Prospective Students

We are accepting PhD and master’s students.


Position: Graduate Research Assistant (expired; for reference only)

Job summary: This position is supported by funds from Dr. Chen Liang. The GRA will provide research support to projects on medical informatics and public health informatics. The GRA will assist in a wide range of research activities including study design, implementation, data analysis, scientific writing/publication/presentation. As part of Dr. Liang’s team, the GRA will work with faculty and students from the University of South Carolina and other institutes in collaboration. The GRA is required to attend lab meetings and expected to report research progress on a regular basis. This position requires an individual who has strong work and research ethics, is self-motivated and accountable, and can work both independently and as part of a team.

Basic qualifications:

  • Strong motivation.
  • Master’s or Doctoral graduate students in good academic standing.
  • Working knowledge in any of these fields: health/biomedical informatics, computer science, information science, statistics, or other quantitative domains.
  • Basic understanding in any of these fields: health sciences, behavioral sciences, or social sciences.
  • Good academic writing and oral communication in English.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience in public health, medicine, and other fields in health sciences.
  • Experience in at least one programing language (e.g., Python, R, Java, etc.).
  • Experience in any of these methods: health data analysis, machine learning, natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge extraction, semantic web ontology, and statistical methods.
  • Evidenced research experience (e.g., previous research assistantships, publications, etc.).

Compensation & Benefits: Compensation is commensurate with qualification and experience. The position offers office space, computers, tuition benefits, and other benefits in accordance with regulations at the University and Arnold School of Public Health.

Application procedures:

  • Send (1) a letter of interest, (2) CV, (3) contact of references, and (4) a copy of representative publication (optional) to Chen Liang (
  • Include “RA application - your name” in the Subject.

Resources for Prospective Students

Research Environment

  • Arnold School of Public Health is home to $38.2 million in funding from external sponsors, including $32.7 million of research funding of which $18 million is from the National Institutes of Health as of 2019 fiscal year. Students are exposed to a variety of research activities including mentored projects, cross-disciplinary collaborations, research seminars, and conference presentations.
  • Students are encouraged to publish and present their research at prestigious academic conferences. Students with accepted conference papers can apply for travel grants from (1) the Graduate School Travel Grants, (2) Arnold School Travel Grants, and (3) the Department of Health Services Policy & Management.
  • Students are also encouraged to applying for internal funding and awards for their research projects.

Funding Opportunities for Students

Strong PhD applicants are typically provided with sufficient financial support for the first year at their admission. The stipends come from different sources as listed below. There are openings of Teaching and Research Assistantships on a regular basis, which will support students towards completing the PhD program.

  • University-level support - Presidential Fellowship is available for talented PhD applicants. The stipend is $32,000 over four years for doctoral fellows. Find more information. Qualified applicants should pay close attention to the deadlines for applications. At the University of South Carolina, scholarships are made available to our students. Find more informatiuon.
  • School-level support - At Arnold School, the Arnold Fellowship ($10,000/year) is made available for outstanding students admitted to our PhD programs. In addition, there are a number of funded graduate assistantships, fellowships, and internships available on your way to pursuing a degree. Find more information.
  • Department-level support - The Department of Health Services Policy & Management offers a number of scholarships to outstanding PhD applicants.
    There are also Teaching Assistantships available for PhD students.
  • Support from Research Centers - Multiple research centers offer fellowship programs that fund PhD students, including South Carolina SmartState Centers.