Molecular, Cellular and Structural Biology Program

The rapid pace of scientific discovery and the development of new technologies offer students an unparalleled freedom to engage in interdisciplinary research. In recognition of these emerging opportunities, the graduate programs in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics (BMBB) and in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDBG) have merged their first year graduate training into a combined Graduate Studies in Molecular, Cellular and Structural Biology (MCSB) curriculum.

The BMBB and MCDB&G programs are committed to providing equal access to educational opportunities for students and scholars with various economic disadvantages, disabilities, special talents, leadership qualities and for those who come from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. A diverse student body enriches graduate education by providing a multiplicity of views and perspectives that enhance research, teaching and the development of new knowledge. We recognize the mission, policies, and practices exhibited by the University of Minnesota Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and the Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity.

We strive to provide a learning environment that is supportive of every student during their training. The resources below are available to both current and prospective graduate students to promote inclusivity within a diverse student body.
Graduate School Diversity Office
Serves as an advocate and support system for underrepresented students throughout their graduate education journey
Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship
Provides recipients with tuition and financial support, and subsidized health and dental insurance so they can focus on their education and research.
Office of Biomedical Graduate Research, Education and Training (BGREAT)
Provides resources to both current and prospective students to get involved in student engagement activities.
Disability Resource Center
Serves as a resource for students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University to minimize or eliminate barriers, and facilitates inclusion on campus.
Disabled Student Cultural Center
Serves as a social area for students with disabilities, and provides other resources to ensure an accessible environment for students.

Respectful and Responsible Conduct

The MCSB program is committed to fostering the education of students in a welcoming and supportive environment. All students and faculty are expected to treat each other in a respectful, professional manner. In addition to following University policies, we ask all to support and adhere to the following code of conduct.

Code of Conduct

Respectful and Responsible Conduct


Please note: The GRE general and subject scores are NOT required to apply to the program. Note that the University's Graduate School application system still includes a spot for GRE scores; however, you are not required to enter them.  Our application review committee will NOT view these scores, even if you do submit them.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is December 1. Spring semester admission is not offered.

Application Process

All application materials must be uploaded directly to the Graduate School online application system. Do NOT mail any paper documents to the Graduate School Admissions Office.

Admission Criteria

Admission to MCSB is highly competitive. Out of approximately 200 applications per year, 10-14 students are admitted per program, 3-4 of whom are international. Competitive applications will have GPAs of 3.3 or better. Excellence in laboratory work often accompanies a successful application.

Students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds may be admitted to the program, though a strong application includes a solid foundation in basic biology, along with biochemistry and genetics. Though not required, recommended academic preparation includes one year each of calculus, organic chemistry, and physics.

Laboratory research experience is often the distinguishing feature of a successful application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide letters of recommendation from supervisors of laboratory research work. Please reference the frequently asked questions (FAQ) below to review what the admissions committee will look for in your application.

Required Materials

Applications cannot be reviewed until all of the following required materials are submitted successfully online:

  • Online application
  • Application fee (cannot be waived)
  • Transcripts (either official or unofficial accepted)
  • Personal Statement (mention which U of MN faculty you are interested in)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Diversity Statement (optional)
  • Writing example (not required)
  • CV or resume (optional but recommended)
  • English Language test scores (TOEFL or IELTS, international students only. If studied at an English speaking university, scores are not required.)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general and subject scores are NOT required to apply to the program. Note that the University's Graduate School application system still includes a spot for GRE scores; however, you are not required to enter them. Our application review committee will NOT view these scores, even if you do submit them.

Frequently Asked Questions

View FAQ for answers to the most commonly asked admissions questions.

Admission Decision

A decision on your application will be emailed to you after your application has been carefully reviewed by the admissions committee. See FAQ for admissions timeline.

Admissions Committee Mission Statement

The mission of the Admissions Committee is to identify PhD candidates who have demonstrated a passion for scientific discovery and are academically prepared to handle the rigors of graduate education.

The goals of the Admissions Committee are to identify PhD candidates who will:

  • Make important scientific discoveries, publish these discoveries in prestigious journals, and be successful at getting funding for science
  • Graduate from the PhD program and pursue a successful career in science
  • Contribute to the scientific productivity in their Principle Investigator's laboratory and the broader University of Minnesota community
  • Foster a scientific community that is inclusive and represents all members of society

The Admissions Committee recognizes that sectors of our population have historically been excluded from graduate education due to unjustified biases in our community. These groups have been defined by ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic background and other divisions. To address this injustice, we strive to recruit PhD candidates who are members of these historically excluded groups with the goal of fostering a diverse scientific culture that is inclusive of all members of our society.