Prospective MCB Graduate Students

Candidates interested in one or more of the departmental programs in the School of MCB (Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, or Molecular and Integrative Physiology) will apply to the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. Admission to the MCB Ph.D. program requires a bachelor's degree in biological or physical sciences.

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

Apply to MCB

Fall 2022 Deadline: December 1, 2021

Admission Fees

  • Domestic applicants are required to submit a $70.00 application fee.
  • International applicants are required to submit a $90.00 application fee.
  • Application fee requirements and information on fee waivers for domestic applicants can be found here.

Admission Procedure

  1. Submit an application to the University of Illinois Graduate Program:
    • 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 faculty of interest in the Proposed Program of Study section of the online application.
  2. Submit CV or resume online as part of application.
  3. Submit research statement as part of application.
    • Research statements should focus on relevant research experience and what was learned as part of that experience.
    • Research statements should also include goals for graduate study and faculty of interest.
    • It’s also recommended that applicants include a brief statement about why they are applying to MCB at Illinois and their future professional career goals.
    • Research statements should be no more than 2-3 pages in length. Personal statements are not required and should not be submitted.
  4. Indicate names and emails of 3 references on the application
    • 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. Submit transcript online as part of the application.
    • Upload unofficial transcripts for each degree-granting institution attended.
    • If degree has been awarded, the transcript should reflect the degree conferred and conferral date. For international institutions where conferral information is not available on transcripts, then a separate certificate of degree or diploma should be uploaded.
    • If the academic credentials provided are from an international institution and they are not in English, then a translation must accompany all documents.
  6. New GRE policy for 2018-19 admissions season.
    • Effective for those applying to the Fall 2019 season, MCB will no longer require GRE scores.
    • This decision was made after reviewing data that indicates GRE scores are not useful predictors in determining an applicant’s overall success in a Ph.D. program.
  7. Submit TOEFL scores if required.
    • MCB requires a minimum overall TOEFLibt score of 96 and a minimum speaking score of 22 to be eligible for admission.
    • TOEFL scores should be sent electronically from ETS to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using institution code 1836 (no department code required).
    • All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the TOEFL. TOEFL scores must be less than 2 years old from the proposed term of entry in order to be valid.
    • MCB will NOT accept the IELTS exam as evidence of English Proficiency.
    • See the English Proficiency Requirements for Admission regarding TOEFL exemption questions.

Additional Information for International Students

  1. Pre-Application Review
    • International applicants still wishing to know whether or not they are eligible for admission may submit a pre-application form for review. Please note the pre-application does require GRE scores to be submitted as part of the review process.
    • The pre-application is not required. International students may proceed directly to the full application.
    • Pre-Application Deadline: November 15 We will not review any pre-applications after this date. As the pre-application is not required, applicants should follow the above admission procedure to submit a full application.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 admitted as the time of application submission.
    • For additional information on passport requirements, please visit the Graduate College FAQ for International Applicants.

Application Deadline

Fall 2022 Deadline: December 1, 2021

  • To receive full consideration, ALL application materials need to be received by the application deadline.
  • We do not offer spring admission or summer admission.

Mailing and Contact Information

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

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