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Molecular & Cellular Biology Doctoral Degree Requirements

Program | Faculty | Master's | Doctoral | Courses

All students take Molecular and Cellular Biology 641 and 642, and Biochemistry 623 during the first year. Students select at least three other courses including one from each of two lists of offerings in the areas of molecular and cell biology (see below). Formal course requirements should be completed by the end of the fourth semester.

Each first-year student selects two laboratory rotations (one per semester) to gain research experience in different areas of contemporary molecular and cell biology. These are chosen to reflect students’ research interests.

A written comprehensive examination is given at the end of the first year of study. This exam covers topics presented in the core courses and in program seminars. It tests the ability to use this knowledge to solve problems, to develop appropriate experimental approaches, and to interpret and critically evaluate data from the scientific literature.

An oral defense of an original research presentation constitutes the second part of the comprehensive examination and is usually completed before the end of the second academic year. There is also a final oral defense of the written dissertation. The Program typically requires four to five years to complete, with three or more years devoted to full-time research.