PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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Admission for the PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences for the 2019-2020 academic year is now closed. For information about applying for the 2020-2021 academic year, please continue to monitor this site as we will post information in a few months.

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PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Doctoral program in applied areas of biological and biomedical sciences.

Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Qatar faces a unique set of health care challenges. Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular conditions as well as mental health issues are in constant progression in Qatar and the region. While these diseases seem unrelated to each other, recent findings clearly established that their high prevalence in many areas of the world in general, and in Qatar in particular, is due to a combination of environmental pollution and heredity factors. The elevated levels of consanguineous marriages in Qatar and the Gulf region promote the expression of genetic mutations that trigger or favor these diseases, yet many of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved remain elusive.

In order to counter some of these challenges, HBKU's graduate programs in the biological and biomedical sciences aim to train the next generation of scientists and encourage the best and most distinguished students to pursue leading positions in the biomedical research field in Qatar. The overriding goal of the of the HBKU Biological and Biomedical Sciences Master and PhD Programs is to assemble the knowledge and skills that enable students to design scientific research and hone technical expertise to create new knowledge. Successful students will have transversal and scientific skills in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics, Cancer Biology, Neuroscience and Bioinformatics. These skills will be used to carry out basic or applied research in clinical, academic, industrial or other fields.


Outline for the BBS PhD program


Year 1 Semester 1 Semester 1 : Core Classes  
Semester 2 Semester 2 : Core and elective Classes Semester 2 : BEGIN DISSERTATION RESEARCH
  RAC Meeting
Year 2 Semester 3 Semester 3 : Elective Classes Semester 3 : DISSERTATION RESEARCH Semester 3 : RAC meeting
Semester 4 Semester 4 DISSERTATION RESEARCH Semester 4 : RAC meeting
Year 3 Semester 5 Semester 5 : DISSERTATION RESEARCH Semester 5 : RAC meeting
Semester 6 Semester 6 DISSERTATION RESEARCH Semester 6 : RAC meeting
Year 4-5 Semester 7 Semester 7 : DISSERTATION RESEARCH Semester 7 : RAC meeting
Semester 8-10 Semester 6 DISSERTATION RESEARCH  



Students take their core and elective course requirements in the first two to three semesters in the program and should aim to begin their thesis research no later than the second semester in the program.

During their tenure in the PhD program, students will have regular meetings with their Research Advisory Committee (RAC) - a committee that will give advice and help oversee the student’s progress.

In Year 2, students take the Qualifying Examination. This exam determines whether the student is ready to begin a period of research aimed towards a PhD. The examination provides the Qualifying Examination Committee and the student with means to assess the student’s mastery of the basic body of knowledge and development of the breadth and depth of scholarship that is expected of PhD candidates.

After Year 3, students take the Candidacy Examination. This exam allows the Graduate Advisory Committee to thoroughly examine the student's preparation for dissertation research. Successful completion of the Candidacy Examination indicates that the student has a broad and in-depth background in biomedical sciences. It marks the watershed from taking courses to being a full-time researcher.

To obtain their PhD, a student will have to write their dissertation and successfully defend it orally.


A 54-credit program, taught in English over four to five years, that includes:

  • Core Courses

  • Elective Courses

View Admission & Application Requirements