Prospective Students

We are accepting PhD and master’s students. Interested students are encouraged to send an email to Dr Chen Liang ( before applying to our graduate programs.


Position: Graduate Research Assistant

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. Research topics include clinical outcomes of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, Electronic Health Records (EHR) based data mining and knowledge discovery. The GRA will assist in a wide range of research activities including study design, implementation, data analysis, manuscript writing. 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.
  • 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 and behavioral 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).
  • 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).

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 Dr 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. Qualified applicants should pay close attention to the deadlines of application. At the University of South Carolina, many other scholarships are made available to our students.
  • 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.
  • Department-level support - The Department of Health Services Policy & Management offers a number of teaching assistantship and scholarships to outstanding PhD applicants.
  • Support from Research Centers - Multiple research centers offer fellowship programs that fund PhD students, including South Carolina SmartState Centers.