Graduate Education

Graduate Education Office, School of Medicine, RM TG-1
Phone: 216.368.5655; Fax: 216.368.0795
Marvin Nieman, PhD, FAHA, Vice Dean for Graduate Education

The School of Medicine is proud to administer doctoral, master's, professional and certificate graduate programs in the biomedical sciences, described fully in this bulletin under their departmental or center affiliations. The Graduate Education Office provides support and information on the graduate and postdoctoral training programs in the School of Medicine, as well as professional skill development and training grant proposal support. Resources for proposal development as well as current training information are available at the SOM Graduate Education Office website.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has a strong commitment to the importance of diversity in its research and educational programs. The CWRU community celebrates how our individual diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender identity enhances our work together. CWRU programs welcome diverse individuals, including those individuals of racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical science, those with physical disabilities, and those with disadvantaged backgrounds.

Common Academic Requirements

Each graduate program follows the overall regulations established and described in Graduate Studies Academic Requirements pages and documented to the Regents of the State of Ohio.  In particular, students and faculty are directed to sections regarding Academic Requirements for Master’s and Doctoral Degrees regarding total and graded course requirements, dissertation advisory committees, maintenance of quality-point average, and other general aspects of graduate study at CWRU. Within those overall expectations, a specific course of study for each graduate program is required and described in each degree plan of study.

Guiding Principles for Graduate Education in the School of Medicine

Training and educating graduate students in the biomedical sciences is a complex process that continually evolves based on the rapid progression of scientific discovery and ever expanding technological landscape. Graduate programs must continually modify their approaches to meet these modern-day needs. Students are expected to master their overall discipline, become experts in their field of research, as well as gain expertise in a diverse, but interrelated professional skill set.  That skill set should be clearly defined, widely communicated and integrated across all PhD disciplines at CWRU SOM.  Moreover, a set of common principles or goals for educating all graduate students in the SOM helps to guide our programs in course or curriculum development.  The School of Medicine Graduate Education Office, in collaboration with the graduate program directors, developed a formal set of Guiding Principles for the education and training of all PhD students in order to help accomplish these important goals.   

Graduate Admissions to School of Medicine Programs

Graduate students are admitted to our programs through several streams, including the Biomedical Sciences Training Program, the Medical Scientist Training Program, dual-degree initiatives, and direct admission to specific programs (please see individual program entries under their affiliated department pages).  Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Scholars are appointed through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Student Affinity Groups

Graduate students interact in vibrant groups in the School of Medicine including:

Biomedical Graduate Student Organization (BGSO)

The Biomedical Graduate Student Organization (BGSO) seeks to unite biomedical graduate students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in various biomedical graduate programs in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, with the ultimate goal of enriching the student experience and promoting career and professional development.

What We Do: 

Promote greater career and professional development
Promote more interaction between graduates and professionals of the School of Medicine
Ease the transition into graduate school by creating a "survival guide"

Get Involved! 

It's your graduate career - why not make sure you get what you want out of it? As a graduate student, you can get involved by becoming a representative for your department or coming to monthly meetings. Please email us for more information or attend our next meeting.

Highlights include:

Hosted the following professional development seminars - "Funding 101: Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students", "Scientific Journalism", "Life as a Forensic Scientist", "Planning Your Graduate Years and the Individual Development Plan", "A Day in the Life of a Biotech Scientist"
Hosted New Student Acclimation Luncheons - "Everything You Need to Know About Research Rotations and Surviving C3MB", "Surviving Grad School", and "Choosing a Thesis Lab and Department"
The Community Outreach & Volunteering Committee participated in the following events - Homeless Stand Down 2010 through InterAct Cleveland, School Supplies Drive, and teaching a DNA Lab to underprivileged girls at an inner-city middle school in conjunction with the Department of Genetics
Social events included a party at Dive Bar, a pasta dinner social, and group outing to Wicked

In addition, doctoral students in the School of Medicine organize the annual Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium.

Graduate Student Council (GSC)

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) is the governing body for all graduate students at CWRU.  The aim is to enrich your experience at CWRU in every way possible. We connect students through social and professional events, provide funding and assistance for their initiatives, and work to ensure that they are treated as valued members of the campus community.

Minority Graduate Student Organization

The Minority Graduate Student Organization promotes, engages and advances underrepresented minority graduate and postdoctoral trainees in the various fields of biomedical research within the Case Western Reserve University community, in the greater Cleveland area, and in the nation.

