Cell & Developmental Biology, PhD

for the Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Developmental Biology

head of department: Supriya Prasanth

director of graduate studies: Jie Chen

mcb graduate admissions email: mcb-grad@illinois.edu

department website: https://mcb.illinois.edu/departments/cdb

school website: https://mcb.illinois.edu

college website: https://las.illinois.edu

department office: B107 Chem and Life Sciences Lab, 601 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 333-6118

Graduate Degree Program in Cell & Developmental Biology

Cell & Developmental Biology, PhD

The graduate curriculum in Cell and Developmental Biology is designed to educate students for careers in research and teaching in the biological sciences. Departmental faculty are concerned with the structural and functional relationships of cells and organisms, with research emphases upon eukaryotic cell and molecular biology, developmental biology, and molecular genetics.


Applicants interested in the Cell & Developmental Biology, PhD program will need to apply directly to the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) PhD program, https://mcb.illinois.edu/graduate/gradprospect/. The MCB PhD program is an umbrella program that requires admitted students to spend their first semester rotating among three different labs to explore their interests before joining one of our four departments.

MCB Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in biological or physical sciences, a grade point average of a 3.0 or higher (A = 4.0), prior research experience and three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to the applicant’s academic and research background. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required. Applicants interested in pursuing a PhD in Cell & Developmental Biology should have a strong background in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. In addition to these requirements, non-native English-speaking applicants must attain a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) overall score of 96, with at least a score of 22 on the speaking section. MCB does not accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to show English proficiency. Graduate College requirements also apply.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and is required as part of the academic work of all PhD candidates in this program.

Facilities and Resources

Facilities include modern, well-equipped laboratories for cellular, developmental, genetic, molecular, and structural studies. The University offers exceptional and broadly based research support services. The Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center provides state-of-the art facilities to support genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, flow cytometry, and translational medical research. The University offers outstanding computer services and is home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology foster interdisciplinary research across the campus. Opportunities for interaction in the cellular and molecular sciences are also available in many other units within the Schools of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Integrative Biology, Chemical Sciences, the Cancer Center, College of Engineering, and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to qualified applicants in the form of university fellowships (awarded on a competitive basis), teaching assistantships (awarded by the department), research assistantships, and tuition and fee waivers.

for the Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Developmental Biology

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Graduate Student Handbook and the Graduate College Handbook

Cell and Developmental Biology, PhD

MCB 501Advanced Biochemistry4
MCB 502Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology4
MCB 529Special Topics in Cell and Developmental Biology (Section WRI)2
MCB 580Res Ethics & Responsibilities1
MCB 581
MCB 582
MCB 583
Laboratory Rotation I
and Laboratory Rotation II
and Laboratory Rotation III
CDB 595Graduate Sem Cell Devel Biol (Sections A and C) CDB 595 Section A and CDB 595 Section C must each be taken once for 1 credit hour each.2
Approved elective coursework hours to bring total course work hours to 3210
CDB 599Thesis Research (min/max applied toward degree)64
Total Hours96

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
The department requires each graduate student to teach the equivalent of 50% for one semester.
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? No
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0