MA in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry

The MA in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry (MCBB) is designed to provide a solid foundation in these three and related interdisciplinary fields through coursework, seminars, and research. The program culminates with a thesis, which can be either research- or literature-based. The primary goal of the program is to propel students into successful research careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The program accepts post-bachelor’s applicants with degrees in related disciplines where the focus has been on biology, chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, or a relevant field.

There are two types of MA programs available to MA students:

  • Scholarly Review Paper: Students select a topic in consultation with a faculty advisor from the MCBB Program. Two MCBB faculty members must read and approve the final version of the paper.
  • Research Thesis: A thesis on original research conducted under the direction of a sponsoring faculty member must be read and approved by a committee of three faculty members, which includes at least two faculty members from the MCBB Program; one committee member must be the faculty member who acted as the research advisor.

Course Requirements

A total of 32 credits is required. MA course requirements for both the Scholarly Review Paper-MA and the Research Thesis-MA are as follows:

    *Students are required to attend BI 583/584 throughout their graduate career but only 4 credits may count toward the degree.


    All students participate in the MCBB seminar program that consists of one required weekly seminar, and a number of optional seminars and colloquia.

    Required seminar – CM/MCBB Graduate Student Seminar (BI 583/584): This seminar is the keystone of the program. It offers a chance each week for students in the biological sciences and faculty to meet, and creates a forum for the exchange of ideas. PhD students annually present their laboratory research. MA students must also attend.

    Annual Reports

    All MCBB students are required to submit an annual report each academic year. This report includes a summary of courses completed, research progress, teaching experience, examinations passed, committee members and meetings held, and publications and presentations.

    Please also refer to the GRS Bulletin and the Graduate Program Guide.

    Learning Outcomes: Expectations

    • Acquire thorough understanding of knowledge in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry
    • Acquire laboratory and critical thinking skills in the biological sciences
    • Follow the ethics for appropriate behavior in the scientific discipline
    • Be prepared to enter the job market