Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Research Program
The graduate program in Molecular and Cellular Biology prepares students for
careers in modern biological research. The diverse faculty ensures broad
training that includes coursework and research experience in:
- Molecular biology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes
- Biochemistry and structural biology
- Advanced cell biology
- Epigenetic regulation of gene expression
- Genetics and molecular biology of model organisms and human pathogens
- Virology and cancer biology
- Mechanisms of aging and senescence
- Molecular and cellular biology of parasites
- Biogenesis and function of intestinal microvilli
- Structure and dynamics of nucleotide binding and membrane proteins
The graduate program offers three degree options: Ph.D.,
M.S., and M.A. In addition, a new 5-year
combined B.S.-M.S. program offers undergraduates an accelerated path to a
career in research.
Advantages of graduate research at SMU:
- Our faculty are nationally recognized for their research. Faculty
members serve on National Institutes of Health Study Section review panels
and are funded by the NIH. In addition, faculty serve on review panels for
the National Science Foundation and receive funding from the NSF. Journal
publications in the last five years include Nature, Science, Molecular Cell,
Oncogene, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology,
Vaccine, Genetics, PNAS, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Methods in
Enzymology and Biochemistry.
- New, modern research facility. The Biology Department is located
in the new Dedman Life Sciences facility on the SMU campus, adjacent to
Fondren Science Library, and the closely affiliated Departments of Chemistry
and Computer Science.
- Didactic lectures, scientific discourse and active research. The
MCB program places great emphasis on training independent scientists.
Students are taught in small groups to cover the breadth of modern biology,
yet maintaining adequate time to follow up on areas of more specific
interest to their own research.
- Supportive, collegial environment. Frequent interactions and open
lines of communication are central to the success of a research department.
From the first day onward, students meet with each faculty member the first
week to 'break the ice' and foster long-term, scientific relationships. Lab
rotations during the first semester introduce students to the research
topics and techniques employed in various labs ensuring that students make
well informed decisions as to the lab in which they will pursue their thesis
- Financial Support. The Department of Biological Sciences offers
numerous tuition scholarships, teaching assistantships and faculty research
PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology
A research-intensive program typically requiring four to five years to
complete that includes:
- 60 credit hours
- Two year full-time residency
- Passing a qualifying examination
- Complete a research program
- Writing and defending a monograph detailing proposed research
MS in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Directed at research oriented students, typically requiring two years to
complete, that includes:
- 30 semester hours (1 year of full-time enrollment) and a research
- Preparation, presentation and defense of a research proposal
- Admission Requirements identical to PhD program listed above.
MA in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Program designed for students seeking more instruction in Molecular and Cell
Biology for professional or secondary school.
- Typically completed in 18-24 months
- 30 semester hours required (1 year of full-time enrollment required)
- Research program equivalent to three semester hours in lieu of a thesis
Application to the MCB Graduate program is done
ONLINE through the Graduate
Studies Office of Dedman College at SMU. Specific questions about the MCB
graduate program should be directed to
Professor Pia Vogel, in the Department of Biology (firstname.lastname@example.org).
General admission requirements including the following:
- 3.00 Grade Point Average and/or 308 (new scoring system) or 1200 (old
scoring system) GRE Score for the Biology, or the Biochemistry, Cell and
Molecular Biology subject test is encouraged
- 6 hours of calculus or statistics
- 16 hours of chemistry including 8 hours of organic chemistry
- 4 or more hours of advanced credit in biology
- International applicants where English is not the primary language MUST
take the TOEFL test.
Applicant Review Criteria
- Undergraduate record; GPA in relevant coursework GRE scores, including
the Biology, or the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test.
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Demonstrated laboratory experience strongly encouraged.
High quality applicants that fulfill most or all of the above criteria are
then invited to visit and interview at the Department of Biology. Students are
notified of their acceptance typically around mid April.