Molecular Biology and Microbiology

A close up of an embryonic stem cell
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program

Translate your coursework to research on mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacterial secretion systems and other topics as you earn your PhD in Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Reserve University, one of the top research universities in the U.S. This program is a part of our Biomedical Sciences Training Program, our interdisciplinary approach to the biomedical sciences. Here, you’ll focus on molecular biology and microbiology—but also take electives in related disciplines. The skills and knowledge you gain here will prepare you for a variety of professions, including a career as a technical specialist or postdoctoral fellow. 

What to Expect

Our class sizes are small so you can build relationships with faculty and fellow students alike, partnering with them to explore topics such as transcriptional control of intracellular pathogens and a variety of other courses you can tailor to fit your interests. In addition to coursework, you’ll participate in seminars and laboratory rotations. 

You can also take advantage of partnerships we have with Cleveland-area institutions, such as the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center—where we’ve teamed up with experts to research and alleviate antibiotic resistance through our Case VA Cares program.

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Beyond the Classroom

You’ll conduct a great deal of research while you’re at CWRU that you might want to showcase at national and international conferences. If you chose to study HIV/AIDS, for example, the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) provides travel awards to underwrite travel costs for your presentation. Or submit your research to present at the American Society for Microbiology, Gordon Conferences and many other conferences. You can also present at the Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium. (Molecular biology and microbiology students have a reputation for winning.) 

If you would prefer group discussions rather than speaking in front of a crowd, join the Pathogen of the Month Club, where you can engage in scientifically driven talks on relevant research. Or try our other journal clubs at the School of Medicine to chat about immunology, neurobiology and more.

By the Numbers


tuition coverage, including health insurance


medical research school in the nation, U.S. News & World Report


commercialization of research, Brookings Institution


in the world for contributions to innovation, Nature Index Innovation


faculty-to-student ratio 

Admissions Details

Our program thrives when we have students with diverse perspectives and a range of educational, professional and life experiences. We look forward to learning more about you!

The application process requires:

  • Online application, including a statement of purpose
  • $50 application fee
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree from an accredited institution (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Current resume/CV
  • List of research experience (optional)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE

Contact Us

Alan Levine
Alan Levine, PhD
Graduate Program Director, Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
School of Medicine

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