Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Ph.D.

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development TCBS
Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development TMED
Graduate School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
MCDB&G Graduate Program, 6-160 Jackson Hall, 321 Church Street S.E., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-7470, fax: 612-626-6140)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2016
  • Length of program in credits: 48
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
This program provides scientific training in the basic life sciences, with emphasis on the molecular basis of genetics, development, and cell biology. Areas of specialization include membranes, receptors, membrane transport, cell interactions, macromolecular structure, extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton, cell motility, regulation of gene expression, neuroscience, developmental mechanisms, human genetics, plant cell and molecular biology, genetic mechanisms, and genomics. The program is interdisciplinary and involves faculty from several departments in the College of Biological Sciences, the Medical School, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Institutes for human genetics, plant molecular genetics, biological process technology, Genome Engineering, Stem Cell research and a center for developmental biology provide opportunities for graduate study. Ph.D. students are admitted to MCDB&G under the auspices of Molecular, Cellular and Structural Biology (MCSB), a first year program administered by the MCDB&G and the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics (BMBB) Graduate Programs. After the first year, students select either MCDB&G or BMBB to complete their degree. MCDB&G does not have a freestanding master's program. The MCDB&G Ph.D. is also part of two joint degree programs: The Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and Life Sciences; and the M.D./Ph.D. program. The Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and Life Sciences is unique in the nation and enables students to combine a J.D. degree with a Ph.D. or M.S. degree. Students entering this program must be admitted to both the MCDB&G program and the Law School. Admission qualifications for M.S. and Ph.D. students are identical; only the student's career objectives distinguish the degree that they pursue. The M.D./Ph.D. program emphasizes integration of the two major components of training--medicine and research--to ensure excellence in both. The program features a special curriculum that facilitates the transition from Medical School to the first year of formal graduate training, and the transition from graduate training back to Medical School.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Applications from students with an undergraduate or master's degree in the biological, chemical, or physical sciences are preferred.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Recommended academic preparation includes coursework in molecular biology, genetics, biology, and biochemistry. Successful applicants must have previous research experience in an academic or industrial setting in addition to any course-related laboratory experiences. It is important to demonstrate familiarity with and aptitude for basic science research prior to embarking on a graduate career in this program.
Special Application Requirements:
Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic and research capabilities. A statement of interests and goals, a complete set of transcripts, and scores from the General Test of the GRE are required. We will accept copies of the transcripts and GRE scores. The GRE Subject Test in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biology, or chemistry is strongly recommended, but not required. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is December 1. Graduate studies begin fall semester only. Entry into the J.D./Ph.D. program requires separate admittance to both the Law School and the MCDB&G Graduate Program. Entry into the M.D./Ph.D. program requires separate admittance to both the Medical School and the MCDB&G Graduate Program.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
    • General Test - Verbal Reasoning: 550
    • General Test - Quantitative Reasoning: 600
    • General Test - Analytical Writing: 3.5
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 107
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 25
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 25
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 625
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
12 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
The Ph.D. program is designed by the student and the adviser to meet individual interests and goals. Advanced courses in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, and biochemistry are required, in addition to special courses, topical seminar courses, laboratory research rotations, thesis research, student research seminars, departmental seminars, and journal clubs. The student's core curriculum is multidisciplinary and contributes to both major and minor field requirements. Ph.D. students serve as TAs for two semesters during their graduate career. Students in one of the joint degree programs serve as a TA for one semester. This program is part of Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences offering a J.D./Ph.D. and a J.D./M.S. track. Selected courses must be approved by the DGS. Students pursuing the J.D./Ph.D. start by completing the first year of Law School, then enter the Ph.D. portion of the program and complete this degree before returning to finish Law School. This program also offers a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree program; 12 credits of Medical School courses can be used to fulfill credit requirements for the Ph.D. program with approval of the DGS. Students pursuing the M.D./Ph.D. start the program by completing the first two years of Medical School during which time they do laboratory rotations. After selecting a laboratory, they then enter the Ph.D. portion of the program and complete this degree before returning to finish Medical School.
First Year
To obtain a PhD in MCDB&G, all students must complete the following courses.
BIOC 8001 - Biochemistry: Structure, Catalysis, and Metabolism (3.0 cr)
BIOC 8002 - Molecular Biology and Regulation of Biological Processes (3.0 cr)
MCDG 8920 - Special Topics (1.0-4.0 cr)
MCDG 8900 - Student Research Seminar (1.0 cr)
GCD 8151 - Cellular Biochemistry and Cell Biology (2.0-4.0 cr)
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology (1.0 cr)
GCD 8131 - Advanced Molecular Genetics and Genomics (3.0 cr)
GCD 8171 - Literature Analysis (1.0-2.0 cr)
Joint- or Dual-degree Coursework:
The Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences; and the M.D./Ph.D. program. Students may take a total of 12 credits in common among the academic programs.
 
