Mar 01, 2024  
2017-2018 Academic Bulletin (Catalog) (Jan 2018) 
2017-2018 Academic Bulletin (Catalog) (Jan 2018) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information


The College of Graduate Health Sciences  (CGHS) at UTHSC was organized as the Graduate School under the leadership of Dr. T. P. Nash, Jr., in 1923. The presentation of a master’s thesis by Ben King Hamed marked the formal beginning of the Graduate School in 1925 when the Graduate Committee at Knoxville accepted Hamed’s thesis for the MS with a major in Pharmacology. Subsequently, the graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree was approved for presentation in the School of Biological Sciences in 1928. Dr. E. Foster Williams was the first to complete the program and was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry in 1932. This was the first doctorate of philosophy awarded at any of the campuses of The University of Tennessee. Until 1960, the Graduate School in Memphis operated as a division of the Graduate School in Knoxville with Dr. R. H. Alden as Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School of Medical Sciences was then established as a separate entity with its own Graduate Council and bylaws. Dr. Alden was named the first dean. Graduate training was offered in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Biophysics, and Pathology. Later, programs in the Pharmaceutical Sciences were organized and included the academic disciplines of Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, and Health Science Administration (now Health Outcomes and Policy Research). In 2004, the Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences was created by combining the programs in Anatomy and Neurobiology, Molecular Sciences, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology (becoming the integrated Biomedical Sciences Program in 2011). Master’s and doctorate training in Biomedical Engineering, master’s programs in Epidemiology and Dental Science, and an academic doctorate in Nursing Science completed the graduate offerings up until July of 2009 when the PhD program in Speech and Hearing Science (physically located on the UTK campus) was added. An accelerated one-year master’s in Pharmacology began to be offered in 2010. The Graduate School became the College of Graduate Health Sciences in October 1987.


The mission of the College of Graduate Health Sciences is to improve the knowledge about human health through education, research, and public service, with an emphasis on improving the health of Tennesseans.

Dean’s Biography

The Dean of the College is Donald B. Thomason, PhD. Dr. Thomason received his B.A. in 1980 from the University of Virginia as a University Major (thesis titled “Mathematical Modeling in Biochemical Systems”) and a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics in 1986 from the University of California, Irvine. After postdoctoral research in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Dr. Thomason joined the faculty in the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1990. Dr. Thomason served as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College from 2007 until being appointed Dean in June 2012.

Administrative Structure

The executive and administrative head of the College of Graduate Health Sciences  is the Dean, who reports to the Chancellor of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The College’s senior administration consists of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Recruitment, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and Services. The Dean receives recommendations on college issues from the Graduate Studies Council. The Council is chaired by the Dean and consists of the Chair or Director of each program within the College, a representative from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and a student representative. The Council is advised by the following standing committees that are appointed by the Dean upon consultation with the other colleges: Credentials Committee and Curriculum Committee. The Graduate Studies Council is responsible for reviewing new courses and programs in the CGHS. The Council also recommends the appointment of faculty to the Dean. It is within the province of the Council, on its own initiative, to plan and to recommend the institution of programs of graduate instruction; to set standards of admission and curricula; and to assemble, organize, and interpret information pertaining to the graduate programs at UTHSC. Recommendations arising from these activities shall be submitted to the Dean. The College org chart can be found here:

Organization of the Faculty

The college is campus-wide with respect to its faculty, policies, and programs. The faculty of the College of Graduate Health Sciences generally consists of faculty members whose primary appointments are in one of the five professional colleges within the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) - the colleges of health professions, dentistry, medicine, nursing, or pharmacy - and who are actively engaged in research. The faculty of the College also consists of members whose primary or secondary appointment is in one of the departments in the College:  Graduate Education or Interprofessional Education. Faculty appointment in one of these departments does not necessarily credential a faculty member to teach, serve on student faculty committees, or direct student research in a graduate program offered through the College. Members of the Graduate Faculty are responsible for the instruction of students pursuing academic Master of Science (MS), Master of Dental Science (MDS), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Faculty who wish to teach, serve on student faculty committees, or direct student research in a graduate program offered through the College of Graduate Health Sciences may apply to the Credentials Committee for graduate faculty status. The Committee will make a recommendation to the Dean and Graduate Studies Council, with the final decision made by the Dean. Students select their faculty advisor and faculty committee members from the credentialed faculty.


The College of Graduate Health Sciences  administrative offices are located in Suite 807 of the 920 Madison Avenue Building on the UTHSC Memphis campus. Research locations for students and faculty are located on the UTHSC Memphis campus; at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the VA Medical Center also located in Memphis; and in Knoxville, on the University of Tennessee - Knoxville campus.

Program Modification Statement

The faculty of the College of Graduate Health Sciences reserves the right to make changes in curriculum, policy and procedures when, in its judgment, such changes are in best interest of students and the College of Graduate Health Sciences. Ordinarily, a student may expect to receive a degree by meeting the requirements of the curriculum, as specified in the bulletin currently in force when they first enter the college, or in any one subsequent bulletin published while they are a student. However, the College of Graduate Health Sciences is not obligated to fulfill this expectation, or to offer in any particular year, a course listed in the bulletin.