The Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) department at the University of Connecticut offers an interdisciplinary PhD program whose mission is to prepare students for successful careers in academic research, education, industry and government.

Competitive GA stipend with tuition waiver. No GRE required. 


Faculty members in MCB are experts in their fields, are recognized by competitive research grants, publish in leading journals, and are members of professional societies. MCB Faculty conduct cutting-edge research while maintaining a collaborative and collegial environment. With the help of a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee composed of MCB faculty and students, we strive to build a supportive culture for all members of the program.


MCB laboratories are located across three buildings in close proximity, Torrey Life Science, Biology and Biophysics, and the brand-new Engineering and Science Building. MCB research is funded by federal agencies including the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, USDA and NASA and by private foundations including the American Heart Association, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

MCB research is supported by state-of-the-art instrumentation available through university centers. These include confocal, electron, and super-resolution microscopy, sequencing and genomics, bioinformatics, mass spectrometry, flow cytometry and ultracentrifugation.


Research in MCB is highly interdisciplinary, spanning four major disciplines: Cell & Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Structural Biology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Genetics & Genomics. Our research programs encompass a wide range of topics including virology, symbiosis, microbiomes, immunology, molecular evolution, chromosome biology, genome organization, functional genomics, stem cell biology, cancer biology, muscle development, actin dynamics, membrane biology, bacterial pathogenesis, drug discovery and genome inheritance.  See what research is happening in MCB labs!


MCB graduates enter into a variety of careers in academia, industry, and government service. Our students have obtained postdoctoral positions at highly ranked academic institutions such as Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Emory University, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, UNC Chapel Hill, UPenn, UVA, Yale, and the Broad Institute of MIT.

Government and industry placements include the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Boehringer Ingelheim, Google, Roche and Bayer/Monsanto.

MCB PhD graduates have gone on to faculty positions at both research and teaching institutions such as MIT, Swarthmore College, University of New Hampshire, University of South Florida, University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, and Rowan University.


PhD students receive a competitive stipend negotiated by the Graduate Assistant Union, affordable health and dental insurance, and a full tuition waiver. In addition, departmental and graduate school travel fellowships are available to attend conferences. Incoming students take courses as a cohort during their first year to acquire broad scientific, communication, and professional skills before delving into more specialized courses relevant to their chosen research project. Research rotations during the first semester provide students the opportunity to explore diverse research interests before selecting a thesis lab. MCB students work closely with their major advisor and interact daily with other members of the program.  Graduate students participate in the weekly MCB research seminar, where they present their work, receive feedback from faculty and students and learn about the research going on in other laboratories. Graduate students also have the opportunity to mentor and train undergraduate students in laboratory research. Additional interactions among students and faculty occur at weekly external seminars, journal clubs, and at our annual retreat. Students participate in career and professional development opportunities to prepare for a variety of careers in the science workforce. Information regarding the PhD timeline can be found here. Examples of courses offered are listed here.


Dr. Victoria Robinson
Director, Graduate Research and Education

Chelsea Bartos
MCB Graduate Coordinator