Ph.D. program Admission Requirements

Applications for the Data Science Ph.D. program and the Biomedical Data Science Ph.D. program are accepted for the Fall Semester, according to the deadlines below. All admitted candidates will be expected to demonstrate an aptitude for quantitative and computational sciences, which may encompass mathematics, statistics, information systems/technology, fundamental programming skills, and related subjects.

Admission decisions will be based on all aspects of the application, including (1) prior academic performance of the applicant in a baccalaureate or master’s program at a regionally-accredited institution, including coursework and independent research projects, (2) relevant work experience, (3) the applicant’s statement of purpose, (4) letters of support, and test scores.

Priority Application Deadline

Fall 2024

May 1, 2024

Application Process

Only completed applications will be considered. Applicants may check the status of their application by checking their application portal.

Step 1

  • Submit the online Ph.D. application.
  • A separate statement of purpose that establishes (1) the applicant’s preparation for graduate school, (2) reasons for pursing a graduate degree, (3) prior relevant work or research experience, and (4) ultimate career objectives. The statement of purpose should not exceed 1000 words and can be submitted via the application portal

Step 2

  • Resume or curriculum vita.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources are required. Among these three letters at least one must be from an academic source. Letters should not come from family members or close personal friends. All letters should:
    (1) describe the recommender’s relationship with the applicant,
    (2) address the applicant’s likelihood to succeed in graduate school, and
    (3) speak to the applicant’s verbal and written communication skills, collegiality, and predisposition for quantitative analysis and investigation.
    Recommenders must submit letters directly to Meharry Medical College. 
  • Official transcripts
  • Applicants must submit official transcripts of coursework attempted and completed at all previous colleges and universities whether or not a degree was earned at the institution. Please ask your institution to send official transcripts directly to the Office of Enrollment Management to  

If the institution prefers to mail transcripts, please use this address:
Office of Enrollment Management, School of Applied Computational Sciences,
Meharry Medical College,
3401 West End Avenue
Suite 260
Nashville, TN 37203

All submitted transcripts become the property of the Meharry Medical College and will not be returned.

Required test scores (specified below)
The GRE, GMAT, or MCAT test score requirement is waived for applicants for the Fall of 2023 and 2024. We do ask that any applicants submit any previous test scores. All scores must be sent directly to Meharry Medical College, via, in electronic form.


We will invite select applicants who have completed an application via email for a virtual interview with the faculty admission committee. Interviews will be conducted with cameras on and may be recorded for internal use only. Applicants must complete the interview process to be considered for admission. Final admissions decisions will be made from the pool of interviewed applicants.


Applicants will be notified of their admission decision via the applicant portal. Those offered admissions will be asked to communicate their decision.

Admission Requirements

Applications for admission are only accepted for the Fall Term each year. The requirements for admission are:

Prior Degree

All applicants must have the educational equivalent of at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science; information technology/systems; mathematics; statistics; engineering; finance; biomedical, health, or life sciences; or a related discipline from a regionally accredited university in the U.S.

Minimum Prior Coursework

The prior degree(s) must encompass the following minimum coursework requirements, in which applicants must have earned a grade of B or better:

  • Two semesters of college calculus, and one semester of linear algebra.
  • One semester of calculus-based statistics and/or probability at the college level
  • One semester of college-level computer programming fundamentals or one year of demonstrated, verifiable programming experience in a work setting.

Biomedical Data Science applicants should also have at least one semester of college-level biology or related coursework in the biological/health/life sciences.

Additional Recommended Prior Coursework and Experience

Additional coursework and/or experience is recommended, as outlined below:

Applicants for Biomedical Data Science Ph.D. program

  • Competency in a second focus area that complements the applicant’s previous degree(s) in one of the preferred fields identified above, as demonstrated by completion of a major, minor, or certificate in one of these areas. For example, applicants whose prior degree(s) are in one of the quantitative fields should ideally possess competency in a biological/biomedical/health sciences field, and applicants whose prior degree(s) is in a biological/biomedical/health sciences field should ideally possess competency in a quantitative field.

Applicants for both Ph.D. programs

  • Competency in a second focus area that complements the applicant’s previous degree(s) in one of the preferred fields identified above, as demonstrated by completion of a major, minor, or certificate in one of these areas. 
  • More advanced courses in mathematics and statistics, such as multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear programming, mathematical statistics, biostatistics, biomathematics/biophysics, and bioinformatics.
  • More advanced courses in computer science and/or software engineering beyond fundamentals that encompass the ideas of abstraction, modularity, object-oriented programming, data structures, and algorithm design.
  • Evidence of relevant research or work experience, including, but not limited to, demonstrated participation in data science/analytics projects, leadership of data, computing, or information systems/technology groups or teams, and artifacts such as authored research reports and journal publications that demonstrate the applicant’s research aptitude and verbal communication ability.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • All applicants possessing a baccalaureate degree only must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (on a 4-point scale) equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work).
  • Applicants possessing a master’s degree must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale).
  • Applicants possessing a baccalaureate degree plus some graduate work, but not a graduate degree, must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) individually in both sets of coursework. GPA should be based on scale of 4.0.

Other Qualifications

We may also consider other qualifications presented by applicants, such as strong oral, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills, as well as overall goodness-of-fit for the Ph.D. program.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

International applicants must hold a degree comparable to a regionally accredited US baccalaureate or master’s degree. Applicants submitting transcripts from international colleges and universities are required to have them verified for US degree program equivalency before being considered for admission. Verification from the following organizations is acceptable:

  • International Education Services (IES)
  • World Education Services (WES)
  • Global Credential Evaluators (GCE)
  • Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

The decision of the verifying organization must be transmitted directly to Meharry Medical College in electronic form.

International applicants must provide an English proficiency test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Scores must be submitted directly and electronically to Meharry Medical College.

Transfer Students

Applicants who are enrolled in a Ph.D. program in biomedical data science or related field outside Meharry Medical College may apply for Meharry’s BDS Ph.D. program as a transfer student. Transfer students are subject to the admissions requirements stated above; and therefore, the transfer track is only recommended for first- or second-year graduate students. Applicants transferring from another institution and who are in good standing at that institution are exempt from the graduate admission exam and TOEFL requirements. A recommendation letter from the previous advisor or program director is required. A maximum of six (6) credit hours can be transferred. For more information, please contact The Office of Enrollment Management at

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