Interdisciplinary Programs


The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology consists of the departments of Biochemistry, Cell and Development Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular and Integrative Physiology. The departments are affiliated into a single school in order to provide you with a broad range of training and research opportunities. Once admitted to any of the participating Ph.D. programs, you can select a faculty research advisor from over 70 faculty members in the school. Many of our faculty members are also affiliated with or actively participate in a number of interdisciplinary programs at Illinois, providing you with broad and rich opportunities for graduate work. A brief introduction to each is provided here.

Biophysics and Quantitative Biology

The Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology serves physical and computer science students who are interested in applying their knowledge to biology, as well as students with a biological background interested in instrumentation, computation, and physical aspects of biology. The cooperation and cross-training of scientists with engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences backgrounds has infused biology with powerful technologies and exciting new paradigms. Biology is experiencing the application of modern computational methods that can manage huge amounts of information and simulate highly complex processes. Experiment, theory, and computational modeling are working hand-in-hand to solve problems of unprecedented complexity.

Medical Scholars (M.D./Ph.D.) Program

The Medical Scholars Program (MSP), which exists jointly between the Graduate College and the College of Medicine at Illinois. The MSP is a rigorous program that leads to two degrees without academic shortcuts. Applications to the MSP are reviewed by the College of Medicine, the MSP, and the departmental admissions committees. To be considered, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. Upon acceptance, you begin your first year of Ph.D. studies in your chosen department. Students are supported during their Ph.D. work by graduate assistantships.

Molecular Biophysics Training Program

The importance of interdisciplinary study in the life sciences has led to far-reaching interactions among faculties from diverse departments, and molecular biophysics represents a large part of this research. The Molecular Biophysics Training Program promotes interdisciplinary research training in experimental and computational studies of macromolecular structure, function, and integration in biological systems. Financial support is provided for students working toward a doctoral degree under the mentorship of the participating faculty members in the program.

Neuroscience Program

The Neuroscience Program (NSP) at Illinois is an interdisciplinary program of study and research leading to the doctoral degree. It offers a rigorous yet flexible program designed to foster the growth of the student through research activities, close interactions with the faculty, and exposure to top neuroscientists through a seminar series and attendance at professional meetings. Students design their own programs leading to the Ph.D., with oversight by faculty committees ensuring appropriate depth and breadth of training. The NSP promotes an atmosphere of collegiality, goodwill, and frequent interactions, leading to an unusually high number of collaborations among program faculty and with other researchers at Illinois.