Illinois logo MCB The Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology

Prospective Graduate Students


Your graduate educational experience in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology includes three dimensions:

Educational Experience

  • a strong and concise curriculum
  • research training
  • educational enrichment through seminars

Laboratory rotations introduce you to research opportunities in the department and throughout the rest of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), and to technologies used in the discipline. You can elect to perform your thesis research under the direction of any faculty member in the school.

The classroom curriculum begins with a first semester core course in Biochemistry and Gene Expression, designed specifically for and taken by all entering MCB graduate students. In the second semester, you take an intensive graduate course in Advanced Cell Biology. The curriculum includes a core, consisting of a year of  biochemistry and cell biology and an area of specialization suited to your career goals:


Additional course requirements are kept to a minimum, but are designed to provide a sound foundation from which to launch a career in academics, research, or industry. Our department sponsors a diverse program of nationally and internationally prominent seminars. You will interact with the speakers. Our series is complemented by those in related departments which, taken together, comprise an exciting and stimulating environment.

We will encourage you to participate in regional and national meetings and symposia. Resources are available to defray costs of travel and accommodations at these meetings. Both MCB and CDB provide funds for special academic opportunities for graduate students. These have included study at research institutes such as Woods Hole and attendance at international symposia and meetings to present papers.

Our department sponsors an annual retreat at which you and our faculty present research and discuss other research and educational issues of the department. The retreat provides an excellent opportunity for you and faculty members to exchange ideas and develop collaborative interactions.

We encourage you to contact the chairman of the graduate recruiting committee, or the graduate secretary at (217) 333-6118, if you have further questions regarding the cell and developmental biology graduate program.


The Department of CDB contains all of the equipment appropriate for modern biological research. Specialized facilities are available within the department. Both the School of MCB and campus house a wide array of research facilities and support services.

Admission Process

CDB is part of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois. For graduate studies in CDB apply directly to the MCB Graduate Program.

Important factors in the evaluation of the application are general academic performance, background in the biological and chemical sciences and mathematics, graduate record examination or medical college aptitude test scores (for those students entering the Medical Scholars Program), and letters of recommendation from college professors. Undergraduate research experience is beneficial.

Once admitted into MCB, you can choose from available laboratories run by CDB faculty members and others in MCB. During your first semester, you will rotate through three laboratories in order to learn experimental techniques and the information you need to choose a research project. You will select a research adviser and formally join the graduate program by the spring semester of your first year.

Financial Support

Financial support is offered for the duration of your graduate studies at the university. Entering students, depending upon their qualifications, may be awarded a departmental fellowship, be placed into competition for a university fellowship, or be provided with a research or teaching assistantship with accompanying tuition and fee waiver. Financial packages combining two or more of these resources are frequently offered to outstanding applicants.

As a continuing student, you will customarily derive your support from either research or teaching assistantships.

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