Academic Programs


The Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology presides over three different PhD programs: in Cell Biology, in Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and in Molecular Virology.


Applications for admission to the PhD programs in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology or Molecular Virology are processed by the Biomedical Sciences Training Program (BSTP), umbrella admission and first-year oversight program.

Visit the BSTP website


The Biomedical Sciences Training Program generally accepts students who have a background in biochemistry, chemistry, or biology. However, well-qualified students with training in other areas are encouraged to apply. Students are required to have completed one year of organic chemistry before admission. A course in biochemistry is also required, although not necessarily before entrance into the program. Previous exposure to general chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biology is suggested.

Tuition and Stipend

Graduate students in the program receive full tuition and fees as well as a stipend of $29,500 in 2018-19.

First Semester

The Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and Molecular Virology programs are only three of thirteen within the School of Medicine which make up the BSTP. First-year students who apply through the BSTP are not restricted to any one department but may study in any of the BSTP programs. This provides students with enormous flexibility in exploring a broad range of disciplines and laboratories.

Students are encouraged to begin the first of three research rotations during the summer before the start of the fall semester. Rotations can be carried out in any of the BSTP-affiliated laboratories and are meant to expose students to multiple experimental systems in the broad areas of molecular and cellular biology as well as to aid in the choice of a laboratory in which to pursue PhD thesis research. All first-year students enroll in a comprehensive one-semester core curriculum, which provides an in-depth foundation in cell and molecular biology. A thesis advisor is chosen at the end of the first semester of graduate study by joint agreement between the student, the prospective advisor, and the BSTP Graduate Program Educational Advisory Committee. A student who chooses a thesis advisor from Cell Biology, Molecular Biology Microbiology or Molecular Virology can become a member of one of these three programs.