Students enjoy a training approach that combines flexibility, choice and structure. Students select one of the eight interdisciplinary thematic programs for entry. They participate in an accelerated core course and select from a menu of elective course modules for increasingly specialized training, which is aligned with each theme focus and further tailored to the student's personal interests. They also have the opportunity to explore research rotations during the first year with any active GBS faculty member whose research is of interest. Students can change theme affiliation as their interests evolve. At the end of their first year, students select a research advisor and confirm theme affiliation for advanced training and completion of PhD requirements.

The GBS interdisciplinary theme structure allows an entering student to explore varied courses and to sample the research expertise of over 350 productive GBS faculty before they decide on a thesis research direction. Alternatively, it allows them to immediately begin to focus in-depth on the research area they wish to pursue. 

UAB is also one of only 23 institutions nation-wide to offer the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded Hughes Med to Grad Fellowship Program in translational research, with courses that complement the above first year curriculum and additional activities in subsequent years.  Competitive applicants to all GBS themes are eligible to apply for Hughes program participation and fellowships. UAB is also an invited participant in the new HHMI International Student Research Fellowship program.

The UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences community encompasses approximately 440 graduate students and 370 faculty.  Their affiliation with the 8 GBS interdisciplinary thematic programs listed above integrates more than 25 departments and 20 research Centers in the School of Medicine, partner Schools throughout the University, and the Southern Research Institute and HudsonAlpha, affiliated drug discovery and biotechnology institutes.

UAB is consistently among the top 20 institutions nationally for NIH research funding. It was cited among the top 10 for faculty productivity in biomedical sciences by the Chronicles of Higher Education and the top 5 "Best Places to Work in Academia" by The Scientist. UAB also ranks #3 in the nation for student diversity by the Princeton Review.

UAB graduate students are provided extensive institutional resources and high caliber of training to become exceptionally competitive for outstanding postdoctoral and professional positions.