University of Colorado - Boulder

College of Arts and Sciences

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology


ECOT 311, 530 UCB

University of Colorado, 478UCB

Boulder, CO 80309

United States





Program Information

Degrees Offered:

, M.A. - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Format: Hybrid

Program Description:

The graduate program in MCDB is designed to provide students with diverse opportunities for acquiring a strong foundation in modern biology and applying it toward the generation of new knowledge through research.

The Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology currently has 28 full-time tenured/tenure­track faculty members and an outstanding, energetic research program directed toward understanding the molecular basis of life by integrating molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and genetics. The research in MCDB is currently supported by annual funding of almost $17 million.

Students accepted into the graduate program are provided with financial support (full tuition, fees and monthly stipend) during the tenure of their study, provided they are making appropriate progress toward the PhD degree. Support funds are available from National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health, University of Colorado Fellowships, State of Colorado Education Programs, the Colorado Institute for Research in Biotechnology and research assistantships.

Research Opportunities

In addition to academic and laboratory classes, MCDB majors have many opportunities to participate in ongoing research in the department.

The department is housed in two adjoining buildings containing more than 120,000 square feet of laboratory space designed specifically for its research programs. The second building, completed in 1995, doubled the department’s laboratory space and has allowed for faculty expansion into new areas, including mammalian development and problems relating to human health. Current research includes bacterial and eukaryotic molecular genetics, mechanisms controlling cellular growth, survival and differentiation, animal and plant development, neurobiology, genomic analysis and molecular phylogeny.

Specialized instruments and facilities in MCDB include a DNA sequencing service, advanced computer facilities, a pathogen­free transgenic mouse laboratory, freeze­etch equipment and advanced light and electron microscope facilities, including fluorescence deconvolution and confocal scanning light microscopes and two advanced intermediate volt electron microscopes for three­dimensional imaging. In addition, each faculty research laboratory is fully equipped for the specialized needs of the research being done there.

Dozens of undergraduates do research projects in the MCDB faculty laboratories each year. Students seeking to do research are advised to complete the required sequence of MCDB courses as early as possible in order to be better prepared academically for research, to meet more faculty and to have enough time left later for full involvement in a research project. Undergraduate research experience greatly improves the likelihood of admission to a high quality PhD program as the next step toward a career in research.


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Facts & Figures

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Extensive

Locale: Small City

Size & Settings: 20,000-39,999

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