The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Cell and Molecular Biology - PhD

Division: Biological Sciences
Degree Type: PhD

Program Description

The goal of the doctoral program in Cell and Molecular Biology is to foster advanced scholarship and research in the combined areas of cell biology, genetics, and molecular biology. Areas of research focus in the program include the cytoskeleton, membrane organelles, the cell cycle, signaling and cell regulation, developmental biology, gene expression and chromosome biology, microbiology, and plant biology.

After being introduced to a broad spectrum of experimental rationales and technical approaches, students typically learn several in depth. Skills in genetic analysis include transgenic, reverse genetic, and genomic analysis, as well as molecular analysis of genes and gene products. Skills in structural analysis of the cell include the use of advanced optical and electron microscopy (e.g., EM tomography, atomic force microscopy, and dynamic in vivo imaging). Skills in molecular biology include classic biochemistry, chemical biology, proteomics, single molecule analysis, x-ray crystallography, and mathematical modeling. Students learn to identify the model organisms and the appropriate tools and techniques that will allow them to answer their scientific questions in the most effective way. Among the model organisms in which training is available are eukaryotic and prokaryotic viruses; diverse bacteria (e.g., cyanobacteria, Tetrahymena, Saccharomyces, and other yeasts); Chlamydomonas, Drosophila, Caenorhabditis, Arabidopsis, and other plant species; mice; and humans. 

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Molecular Biosciences Graduate Programs
920 East 58th Street, Room 1105
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773.702.8037
Fax: 773.972.3172

Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 1

Degree Objective

The Molecular Biosciences cluster admits applicants only for the PhD degree.

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee
  3. Transcripts from all institutions attended after high school should be uploaded with the application.
  4. 3 letters of recommendation from college or university professors who know the applicant’s work well. Individuals who have been away from school for several years may submit recommendations from their employers.
  5. Graduate Record Examination scores. We require the GRE general test scores; subject test scores will be considered, but are optional.


Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March.

Program Requirements

  1. One course in Cell Biology
  2. One course in Genetics
  3. One course in Molecular Biology
  4. One additional course in one of the preceding areas
  5. Three electives
  6. Three lab rotations

Costs & Financial Aid

The Division of Biological Sciences offers academically qualified applicants complete and equitable support. Students in good academic standing are guaranteed an initial five years of support (conditional on satisfactory academic progress) in a package that includes the cost of tuition, health insurance, and a stipend for living expenses. However, because many of the Division's sources of funding cannot be used to support foreign students, applicants from other countries should make every effort to obtain assistance from their government and fellowships from outside sources.