Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program (IBiS) The Graduate School Northwestern University

Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program (IBiS) The Graduate School Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Not Reported
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
Tuition Cost Not Reported
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
December 15
fall application deadline
Not Reported
acceptance rate
8 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


IBiS Promotes Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research for Students

Northwestern University's Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) Program is located on Northwestern's beautiful lakeside main campus, just 12 miles from downtown Chicago. This unique program integrates the life sciences with other basic science disciplines, including chemistry, physics, engineering and nanotechnology, to promote powerful new approaches for addressing fundamental questions in biological and biomedical sciences

The IBiS Ph.D. degree program trains students from diverse backgrounds, including biology, engineering, and chemistry, to pursue innovative and truly interdisciplinary life science research using state of the art approaches. The program is designed to foster the development of students into independent and creative scientists and teachers. Trainees pursue research in a broad spectrum of areas including cell and molecular biology, structural biology and biophysics, developmental systems biology, biochemistry, synthetic biology, biotechnology, neurobiology, and nanotechnology. IBiS combines an interactive and collaborative research environment, award winning faculty members who are leaders in their fields, and a flexible, yet rigorous, curriculum to provide exceptional training and research opportunities. The emphasis on cutting-edge, multidisciplinary technologies prepares IBiS students for success in the rapidly evolving life and biomedical sciences disciplines.

Increasingly, the life sciences require interdisciplinary approaches in order to make essential progress in understanding normal cellular processes, diseases such as cancer, and the development of complex systems. With closely connected faculty members from life sciences, chemistry, and engineering departments, and with strong ties to numerous interdisciplinary centers including the Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, the Center for Cell and Developmental Systems Biology, the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, and the Center for Structural Biology, IBiS promotes innovative research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries.

To maximize research opportunities, IBiS collaborates with the Driskill Graduate Program (DGP), on Northwestern University's Medical School campus to sponsor NULaBS, (Northwestern University Life and Biomedical Sciences), allowing students to seamlessly pursue coursework or laboratory rotations on either campus and take full advantage of the impressive array of resources available across all of Northwestern. After the first year of coursework and laboratory rotations, students identify dissertation laboratories and participate in cross-campus research clusters to facilitate collaboration and depth of training in their area of specialization. IBiS students are fully supported, including competitive stipends, health and dental benefits, moving allowances, and generous scientific travel allowances, for as long as they remain students in good standing.

IBiS Faculty Members

A major strength of IBiS is its uniquely interdisciplinary faculty, drawn from the departments of Molecular Biosciences, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Neurobiology. IBiS faculty members are leaders in their fields. They share a strong commitment to training the next generation of scientists and creating a highly collaborative interdisciplinary research environment that fosters the development of novel technologies and approaches to addressing important questions in biomedical sciences. IBiS faculty members are also highly committed to teaching; IBiS core course and electives are small, interactive, and taught by individual faculty members in their areas of expertise, not "teams" of teachers. IBiS faculty members provide strong advising and mentoring throughout the Ph.D. degree program studies, and use Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to help students assemble programs of study that best fit them and their goals, and ensure that students achieve at their highest levels.

IBiS Students

IBiS students come from diverse backgrounds that together create an environment where students learn from each other. The IBiS Student Organization (ISO) provides a forum through which students can benefit from each other's expertise throughout their Ph.D. studies and beyond. The ISO sponsors a monthly student seminar series where students present their research in an informal "work in progress" format without faculty members present, to get input and feedback from their peers as well as student-invited seminar speakers. The ISO sponsors social events to promote interactions outside the lab, not only among IBiS students, but also graduate students and faculty members from across Northwestern. IBiS students produce outstanding thesis work that is published in the top scientific journals and graduates are prepared for a diverse array of career options.

