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Graduate School at University of Colorado Denver

The Graduate School at UC Denver
About BSP

About the Biomedical Sciences Program

Program requirements, activities and choices for first year BSP students

As members of our "umbrella" program you will have access to over 150 faculty in thirteen different PhD programs. For more details, please visit our programs section of our web site. When you submit your application, please select two programs in order of your preference (i.e. 1 or 2). These selections will not limit your research choices if admitted as a BSP student. Rather your program selections will help us to find out more about your interests and ensure that when you interview, your visit will be as productive as possible.

The Biomedical Sciences Program (BSP) at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, is an umbrella admissions process designed to provide incoming students with the greatest amount of flexibility in choosing a course of study. During their first year, BSP Fellows enroll in a comprehensive graduate core course and selected electives in a discipline of their interest. BSP students also conduct three laboratory research rotations concurrent with their enrollment in the graduate Core Course. Students may rotate with any three members of the faculty who participate in the Biomedical Sciences Program. Please visit the faculty section of our web site to explore the vast array of faculty in BSP.


Learning Outcomes

The Biomedical Sciences Program trains graduate students to become proficient and successful investigators who are able to: 

  1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of central concepts in the biomedical sciences.
  2. Understand the current concepts in basic sciences.
  3. Read and critically evaluate the scientific literature.
  4. Formulate hypotheses based on current concepts in the field and design, conduct, and interpret their own research projects.
  5. Develop ancillary skills, where necessary, to obtain positions outside of scientific research.

At the end of the first year, following successful completion of the graduate course curriculum and preliminary exam, BSP students will select a thesis mentor and join one of the following programs: 

  •  Cancer Biology
  •  Cell Biology, Stem Cell and Development
  • Computational Bioscience
  •  Human Medical Genetics
  •  Immunology
  •  Microbiology
  •  Molecular Biology
  •  Neuroscience
  •  Pharmacology
  •  Physiology & Biophysics
  •  Reproductive Sciences Program
  •  Structural Biology & Biophysics


Required Coursework
All students are required to enroll in a comprehensive cell and molecular biology core course. Electives should be selected to fulfill the requirements of the programs in which the student might be continuing their study in the following years. Many electives may cover requirements for multiple programs. Please contact the programs you are interested in for the information regarding their elective requirements. Please visit our Programs site for a quick link to each program affiliated with the Biomedical Sciences Program.

Journal Club
BSP students are required to participate in a weekly journal club guided and moderate by one or more of the BSP faculty. Each session, one student will present a brief summary review of a journal article relevant to the topic being studied each semester. The attending BSP students will participate in guided discussion on the journal article.

Lab Rotations
Laboratory skills are necessary for successful completion of any of the participating PhD programs. Three laboratory rotations are required of first year students, running concurrently with the graduate core curriculum. First-year students may choose to perform laboratory rotations with any of the lab faculty participating in the BSP program. After acceptance into the program, rotations begin in the fall semester. At the end of each rotation students in BSP present a short oral presentation on their work to the other students and faculty.

Thesis Research
A laboratory for thesis research is usually selected at the end of the first year from one of the three labs the students rotated with. Thesis requirements are outlined by the individual programs and departments.

Preliminary and Qualifying Exams
The preliminary examination at the end of the first year of graduate school will be administered by the specific program that the student chooses to join. The directors of BSP will provide the students guidance as to how to choose the graduate program in which they will perform their thesis work, and in courses to take to prepare for their program specific preliminary examination. At some point during the second or third year, students must also take an oral qualifying exam in order to advance to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Pre-Application Form
If you have not already done so, please fill out our Pre-Application Form. It gives us some information about who is interested in this program and it also gives you a first chance to present some of your achievements. To fill out the form please click here.

Contact the Biomedical Sciences Program, please use the following information:
Biomedical Sciences Program

Heide Ford, PhD, BSP Director
University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus
Phone: 303-724-3565 • Fax: 303-724-3663
Street Address: 12800 19th St, RC1-North, P18-6101
Mailing Address: RC1 North, Mailstop 8303, 12800 19th St, RC1-North, P18-6101 , Aurora, Co 80045

You may also, BSP Program Administrator by e-mailing:


Biomedical Sciences Program

Phone: 303-724-3565 • Fax: 303-724-3663
Street Address: 12800 19th St, RC1-North, P18-6101
Mailing Address: RC1 North, Mailstop 8303, 12800 19th St, RC1-North, P18-6101 , Aurora, Co 80045
Faculty & Staff Directory
Heide Ford, PhD, Program Director
Bruce Appel, PhD Co-Director
Elizabeth Bowen, Program Administrator
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