Professional Development

The Graduate Education Office provides professional development opportunities for trainees including:

Professional Development Seminar Series

In the Graduate Education Office at the School of Medicine, we see the importance of developing our trainees not just in their academic studies but also in the development of trainees as professionals, strengthening their soft skills (leadership, teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence, etc.) that are vital in whatever career path they choose post-graduation. This seminar series is the combination of what was formerly known as Career Opportunities for Trainee Series (COTS) and The Professional Enrichment for Trainee Series (PETS).  

This series incorporates a wide range intended to meet the needs of our School of Medicine master’s and doctoral students as well as our postdocs. The content of this series provides the following opportunities aimed at  our trainee’s personal career growth and professional development:

  • Introduce career paths that are available to biomedical graduates; Local, regional and national leaders are invited to speak on career trajectories, daily activities, additional training needed to enter this career path while investigating affordances and limitations to varied career paths. Sessions culminate in networking opportunities with speakers in an informal setting.
  • Develop core competencies of leadership, entrepreneurship, communication skills, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, teamwork and other key areas necessary for our trainee’s professional development.
  • Provide workshops and seminars for individuals that are planning to go to medical school, dental school or other allied health professionals, geared to better prepare our students and optimize their application experience yielding successful results. 

Pre-Professional Health Seminar Series 

The pre-professional health seminar series is geared for students who plan to go on to medical school, dental school or other allied health professions. Through workshops and seminars, we can help you make these applications less intimidating and you more prepared.

Mental Wellness & Resilience Seminar Series

The mental wellness and resilience seminar series is designed to provide trainees with the tools to develop coping mechanisms to manage and reduce stress.

Leadership and Professional Development Skills for Biomedical Sciences

MGRD 425 was designed to give graduate students in the biomedical and health sciences an opportunity to reflect on their professional skills and develop skills in the area of leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. This course is typically offered each semester. It is a zero credit course that meets once a week. 

The Enhancing Research and Industry Career Horizons (EnRICH) Program

The CWRU School of Medicine EnRICH Program provides career guidance and support to PhD and Master’s students pursuing biomedical science degrees and simultaneously develops partnerships with organizations and mentors who recognize the skills of such students. A mentor and student spend time together for a paid or non-paid work or exposure experience that is beneficial to both the employer and student. The timeframe and duration of the experience are flexible where the mentor and student agree on the duration of the work experience and to an hourly and weekly work schedule. During the experience, students will clarify career goals as s/he; realizes the results of applied skills in a non-academic career, identifies ways to adapt skills for a variety of occupations and work environments, gains broader perspectives of careers that require his or her skills and talents, identifies ways to adapt skills for a variety of occupations and work environments, learns the business side of science and technology, and develops personal and interpersonal skills for relationship building to broaden professional networks. For more information, contact

The Expanding Teaching Experiences for Doctoral Students (ExTEnD) Program

The ExTEnD program, open to all doctoral students at the CWRU School of Medicine, provides a way for graduate students to get formal experience in teaching at the university or college level by providing training and experiences in post-secondary education.

Students in this program complete program requirements by:

  • Attending a one-semester seminar-style class taught by Educational Student Services to learn the basics of curricular design, development, and delivery


  • Completing two “significant” teaching experiences, such as:

– Guest lecturing at least 5 class hours

– Co-teaching a course at CWRU or another accredited university

– Facilitating small group sessions for certain approved courses

– Other teaching experiences as approved

  • Obtaining students feedback on each of the teaching experiences

Students completing program requirements will get a formal letter from the program director stating their completion of the program, as well as experiences, gained and feedback received as part of the program. For more information, email

Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club (BIEC)

Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship club (BIEC) was created to provide graduate students, postdocs and research staff with the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and commercialization in the biomedical sector. The main goal of this club is to break down the barrier between academia and industry, allowing young researchers to explore their interest in developing their own products or start their own company. Every third Wednesday of the month, local experts are invited to introduce the basics of commercialization such as intellectual property, regulatory, finances available at CWRU, and entrepreneurship opportunities here at CWRU to our trainees, and each meeting is wrapped up with a networking session. For more information, email

CWRU Venture Mentor Program (CVMP)

The CWRU Venture Mentor Program (CVMP) provides team mentoring to CWRU and affiliate young faculty, students, and staff from a pool of local experts in a wide range of industries. Our process stems from the MIT Venture Mentor Service, a hugely successful program that has spawned over 100 similar programs across the U.S and around the world. Their processes are shown to provide a more likely chance that the venture will succeed, and that mentoring works best in a conflict-free, confidential, safe environment. For more information, email