Deadlines & fees  Admission process  Explore our PhD programs

Applicants interested in one or more of the departmental PhD programs in the School of MCB (Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, or Molecular and Integrative Physiology) should apply to the Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD Program. Admission to the MCB PhD program requires a bachelor's degree in biological or physical sciences. GRE scores are not required for admission.

MCB is also home to the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, which offers a graduate program in biophysics. In addition, the school is affiliated with the campus-wide Neuroscience PhD Program. Both programs have significant MCB faculty participation. Interested students should apply directly to those programs.

Deadline & Fees


Fall 2024 Deadline: December 1, 2023

  • All application materials must be received by the deadline in order to be reviewed by the MCB Admissions Committee. Admission to the MCB Graduate Program is highly competitive. Admission to the program is based on a demonstrated ability and interest in biology, chemistry, and the physical sciences; three letters of recommendation; and the research/personal statements. Please note that previous research experience is required.
  • We do not offer spring admission or summer admission.

Application Fees

Admission Procedure

    1. Start an application to the University of Illinois Graduate College:
      • Indicate Program as Molecular and Cellular Biology.
      • Indicate Degree as Molecular and Cellular Biology (all units)-PhD.
      • Select departmental Field of Specialization. This field is not a commitment to a departmental program but indicates this is the program with the most ongoing research of interest to the applicant.
      • It is also highly recommended that applicants include any known faculty they wish to work with during the program in the “Proposed Program of Study” section of the application.
    2. Upload required CV or resume.
    3. Upload two required application statements.
      • Research statement should address your academic and research experience/interests within 1000 words.
      • Personal statement should address how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree within 500 words.
      • Do NOT combine the two statements. Please upload them separately.
    4. Obtain three reference letters.
      • Letters of reference must be submitted electronically in the application system.
      • Letters should be from individuals familiar with your research and/or academic qualifications.
    5. Upload transcripts for all institutions from which you received, or are currently pursuing, a degree.
      • Identifying Information: All uploaded documents must include your name and the institution's name.
      • Transcript Legends: You must upload a copy of the transcript legend.
      • We will not accept manual transcriptions, altered documents, advising, or audit reports.
      • International Institutions: Transcripts and Certificates of Degree Required. (Native language and English translations required.)
      • All documents uploaded to your online application are considered unofficial. If admitted, you will be required to mail or bring in official transcripts and certificates of degree.
    6. GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores are NOT required for admission.
    7. Fulfill English Proficiency Requirement for admission.
      • All international degree-seeking applicants are required to submit the results of the TOEFL or Duolingo as evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption. MCB DOES NOT ACCEPT THE IELTS EXAM.
      • Official scores are required to be submitted directly from the testing agency. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign institution code is: 1836.
      • All scores must be dated within two years of the beginning of the proposed admission term.
      • MCB minimum TOEFL overall score for admission is 96, with a minimum speaking score of 22. Please note our minimum score requirements are higher than the Graduate College requirements.
      • See the Graduate College English Proficiency Requirements for Admission regarding TOEFL exemption questions.

    Additional Information for International Students

    1. Proof of Funding and Declaration Finances Form
      • MCB international applicants do not need to provide financial details as part of the application process as MCB provides both a stipend and a tuition waiver. The stipend and tuition waiver exempts applicants from needing to provide financial information.
      • Should international applicants have dependents they will bring with them, the Graduate College may ask for some financial information. However, this will occur at the time of admission and applicants should wait until it is requested.
    2. Passport
      • International applicants will need to submit a passport as part of the application before admission can occur; however, it does not need to be submitted at the time of application submission.
      • For additional information on passport requirements, please visit the Graduate College FAQ for International Applicants.

      Mailing and Contact Information

      Lori Raetzman, Associate Director of MCB Graduate Program
      Shawna M. Smith, MCB Graduate Program Coordinator


      B103 Chemical and Life Sciences Lab, MC-110
      601 South Goodwin Avenue
      Urbana, IL 61801-3709