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.


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 ($95.00 international, $75.00 domestic)
  • Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts will be required if you are offered admission)
  • Personal Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV or resume 
  • English Language test scores - TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo (international students only.)
Optional materials
  • Diversity Statement: If you would like to include a statement that identifies the distinctive characteristics and/or life experiences, such as successfully overcoming obstacles or hardships, and how that could contribute to the education and enhanced perspectives at the University, please upload a separate Diversity Statement with your application. 
  • Description of Research: If you decide to add a description of your research please include how you became interested in your area of research and what direction you might take in the future.

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 timeline
December 1Application deadline
By mid-JanuaryApplications reviewed, candidates invited for onsite interviews
Late January/early FebruaryRecruiting Visits
In FebruaryInternational Applicants invited to interview
Late February/early MarchAdmission offers made
April 15thFinal date to indicate acceptance
If you have a question about the admissions process, please see the FAQs below. If you do not see your question listed below, feel free to contact the MCDB&G or BMBB graduate program.
Admissions committee mission statement

Great science can be accomplished anywhere and by anyone. The mission of the Admissions Committee is to identify and recruit individuals who have the passion, creativity, initiative and persistence to pursue outstanding scientific research at the University of Minnesota.

We expect our Ph.D. candidates to:

  • Make important scientific contributions and to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals
  • Successfully complete the Ph.D. program and pursue a scientific career
  • Contribute productively to a diverse and inclusive scientific culture in our program and the broader University community

Diversity benefits our science, as we push each other to solve problems in innovative ways, challenge assumptions, and think critically about scientific endeavors. The Admissions Committee actively seeks Ph.D. candidates from a wide array of identities, perspectives, and lived experiences (including those backgrounds that have been historically excluded from higher education).