More program views..
· Graduate School
View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2020
· Fall 2018
· Spring 2018
· Fall 2016

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BIOC 8001 - Biochemistry: Structure, Catalysis, and Metabolism
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Protein structure, methods to determine structure, protein folding, forces stabilizing macromolecular structure, protein engineering, design. Dynamic properties of proteins/enzymes, enzyme substrate complexes, mechanism of enzyme catalysis. Enzymology of metabolic regulation and cell signaling. prereq: BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G grad student or instr consent
BIOC 8002 - Molecular Biology and Regulation of Biological Processes
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Classical to current topics in molecular biology. Aspects of DNA, RNA, and protein biology. DNA replication, repair, and recombination. RNA transcription, editing, and regulation. Protein translation/modification. Technologies such as deep-sequencing micro-RNA and prions. prereq: [BMBB or MCDBG] grad student or instr consent
MCDG 8920 - Special Topics
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Special Topics Course in the Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Program, including Itasca Research. prereq: Grad MCDG or BMBB major or dept consent
MCDG 8900 - Student Research Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 10.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Presentation/discussion of student thesis research. prereq: Grad MCDG or BMBB major dept consent
GCD 8151 - Cellular Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Credits: 2.0 -4.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course introduces graduate students to fundamental concepts of Biochemical Unity (Part 1) and Cell Theory (Part 2). For Part 1, we will discuss matter of life, equilibrium, entropy & law of mass action, two state systems, random walks & diffusion, rate equations of chemical reactions, and explore how they relate to regulation of biological networks (gene regulation and signal transduction). For Part 2 we will focus on properties of biological membranes, membrane trafficking, protein import & degradation, nuclear structures and their function, as well as molecular motors, cytoskeletal dynamics, and mitosis. The course assumes students have had previous undergraduate courses in cell biology, biochemistry and genetics. prereq: [[[4034 or 8121 or BioC 8002], Biol 4004] or BMBB or MCDBG grad student] or instr consent
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: Bioc 8401/GCD 8401
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Ethics of scientific investigation from viewpoint of western scientific enterprise. Relationship between science, culture, and public policies. Careers in molecular/cellular biology. Nontraditional career tracks. Invited speakers, case studies, small-group discussions, lectures. prereq: Grad student in [BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G]
GCD 8131 - Advanced Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Literature-based course in modern molecular genetic and genomic analysis. Students will gain a deep understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms controlling inheritance in biological systems. Students will gain a facility in thinking critically and creatively about how genes work at cellular, organismal, and transgenerational levels. Course instruction emphasizes active-learning approaches, student presentations, and group projects. prereq: [3022 or BIOL 4003], [BIOC 3021 or BIOC 4331] or instr consent
GCD 8171 - Literature Analysis
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Critical reading and evaluation of current literature. May include evaluation of both excellent and flawed papers. Intensive and in-depth discussions of selected papers in molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, and developmental biology. prereq: Grad MCDB&G or BMBB major