Biomedical Graduate Studies was established in 1985 and serves as the academic home within the University of Pennsylvania for roughly 700 students pursuing a PhD in the basic biomedical sciences. Although BGS is housed within the School of Medicine, it is composed of more than 600 faculty members across seven Penn schools and several associated institutes. BGS provides training and administration through seven graduate groups, some of which have distinct sub-specialty areas. Each graduate group has its own training mission, leadership, and staff, but there is often significant overlap among the groups in respect to faculty membership, courses offered, policies, and procedures. BGS provides centralized support to the graduate groups for admissions, student fellowships, curricular oversight, record-keeping, and other operations.
BGS students receive a full fellowship, which covers tuition, fees, health insurance, and an annual stipend of $30,500 (effective September 1, 2012). Of the students who enrolled 10 years ago (in 2003), 85% completed the PhD. Their average time to degree was 5.83 years.