Program Contact: Alexandre de Lencastre  203-582-5024

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology program for both part-time and full-time students. Through the graduate program, the mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is to prepare students for employment in research fields available in pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals as well as to provide an excellent foundation for students intending to pursue studies in professional healthcare fields and doctoral programs. To achieve this goal, the program provides the students with highly specialized lecture and laboratory courses relevant in this rapidly growing field.

The 34 credits required for the Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology include five courses (20 credits) in the science core, elective courses chosen in consultation with the program director and a thesis or non-thesis option (the non-thesis option requires the successful completion of a comprehensive examination; the thesis option requires 2 additional credits, for a total of 36 credits). Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 to remain in the MCB program. A minimum grade of C is required in all graduate courses.


Core Curriculum
BIO 515Advanced Biochemistry4
BIO 568Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 571Molecular Genetics4
BIO 605DNA Methods Laboratory4
BIO 606Protein Methods Laboratory4
Thesis or Non-Thesis Option
Select one of the options14-16
Total Credits34-36

Thesis Option

Core Curriculum Requirements20
BIO 649Independent Research2
BIO 650Thesis I in Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 651Thesis II in Molecular and Cell Biology4
Graduate electives6
Total Credits36

Non-Thesis Option

Core Curriculum Requirements20
BIO 675Comp Exam in Molecular and Cell Biology2
Graduate electives12
Total Credits34

Graduate Elective Courses

BIO 500Special Topics in Molecular and Cell Biology3
BIO 505Writing and Science3
BIO 517Advanced Developmental Biology3
BIO 521Stem Cell Biology3
BIO 540Cell Signaling3
BIO 550Graduate Journal Club - Molecular Cell Biology1
BIO 562Bioinformatics3
BIO 589Molecular and Cell Neurobiology3
BIO 649Independent Research2
BIO 650Thesis I in Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 651Thesis II in Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 675Comp Exam in Molecular and Cell Biology2
BIO 688Independent Study1-4
BIO 689Independent Study1-4
BMS 510Biostatistics3
BMS 517Human Embryology3
BMS 518Pathophysiology3
BMS 522Immunology3
BMS 526Epidemiology3
BMS 527Pharmacology3
BMS 532
Histology and Lab
and Histology Lab
BMS 564Fundamentals of Oncology4
BMS 565Leukemia3
BMS 569Antimicrobial Therapy3
BMS 570Virology4
BMS 572Pathogenic Microbiology (with lab)4
BMS 573Mycology3
BMS 576Drug Discovery and Development3
BMS 578Cellular Basis of Neurobiological Disorders3
BMS 579Molecular Pathology3
BMS 583Forensic Pathology3
BMS 595Transplantation Immunology3
BMS 599Biomarkers3
PA 515Human Physiology4

MS Thesis

The MS thesis option involves original laboratory research performed under the guidance of a thesis mentor, a thesis committee and the director of the molecular and cell biology program. The thesis option requires the successful completion of 3 courses: BIO 649, BIO 650 and BIO 651. Students must have a GPA >3.50 to be eligible for the thesis track and pre-approval by program director. The thesis committee evaluates a student’s progress by approving the research project, assessing student progress and advising the student whenever the need arises.

Comprehensive Examination

The written comprehensive exam (BIO 675) is a requirement of the non-thesis option for the MS in Molecular and Cell Biology. Students must demonstrate both breadth and depth of knowledge by illustrating a command of the subject matter obtained from individual courses into unified concepts, which link the student’s own specialization to other fields of study. Completion of a minimum of four of the five core curriculum courses is required to register for the comprehensive examination. A minimum grade of a B- is required to pass the comprehensive examination. Students must meet with the program director before registering for the comprehensive exam.

Upon completion of a Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB), students will demonstrate the following competencies:

  1.  Foundational Knowledge: Understand fundamental concepts in molecular genetics, cell biology and biochemistry and apply their knowledge to new findings in the field of molecular and cell biology.
  2. Application and Analysis: Employ modern laboratory techniques used in DNA and protein research and interpret experimental data.
  3. Scientific Knowledge: Analyze, synthesize and discuss primary scientific literature from peer-reviewed journals in the field.
  4. Communication Excellence: Present scientific content to an audience in a professional manner.
  5. Advanced Knowledge: Write scientific critiques and/or reviews in a manner consistent with the standards of professional scientific writing.

Applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in a biological, medical or scientific field are eligible for admission to the Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology program. Applications may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions and are accepted for fall or spring enrollment. A complete application consists of the following:

  • application form and fee
  • a letter of intent including how this program aligns with the applicant's academic and career interests as well as any personal, professional and educational achievements relevant to the application
  • two letters of recommendation (at least one letter should be from a science faculty member)
  • official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work completed

A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is preferred and undergraduate course work in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, organic chemistry and/or genetics is highly recommended. Although Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required, the scores can provide another indication of a student’s academic readiness. Applicants should refer to the Graduate Admission Requirements found in this catalog.