Career Development Opportunities

IBiS is dedicated to providing comprehensive career development support to help students reach their career goals. IBiS co-sponsors the BioProfessionals Career Program to expose students to the wide array of career opportunities available to them upon completion of the Ph.D. degree program including: The "Pathway to the Professoriate" Series to prepare students for future faculty member positions; "Biosurvival Skills" workshops to foster scientific presentation, grant writing, and interviewing skills; and the "BioOpportunities" program to expose students to the diverse array of career opportunities available to students with life sciences Ph.D. degrees.

IBiS students can also take advantage of an array of additional training opportunities. Students interested in teaching careers can participate in a Teaching Certificate program offered by Northwestern's Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching. This fosters teaching and curriculum development skills, and prepares students to teach a Northwestern Undergraduate course. IBiS students with entrepreneurial interests can earn a certificate in "Business Management for Scientists and Engineering" through Northwestern's renowned Kellogg School of Management. Trainees in the Biotechnology Training Program can participate in 3-6 month internships in the industry to gain in depth exposure to commercial biotechnology research.

Research Facilities

IBiS provides access to and training in cutting edge facilities that support research in the Life and Biomedical Sciences including:

The Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging (CAMI) contains state-of-the-art equipment for a full range of in vivo biological imaging from subcellular structures to small animals.

The Computational, Modeling and Bioinformatics Center (CMBC) provides state-of-the-art analytical support for the development of data analysis methods and modeling of data.

The Keck Biophysics Facility is equipped with advanced instruments for biophysical and biochemical characterization of macromolecules and their interactions.

The Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery (CMIDD) brings together biologists and synthetic and medicinal chemists to enable the translation of basic science discoveries to potential new therapeutics.

The Proteomics Center of Excellence provides state of the art analysis of proteomic samples.

The High Throughput Analysis Robotics Facility (HTA) is equipped for high throughput robotic biological analysis and screening.

Location & Contact

Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program (IBiS)

The Graduate School
Northwestern University

633 Clark Street
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Dr. Deborah Klos Dehring

Associate Director

Phone: 847-467-0451

Ms. Cathy Prullage

Program Manager

Phone: 847-491-4301

Request More Info

Degrees & Awards

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Bioengineering And Biotechnology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Bioengineering ]
    • Biotechnology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Biotechnology ]
    • Biochemistry Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Biochemistry ]
    • Structural Biology And Biophysics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Structural Biology ]
    • Cell And Molecular Biology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Cell Biology ]
    • Nanotechnology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    • Neurobiology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Neurobiology ]
    • Developmental And Systems Biology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) [Developmental Biology ]
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Thesis Required and qualifying exam
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied Not Reported
    • Accepted Not Reported
    • Acceptance Rate Not Reported
    • Enrolled Not Reported
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $95
    • Application Fee - International $95
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline December 15th December 15th Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesNot Reported
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 600 paper based

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsDecember 31
    • Types of financial support availableCareer or Field-Related Internships, Health Care Benefits, Institutionally-sponsored Loans, Scholarship and/or loans, Traineeships, Graduate Assistantships


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchBiophysics/structural biology, cell/molecular biology, synthetic biology, developmental systems biology, chemical biology/nanotechnology
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported


Log in to Peterson's

Forgot your password?

To reset your password, simply enter your email address in the field below and click the Reset Password button. You will receive an email with a link and instructions to reset your password.

Check your email

Please check your email and click on the link provided in the message to reset your password.


I certify that I am the subscriber to the provided cellular or other wireless number and I authorize {{SchoolName}} and its representatives and agents to contact me regarding educational opportunities at any current and future numbers that I provide for my cellular telephone or other wireless device using automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded messages, and/or SMS text messages, even if I will be charged by my service provider(s) for receiving such communications. Consent is not a condition for receiving more information from {{SchoolName}}, and I understand that if I no longer wish to receive communications, I will need to contact {{SchoolName}} to alter this consent.

Disagree Agree
Petersons Monthly Scholarship

Application season is here, and it's time to think about scholarships!

Apply in 1-min or less for Peterson's $1,000 scholarship sweepstakes to help cover education expenses.