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Prospective MCB Graduate Students

Candidates interested in one or more of the departmental programs in MCB (Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, or Molecular and Integrative Physiology) should apply directly to the School of MCB. Admission to the MCB Ph.D. program requires a bachelor's degree in biological or physical sciences. Students are only admitted for the fall semester. International students seeking admission into our Ph.D. program MUST first submit a pre-application.

MCB is also affiliated with two robust interdisciplinary graduate-degree programs: the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology and the Neuroscience Program. Both programs have significant MCB faculty participation. Interested students should apply directly to these programs.

Apply to MCB

Application fee: $70 for domestic applicants, $90 for international applicants.

Admission Procedure

  1. Apply Online — The Graduate College Apply Yourself Online Network takes you through each step of the application.

    Important Note: Applicants will need to select Molecular and Cellular Biology as the Ph.D. department and then indicate their departmental preference under Field of Specialization (Biochemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology, Microbiology or Molecular & Integrative Physiology). This preference should reflect which department has the most ongoing research of interest to the applicant. The Field of Specialization is not a commitment – admitted students are eligible to rotate in any of the four MCB departments.

  2. Transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions are required to be uploaded as part of the application procedure. These transcripts should be a scanned version of your official transcripts. Please make sure to follow the instructions for Uploading Credentials. You should not submit hard copies of your transcripts to the graduate program as these are not needed. We will only review those documents submitted online in your application.

    International Applicants who have already received their degree will need to upload their degree certification or diploma with the transcripts. Diplomas and/or certificates of degree are not required if degree is still in progress or pending.

  3. Three Letters of Recommendation are required for admission consideration. Recommendation letters should be submitted electronically in the Apply Yourself Application System. In the event your recommender is unable to submit his/her reference letter in the system, please contact us at for more instructions.

  4. Official GRE and TOEFL Test Scores should be sent to the Office of Admissions and Records, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using campus institutional code 1836. Please note that the subject GRE is not required.

TOEFL Note: A minimum score of 96 (internet-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of applicants from countries where English is not the primary language. Please note that we do not accept the IELTS in lieu of the TOEFL.

Additional Information for International Students

Pre-Application: International students must first submit a pre-application form. Should you pass our pre-application requirements, we will need the following to process your official application. Pre-application deadline is December 15.

Declaration of Finances: The Apply Yourself Application will ask for your financial information; however, international students do not need to declare their finances in order to apply to MCB. Since MCB offers a stipend and tuition waiver, applicants are exempt from submitting their financial details. Please follow the MCB policy for this section of the application.

Passport: You are required to upload your passport as part of the application. If you do not yet have a passport, you may skip this step in the application. Please note if you are admitted to the program, we will not issue your I-20 until you have provided us with a copy of your passport.

Application Deadline

International pre-application deadline is December 15. Full application deadline is December 31. To ensure full consideration of your application, please submit your application and all materials by December 31. Please note that all application and materials should be submitted electronically through the Apply Yourself Application System.

Mailing and Contact Information

James A. Imlay, Associate Director
Shawna M. Smith, Coordinator of Graduate Programs

MCB Graduate Program
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B103 CLSL (MC-110)
601 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801-3709
phone: (217) 333-1737
fax: (217) 244-6697