PHD Molecular/Cellular Biology

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Molecular/Cellular Biology

The molecular and cellular biology PhD program is focused on understanding the fundamental molecular events at the core of all life. In this interdisciplinary program, students will use state-of-the-art research approaches to address critical problems in modern biology.

One of our program’s unique strengths is the expanse of affiliated faculty, departments and institutions. As a student in our program you can choose to participate in a wide breadth of research projects. And, you’ll have the flexibility to tailor the program to meet your specific professional goals.

The program includes more than 100 faculty members who represent eight ASU schools and their affiliated research centers. Our community partners include Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Translational Genomics Research Institute, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

We foster a strong student community, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations through a weekly colloquium, annual student retreat and other student and faculty interactions.

We are committed to your scientific training. As you develop critical thinking and communications skills, we’ll teach you how to become ethical, innovative researchers with the necessary skills for success in a rapidly changing research environment. 

Graduates of this program may find careers in biomedical academic research, government, education and biotechnology. Many of our graduates are leaders in their chosen area.

This dynamic research and training program embraces the goals of the New American University(link is external) at ASU by breaking from traditional disciplinary constraints —allowing you to develop new knowledge that will help transform our world.

Molecular and Cellular Biology (PhD) Faculty


At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Core courses, electives, participation in colloquium, and research and dissertations hours are required. 84 credits are required, along with a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation.

You'll develop a plan of study with your supervisory committee, choosing electives that suit your research area. Courses may be chosen from biology, evolution, microbiology, biochemistry and engineering.

Required Core (6 credit hours)
  • MCB 555 Advanced Molecular and Cellular Sciences (3)
  • MCB 556 Advanced Molecular and Cellular Biology (3)
Other Requirements (14 credit hours)
  • BIO 543 Molecular Genetics and Genomics (3)
  • BIO 530 Scientific Teaching (2)
  • BIO 610 Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in Life Sciences (1)
  • MCB 701 Seminar: Molecular and Cellular Biology Colloquium (8 - 1 credit taken each semester at least 8x)
Electives and Research (52 credit hours)
  • MCB 792 (12+)
  • Example electives:
    • ASM 543 Primatology (3)
    • BCH 564 Bionanotechnology
    • BCH 568 Molecular Mechanisms/Photosynthesis
    • BIO 503 Bioimaging Lab (2)
    • BIO 504 Bioimaging (2)
    • BIO 539 Computing for Research (3)
    • BIO 514 Statistical Models for Biology (4)
    • BME 556 Human Systems Neuroscience
    • BME 598 Principles of Immunoengineering
    • MAT 591 Topic: Math Biology (3)
    • BIO/MCB 598 Advanced Developmental Biology
    • MIC 598 Advanced Immunology
    • MIC 791 Molecular Virology
    • NEU 591 Neuromuscular Development and Degeneration Seminar
    • PSY 515 Quantitative Research Methodology and Statistics 1 (3)
    • PSY 526 Neuroanatomy (4)
    • PSY 530 Intermediate Statistics (3)
    • PSY 532 Analysis of Multivariate Data (3)
    • STP 530 Applied Regression (3)
    • STP 531 Applied Analysis of Variance (3)
    • STP 532 Applied Nonparametric Statistics (3)
    • Other seminars or classes at the 500+ level 
Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
  • MCB 799 Dissertation (12)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in the biological sciences, biochemistry or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts 
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency (if applicable)

Application Deadline

  • Applications are accepted between the open date, September 1st and close date, December 1st for consideration for the following August

Additional Application Information

  • The Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program the following August
  • There is no guarantee that applications received after December 1st will be reviewed
  • In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid-to-late February
  • You'll be notified of your admission status by April 15th
  • Review tips for applying
Desired Qualifications
  • Research experience 
  • International students: TOEFL score of 100, or IELTS score of 6.5

To apply, follow the Apply Now link.

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Program Contact Information

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