Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology

Program Contact: Lise Thomas 203-582-8497

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 health care 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.

MS in Molecular and Cell Biology
Program of Study

The 34 credits required for the Master's Degree 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 two additional credits, for a total of 36 credits).


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 650Thesis I in Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 651Thesis II in Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO 688Independent Study2
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 505Writing and Science3
BIO 562Bioinformatics3
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
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
PA 515Human Physiology4

The thesis involves original laboratory research performed under the guidance of a thesis committee and the director of the molecular and cell biology program. The thesis committee evaluates a student’s progress by approving the research project and subsequently 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. Minimum grade of 3.0 is required to pass the comprehensive examination. Students must meet with the program director before registering for the comprehensive exam.


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

  • application form and fee
  • a letter of intent including a detailed autobiography of personal, professional and educational achievements
  • two letters of recommendation
  • official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work completed
  • undergraduate course work in biochemistry, microbiology and genetics is highly recommended

A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is preferred. Although Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required, the scores can provide another indication of a student’s intellectual ability. Applicants should refer to the Graduate Admission Requirements found in this catalog.