The mission of KGI’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Applied Life Sciences in Claremont, CA, is to endow a select group of students with expertise in research areas relevant to applied bioscience, with the ability to use interdisciplinary tools and approaches to solve problems, and with the motivation to translate knowledge to beneficial applications to advance new horizons in the applied biosciences.

Before entering the PhD program, students must first identify a faculty member and an area of research that matches their skills and interests. Once encouraged by a KGI faculty member to apply, all applicants must have completed a master’s degree focused on applied life science.

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PhD Program Details

  • Students enrolled in this program will:

    • Learn to draw upon the unique interdisciplinary and applied educational foundation as they continue their studies.
    • Gain competence in the methods of scientific inquiry by conducting and communicating original research for their theses.
    • Become adept in the translation of discoveries in science and engineering into beneficial products and processes through exposure to industry issues and applied problems.
  • KGI offers two PhD Program Tracks:

    1. Applied PhD track – The student conducts PhD studies on KGI premises under supervision of Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences or School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences faculty. To foster interdisciplinary research, the student may have one or more research advisors. One advisor must be a KGI faculty member; additional advisors may be from collaborating institutions.
    2. Industry – Sponsored PhD track – The student is sponsored by a biotechnology or pharma company. This track involves the student conduct studies at the company site while periodically visiting KGI. In addition to the company research advisor, the student must be supervised by a KGI faculty advisor.
  • In response to the evolving research landscape and COVID-19 response, KGI embraces several mechanisms for students to pursue a PhD. Residential students in KGI labs must follow approved methods that include social distancing, cleaning protocols, and some staggered work-shifts. Students working on theoretical and/or computational work, as well as corporate-hosted students, are not expected to attend in-person activities.

  • Students who have completed a master’s degree in the applied sciences at KGI or in a similar master’s program with comparable learning objectives.

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Nan Jiang, a recent graduate of Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)’s Master of Science in Translational Medicine (MSTM) program, is pursuing an emergent field in breast cancer research that holds vital […]

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#152 – Dr. James Sterling on the PhD in Applied Life Sciences

In this episode of the KGI podcast, one of KGI’s founding faculty members, Dr. James Sterling, program director of the PhD in Applied Life Sciences program, discusses his various roles […]

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Dr. Animesh Ray Conducts Loam Bio-Sponsored Research on the Role of Soil Fungi in Reducing Carbon Emissions While Enhancing Plant Productivity

Loam Bio Pty. Ltd., an Australia/U.S. company with a focus on reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide through innovative agricultural practices, has funded research at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Professor Dr. Animesh […]

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Alumnus Dr. Jesse P. Frumkin Honored by Department of Commerce for Co-Developing Machine-Learning Algorithm to Analyze Patent Documents

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) alumnus Dr. Jesse P. Frumkin, PhD ’12, was recently selected as a co-recipient of the Gold Award from the Department of Commerce. The award honors the […]

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PhD Program Videos


"After graduating from KGI’s MBS program in 2013 with dual focus-tracks in bioprocessing and business, I had the opportunity to work at Baxter Healthcare and Genentech before joining BioMarin as a research associate. Based on my interest in pursuing a PhD degree coupled with support from BioMarin’s management, I was selected for KGI’s PhD program. Though the research journey was intellectually stimulating and daunting, the support from my immediate supervisors at BioMarin and KGI in every step made it possible for me to successfully complete and defend my PhD thesis to receive my diploma."
Michael Amadi
Process Development Scientist
PhD, '19

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If there’s anything we can do, be sure to connect with our admissions team. You can also check out more information on cost and aid and how to apply.