Marshall University introduces accelerated B.S./Ph.D. program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – An accelerated program that allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in seven years, compared to the traditional nine years, is now available at Marshall University.

“This innovative B.S./Ph.D. program is one of very few such programs in the country and the only one that is structured to be completed in seven years,” said Jaime R. Taylor, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall University. “It is going to help Marshall University continue its rapid upward trajectory in gaining national prominence in biomedical research areas that affect rural communities by helping us attract the best and brightest students from around the nation.” 

The program, open to academically qualified rising sophomores majoring in biological sciences as well as high school students interested in pursuing a career in research, focuses on training the next generation of scientists to study the physiology and treatment of medical conditions. At Marshall University, research typically centers on conditions that most often affect West Virginians, the people of Appalachia and those in all rural communities, such as obesity and its many complications including diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke and addiction.

“There is tremendous need for young scientists to work in areas of medical research that are critical, not just for West Virginia and Appalachia but all of rural United States, because the health care disparities in all of these areas are very similar,” said Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “At Marshall, we are educating future scientists in an area of the country with many of these health care disparities and training them in labs funded by the National Institutes of Health that are specializing in this area of research. By reducing the number of years it takes to earn their degree, these future scientists can enter the research workforce that much sooner.”

In addition to accelerating time to degree completion, this program helps students identify their Ph.D. research topic sooner, allowing them get to work in the laboratory earlier. Once a student identifies their research topic and faculty mentor, they can continue their work on campus through the summers for a stipend and during each semester for academic credit.

“The College of Science is very happy to be a partner in this innovative program to produce the next generation of research scientists who will help address important health disparities in Appalachia,” said Chuck Somerville, Ph.D., dean of the Marshall University College of Science. “We have great students coming to the college every year, and this program will provide another, important career pathway for students interested in medical research.  It’s a win-win-win situation—it’s great for the students, the university and the state of West Virginia.” 

The program is now accepting applications for the fall 2021 semester. The GRE, graduate education’s traditional entrance exam, will be waived for students who successfully complete the undergraduate requirements of the program. In addition, students who successfully finish the undergraduate portion of the program also will receive a tuition waiver for all four years of the Ph.D. program.

Freshman undergraduate students majoring in biological sciences (molecular biology, cell biology or microbiology) or chemistry (biochemistry) with an overall 3.5 grade point average or higher after 26 credit hours are eligible to apply. For high school students, admission requirements include a minimum ACT of 30/1390 SAT and an ACT math score of 27 or SAT equivalent of 630; a cumulative high school GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale; three letters of recommendation; and an on-campus interview. A written statement and three letters of recommendation are also required.

For more information or to make an application, visit or contact Marriah Menchaca, recruitment and marketing specialist, at


Photo: The new combined Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biological Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biomedical Research program at Marshall University will allow students to earn these two degrees in seven years. B.S./Ph.D. students will identify their Ph.D. research topics sooner, which will allow them get to work in the laboratory earlier.

Date Posted: Friday, September 11, 2020