Graduate Program

Former MCD Biology graduate student Laura Gaydos is continuing her career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

Ph.D. Program

The Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology participates in the graduate Program in Biomedical Science and Engineering (PBSE). Fifty-two faculty members who come primarily from the Departments of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, offer an unusual breadth of expertise and exceptional opportunities in interdisciplinary graduate research training. When students apply to the PBSE they indicate interest in one of four training tracks:

Each of the tracks provides a set of focused core courses and advanced electives that draw on the expertise of the PBSE faculty and provide students with advanced training in interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical science and engineering. During the first year, students do research rotations in the labs of three PBSE faculty members. Interdisciplinary rotations are encouraged. The MCD track has an excellent training record and is supported by a National Institutes of Health Training Grant. Former graduate students have obtained faculty positions at prominent academic institutions such as Harvard Medical School, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Texas, as well as at top tier biotechnology firms, such as Affymetrix.

PhD Application
To start your application, please visit the Graduate Application Page. The application period for the Ph.D. program will be open October 1 - December 1.
Please refer to the Graduate Admissions website for information about the application process.
To view a list of the specific materials required to apply to the MCD PhD program, visit the PBSE-MCD Graduate Studies page.
Submission of General or Subject GRE scores is not required.


Master's (M.S.) Program

The MCD department also accepts applications from students interested in obtaining a Master's degree. This is typically a two year program carried out under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Acceptance into the M.S. program requires a faculty sponsor from MCD Biology before submitting an application, and students are expected to include a letter from their faculty sponsor detailing such support in their application. This letter does not need to promise financial support, but it should indicate that the faculty member approves of the applicant to join their lab as a Master's student.

This letter of acceptance into a lab is required to be considered for admission to the M.S. program, however it does not necessarily guarantee admission.

Students interested in a Master's degree should directly contact faculty members with whom they would like to work and obtain a letter of sponsorship prior to applying in order to secure acceptance into a lab.

MS Application
To start your application, please visit the Graduate Application Page. The application period for the Master's Program will be open October 1 - April 1.
Please refer to the Graduate Admissions website for information about the application process.
To view a list of the specific materials required to apply to the MS program, visit the MCD-MS Graduate Studies page. Submission of General or Subject GRE scores is not required.

Support for Graduate Studies

The MCD program strives to support PhD graduate students for up to 5 years. Support is provided in the form of Graduate Student Researchships (GSRs), Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and a limited number of fellowships. Graduate advisors generally support their students during the summer as GSRs.

Programs for Underrepresented Groups:  Our program is firmly committed to furthering the careers of women and underrepresented minorities in biomedical science, and is closely affiliated with UCSC's highly successful Minority Access to Biomedical Research Careers.

Financial Support: The National Institutes of Health recognized the quality of the MCD training program and its students by awarding an NIH T-32 Training Grant. The program was also awarded a collaborative training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to support research trainees in the area of stem cell biology. The department also has abundant sources of Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships available to support all of our graduate students. Support levels are competitive with other graduate programs in the Bay Area.  

Resources and Career Planning

View and download a list of Biotech companies in the San Francisco Area Bay Area and Santa Cruz 
Have additional questions about the PhD or MS programs? Email Grace Kistler-Fair at mkistler@ucsc.edu
Detailed descriptions of courses and other requirements for both the Ph.D. and Master's Program can be reviewed in the Graduate Handbook.

See Also