The Ph.D. program in Biological Design seeks to develop a new type of scientist by training students in core disciplines related to biology while simultaneously preparing them to participate successfully in the interdisciplinary research teams of the future. The research emphasis is on projects that are use-inspired, contributing directly to solutions for important societal challenges. This is a highly mentored program of personalized study that provides significant interaction with the large and vibrant research community at ASU and with partner organizations locally and nationally.

The research opportunities within the program address urgent, societally-relevant challenges. Examples include:

  • Faster, more accurate detection and diagnosis of disease
  • Personalized treatments that reduce side-effects
  • Sustainable energy sources

This program is jointly offered through ASU’s Biological Design Institute , the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences , and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Students are expected to complete the program in 4-5 years. Students accepted into the Biological Design Ph.D. program will be supported by the program in the first year and through a combination of research and teaching assistantships through the remainder of their studies. View faculty in the program

Degrees Offered

Tempe campus
Tempe, Arizona

Application Deadlines


Priority – December 15


Priority – August 31

Financing Your Education

Fellowships through ASU and external resources, along with research and teaching assistant positions, offer many alternatives to fund your education expenses at ASU—often for multiple years or even the full course of study. Fellowship resources are limited, and many fellowships require U.S. citizenship or the right to work in the United States.

Fellowships are awarded on a highly competitive basis as part of the graduate program application process.

Financial Aid
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.

Is the Biological Design degree right for you?

ASU also offers separate degrees in biological sciences, physical sciences and engineering. The Biological Design degree is designed to coalesce the training opportunity for Ph.D. students whose goal is to focus heavily on “grand challenge” innovations via multidisciplinary partnerships. If your interest is in working in a team setting on large projects, Biological Design is a great choice.

A New Approach

Advances in human and environmental health are increasingly dependent on large, interdisciplinary teams working together. The need for big science requires profound changes in how research is organized and funded and in the way future scientists are educated. The good news is that, through more collaborative science, the PhD students of today have an opportunity to contribute more significantly than ever before to the quality of life on Earth for generations to come. Arizona State University has taken advantage of an unmatched ability to build a graduate program around this rapidly emerging new trajectory for science. Thanks to our comparatively recent emergence as a research university, we’ve been able to build interdisciplinary programs from the ground up, avoiding the need to deconstruct long-standing programs created around traditional academic silos.

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.
ASU Graduate Standards
Fulton Schools of Engineering