MCB MS and PSM Programs


The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Molecular and Cell Biology.

Upon admission to the Molecular and Cell Biology MS program, students focus in one of the four research areas MCB specializes in: Cell and Developmental Biology; Genetics and Genomics; Microbiology; and Structural Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics. The MS is intended for students seeking to deepen their knowledge in these scientific disciplines, often in preparation for further graduate or professional education. The MS in MCB degree may be earned under either of two plans, the Thesis plan (Plan A), which emphasizes research activities or the Non-Thesis plan (Plan B), a coursework-based degree, which requires comprehensive understanding of a general area.

For more information please see the Graduate Catalog. All students enrolled in the program will develop competencies in MCB disciplines, scientific communication, and critical thinking. Research thesis MS students will also train in hypothesis design and testing, and acquire technical expertise required to conduct research.

Specific course requirements for the MS in Molecular and Cell Biology are determined by the student’s advisory committee and are consistent with the requirements of the different areas of focus as well as the minimum requirements specified by the Graduate School.  An example of first year course requirements can be found here. Examples of courses offered are listed here.


In response to the national priority for training graduate students at the master's level for careers outside of academia, the MCB department offers a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program with MS degrees in Applied Genomics and Applied Microbial Systems Analysis and a Professional Master program with a MS degree in Applied Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Our innovative programs are hybrids between the traditional coursework degree (emphasizing formal theoretical coursework) and the traditional thesis degree (emphasizing original research project), incorporating the best of both.

PSM/PMs are designed for students who are seeking to further their scientific knowledge in these disciplines and train for careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries or government agencies.

These programs allow professionals to pursue advanced training and excel in science without a PhD, while developing highly-valued professional skills and performing a hands-on internship.

More information on these can be found at the Professional Master’s Program page and the National Professional Science Master's page.