Molecular Biosciences

Molecular Biosciences is an umbrella program that administers five graduate programs in the biomedical and life sciences at Rutgers University. Molecular Biosciences serves as an entry portal to review applications for admission, coordinate the first-year curriculum, and assist students to identify a laboratory in which to conduct their thesis research.  Students are free to carry out their PhD research with any faculty member affiliated with one of the five Molecular Biosciences graduate programs.

Molecular Biosciences offers research opportunities in more than 150 laboratories across campus. A stipend, tuition remission, and health benefits are guaranteed for all students in good standing with the program. While students initially apply to one of five programs for admission, they may select any program at the end of their first year. Although each program has unique features, course requirements overlap and students from different programs can be found in any given lab.

Following the first year, students in Molecular Biosciences programs have the flexibility to create an individualized curriculum tailored to match their research training needs. With input from their academic and thesis advisors, students select from a variety of one, two and three-credit courses to deepen and complement the knowledge needed to pursue their own thesis project. As one of their course requirements, and in alignment with NIH training goals, all students must take a course in biostatistics, which is done typically during the second year.

Toward the end of the second year, students present a written thesis proposal and are examined by a committee of three faculty. To facilitate their progress, students meet at least annually with a thesis advisory committee consisting of at least three program faculty, who help the advisor in guiding the student’s research project. Most students complete and defend their thesis within 5 to 6 years.

Three of the programs also offer an MS degree to which students may apply directly.


  • Biochemistry (16:115)

    Faculty research spans a wide variety of topics, including: DNA replication and transcription, virus gene expression, tumor biology, structural biochemistry, signal transduction and molecular targeting, protein chemistry and enzymology.
  • Cell and Developmental Biology (16:148)

    The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) offers both PhD and MS degrees with research that spans the broad fields of molecular biology, cell biology, cancer biology, genetics, neurobiology, and developmental biology. Researchers draw upon diverse experimental systems ranging from tissue culture, invertebrates, and humans.
  • Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology (16:718)

    Pharmacology is a science that seeks to improve human health with drugs. Researchers in this program use the tools of molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, chemistry and biochemistry to define biological pathways that can be manipulated.
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (16:681)

    The Graduate Program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) offers both PhD and MS degrees with research in the following areas: molecular genetics, microbial physiology, virology, pathogenic microbiology, applied and environmental microbiology, and computers in molecular biology.
  • Physiology and Integrative Biology (16:761)

    The graduate program in Physiology and Integrative Biology (PIB) offers both PhD and MS degrees. This program is designed to provide training at the interface of genomics, cell biology and organismal physiology. Specific topics include molecular endocrinology, cardiovascular research, cancer biology, membrane structure and signal transduction, host-microbial interaction and the physiological bases of diseases.