Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

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About Us


The Cornell University Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary umbrella program consisting of outstanding graduate students, alongside their world-renowned faculty mentors and other research professionals, conducting state-of-the-art basic, clinical and translational life sciences research.  Housed in the heart of biomedical research at the Cornell-Ithaca campus in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the BBS program takes advantage of outstanding research facilities, the vibrant Cornell undergraduate campus and strong links to the Weill Cornell Medical College campus in New York City.  The BBS Program fosters a nurturing, student-centered community of scholars that is accessible, engaging and committed to ensuring that our graduate students reach their full potential in research, teaching and professional development.      

The BBS Program offers Ph.D. degrees in 5 graduate fields.

Ten Reasons to Consider the Cornell BBS Program

OUR ACADEMIC VALUES - Cornell’s graduate education mission and structure is unique among its peer institutions in that it is highly individualized and focused on “freedom with responsibility.”  BBS students are able to create their own research programs and choose from among the more than 1000 graduate faculty members across the University to serve on their Special Committees.  Our philosophy of academic freedom with responsibility helps our students become flexible, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary thinkers.  The BBS Program structure is interdisciplinary by design, which creates a truly individualized educational experience. 

OUR FACULTY - As a leading research institution, Cornell prides itself on the quality and diversity of its 1000+ faculty members.  Within Cornell’s BBS program, scientists, researchers and professors from across the globe have come together to conduct research on cancer, cardiovascular biology, epidemiology, infection and immunity, genetics and genomics, neuroscience and reproductive biology, among other health-related and biomedical sciences.  BBS faculty members also have been consistently well-funded.  From 2012-2013 the BBS program faculty were supported by nearly $31 million in sponsored grants and contracts, which came from a variety of resources, such as NIH, NSF, USDA, foundations and corporations.  Although BBS faculty members are among the world’s foremost scientists, BBS students have noted how approachable they are and how enthusiastically they embrace teaching and working with students and other faculty, staff and trainees. 

OUR NURTURING COMMUNITY - BBS students, faculty and staff enjoy a great sense of community within the program and at Cornell in general.  Our current students are exciting and interesting individuals, who are intellectually engaging and extremely motivated, yet grounded to a sincere commitment to helping others.  The Directors of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Education staff are dedicated to the continued creation of a positive and supportive graduate student experience.  In addition, Cornell University has developed resource centers for a variety of student populations to support students from every walk of life.  For a full list of the different resource centers, please look here.

OUR RESEARCH CONNECTIONS - Housed in the heart of biomedical research on the Cornell-Ithaca campus in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the BBS program takes advantage of outstanding research facilities, the vibrant Cornell undergraduate campus and strong links to the Weill Cornell Medical College campuses in New York City and Qatar.  Through the formalized Linkage Program, our students can spend time at the New York City campus, learning specific technical skills or working with specific faculty.  In addition to our connections with the medical college, our students and faculty also have collaborations across the country and internationally.

OUR FACILITIES - The 289,989 square feet Veterinary Medical Center, to which all BBS students have access, includes four floors of superbly equipped research laboratories, shared equipment areas, conference rooms, faculty offices, and administrative support space.  The Veterinary Research Tower encloses nine floors of similarly defined space.  In addition, the Baker Institute for Animal Health more than doubled its operating space in 2002 with the opening of a $12 million research wing.  As a BBS student, you would also have access to a variety of state-of-the-art specialized core facilities across campus.  For a comprehensive listing of our research facilities, please look here.

OUR FUNDING - The BBS Program is FULLY funded (that’s tuition, health insurance and stipend) and the cost-of-living in Ithaca is much lower than in larger cities!  For 2014-15, students received a stipend of $31,033/year. Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you will be able to earn a PhD degree without accruing any additional debt!

OUR SETTING - Ithaca was ranked the #1 Collegetown in the United States by USA Today!  From the beautiful gorges to Cayuga Lake to the shops on the Commons, Ithaca has a lot of fun and interesting activities for you to experience on and off campus.  Ithaca is also known for its excellent cuisine.  Despite its small-town status, Ithaca, NY, has more restaurants per capita than New York City.  Whether you’re hungering for some vegetarian delicacies or a juicy cheeseburger, Ithaca has got you covered.

OUR EXTRACURRICULARS - With over 7,000 graduate and professional students, as well as hundreds of student groups, you will be able to find a group of students with interests similar to yours.  Whether you would like to volunteer within the community or pursue your newfound love of belly-dancing, there are people and groups eager for you to join at Cornell.

OUR HISTORY - Founded by Ezra Cornell in 1865, Cornell University has remained committed to Ezra’s original belief that all students should be able to pursue research and scholarship in any area.  Since that time, the Graduate School has become home to nearly 7000 graduate and professional students, over 1000 exceptional graduate faculty members, and over 100 different graduate fields.  Only at Cornell will you be able to take a completely active role in the development of your research path, as many of students before you have done.

OUR LEGACY - A degree from Cornell University will open doors for you.  Not only is the BBS program housed in the number one ranked veterinary college according to US News and World Report, but Cornell was ranked 11th among schools that offer graduate degrees in the biological sciences. Following graduation, many of our students go on to post-doctoral positions in top-tier academic programs and national organizations such as the NIH, as well as private-sector biological and biomedical companies.  Ultimately, the vast majority of our alumni have successful careers in science.  In fact, since the BBS program was developed in 2003, 87% of our graduates have secured positions in industry, academia or government.  With a doctoral degree from Cornell University you will immediately become part of a network of exceptional scientists and scholars committed to improving human and animal health.