Molecular and Cell Biology 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.


PSM Logo

The MCB department offers Professional Science Master’s (PSM) MS degrees  that have been specifically designed to prepare students for launching a career in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry as well as other opportunities outside of academia. MCB offers three specializations: a PSM program in Applied Genomics, a PSM program in Applied Microbial Systems Analysis and a Professional Master program in Applied Biochemistry and Cell Biology. These programs go beyond traditional MS programs in offering a coherent set of courses that builds a scientific knowledge base and adds complementary courses in lab management, communication, business, and public policy. Our innovative programs provide students training in key technologies such as next-generation sequencing, cell culture, molecular graphics and bioinformatics. A unique component is a professional development class where industry leaders, laboratory managers and alumni provide our students with insights and career advice, while providing important networking opportunities. The capstone project of this program is a 3-month long, hands-on, paid internship. This combination of training experiences makes program graduates valuable members of decision-making teams who deal with complex issues surrounding emerging technologies. 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. Graduates become members of our large network of alumni that continue to share job opportunities.

Full-time enrolled students will typically take 2 years, including a full-time 3 month internship, to complete the degree program. Part-time enrollment is an option and will require a longer time to complete the program.

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