data sources from mobile sensors to genomic an imaging technologies. Graduates will possess the necessary skills for informatics careers in biology, medicine or public health focused on the development of prescriptive analytics from large data sources. 



Program of Study

Coursework (65-68 hours): Each student will work with the graduate coordinator, academic advisor, and dissertation committee to construct a program of study that conforms to the requirements outlined below and takes into account both the student’s prior preparation and intended research area. In cases where the student comes to the program with prior coursework in a required area, the graduate coordinator may approve a substitution. In cases where a student lacks pre-requisites for a required course, the student will be asked to complete both the pre-requisite coursework and the required course. Because the curriculum will be tailored to each student, the time needed to complete the degree will vary, but in general, it is expected that students can complete the degree in five years or less.

Students complete courses in each of the five areas below:

  • Area I – Biomedical informatics foundations and applications (15-16 hours);
  • Area II – Computing/Math/Stat/Engineering (18 hours);
  • Area III – Population Health, Health Systems, and Policy (5-6 hours);
  • Area IV – Biological/Medical Domain (6-8 hours);
  • Area V - Lab rotations, seminars, doctoral research (24 hours).

Additional requirements for completion of degree:

  • Formation of a Dissertation Committee;
  • Qualifying exam;
  • Dissertation Proposal;
  • Defense of research;
  • Dissertation.


Students will have a designated “home institution” (see below) at which they will typically be physically located. However, all students in this program will take graduate classes from both institutions. Students will not be required to travel between campuses to take courses at the “other institution” as courses will be made available to students both on-campus and via synchronous remote connection. Courses will be offered at the Clemson main campus, MUSC main campus, the University Center at Greenville, and the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (on CURI campus, North Charleston).


This doctoral program is a research degree. Students will pursue one of three track specialty areas which include precision medicine, population health, and clinical and translational informatics. All students will have the opportunity to work directly with one or more program faculty members on research related to data science and informatics. Doctoral students will be immersed in the research environment and will actively engage in authoring research proposals, conducting research, writing abstracts and manuscripts, and presenting research findings. 


Application Information

The annual deadline (starting in 2018) for COMPLETE applications to our joint program is January 15th. Individuals are encouraged to complete their application several weeks prior to deadline. A joint admissions committee will review all applications and make recommendations to the eans of the Clemson Graduate School and MUSC College of graduate Studies; the Deans will make final admissions decisions. Students will typically begin their study in the fall semester.

Applicants will identify a preference for a “home institution” when applying for admission to this joint program. The faculty joint selection committee will consider the applicant’s preference and other considerations (e.g. number of openings, alignment of student’s research interests, funding) and will make the final “home institution” decisions.

This interdisciplinary program is designed for full-time students with undergraduate or graduate computer science, math, engineering, or biomedical sciences backgrounds who wish to make a contribution to biomedical sciences or individual and public health. Recent graduates with advanced degrees (i.e., either masters or professional) or individuals with a bachelors and work experience are ideal candidates.


  • Bachelor’s degree in biomedical/health sciences, computing, mathematics, statistics, engineering, or related discipline
  • Submission of scores from the general GRE (may be waived for those who hold a US graduate or professional degree in a related area from an accredited program)
  • One year of calculus; one year of college biology
  • Computer programming coursework (e.g. at least one advanced programming course) or substantial experience in industry


  • Competency in a second related area of the above list (biomedical/health sciences, computing, mathematics, statistics, engineering or related discipline), as demonstrated by completion of a major, minor or certificate
  • Relevant research or work experience
  • Coursework in multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and biostatistics
  • One year of computer science coursework that focuses on the fundamentals of computer science and software engineering principles, including abstraction, modularity, and object-oriented programming

Required Documents


The joint PhD program offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. 


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)