Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) is an interdisciplinary program that allows graduate students to explore and discover the mechanisms of life processes. We offer a wide range of graduate research opportunities in plant, animal, and microbial systems at the cellular and molecular levels. The collaborative research efforts of over 50 (and growing) faculty in twelve departments provide an outstanding environment for graduate education and intellectual development. In the first year, students usually select a permanent lab for their Ph.D. research by participating in laboratory rotations that involve temporary but substantial research projects. After completing a balanced program of classroom study, and a major body of independent research that contributes significant new knowledge to the life sciences, the student is awarded a doctor of philosophy degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
Graduates of the MCDB program are highly qualified researchers with a solid grounding in molecular, cellular and developmental biological sciences. Moreover, they have the ability to think and perform research independently. This breadth and depth of training provides graduates with a wide field of post-graduate career opportunities. Many of our graduates choose research and/or teaching careers at major universities, medical schools, or small colleges. Other graduates choose positions in agricultural or pharmaceutical companies, or government laboratories.
Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate or advanced degree in one of the basic or applied life sciences. The following courses are required for admission into the MCDB Program:
- Mathematics, through one year of calculus
- Organic chemistry, one year
- Physics, one year
- Biological sciences, two years
Applicants may be admitted without one or more of these requirements if, in the judgment of the MCDB Selection Committee, any deficiency can be remedied by additional courses within the graduate program.
The MCDB program also requires the submission of official GRE general scores. GRE subject tests in biology or biochemistry are to the applicant's advantage. TOEFL is required of non-native speakers that have not obtained a degree from a United States college or university. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score (computer based) is 250.
Initiating the Application Process
- Application begins with submission of a preapplication form. There is no fee for submission and review of the preapplication! All pre-applications MUST be submitted in full by January 15th.
- Please submit the MCDB departmental application online. This form can be found at http://www.mcdb.iastate.edu/prospective/application.php
In addition, please submit the following materials in ONE packet and mail to the address below
- Official academic records from each previous institution attended, in sealed envelopes. Iowa State transcripts will be provided at no cost.
- Three letters of recommendation. Please have letters written on OFFICIAL letterhead and placed in a sealed letterhead envelope that has the recommender's signature across the seal.
- Examination Results. Please include a photocopy of each examination result in your pre-application packet. If an offer is made to you, official test scores will need to be sent directly from ETS to Iowa State, but only if an offer is made. The exams required are:
- Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Subject tests are not required but can be submitted if desired.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (for nonnative English speakers only.)
- Statement of Purpose, Goals, and Research Interests
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae (Please include a description of previous honors, scholarships, research activities, publications, and outstanding extracurricular work.)
Once complete, please mail your self-managed application materials and checklist in ONE ENVELOPE to:
2018 Molecular Biology Building
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-3260
Reviewing your Pre-Application Packet
The MCDB admissions committee will review the pre-application materials (see above) and will make a decision on admission into the program. If the committee makes an offer of admission, students MUST complete the following steps in order to be officially considered for admission to Iowa State University by the Graduate College
The Admission Decision
- Offers of admission will begin to be made approximately March 15th.
- Offers of admission will be via email to the email address provided on your online application
- When a student is offered admission he/she will need to submit the Iowa State University Graduate College online application for admission IF he or she chooses to accept the offer. If the offer is decline, not further action is required.
- The Graduate College application should be submitted only after being notified by the MCDB department that you are being offered admission into the program. Do not submit the Graduate College application for admission without being directed to do so by the MCDB Program Coordinator.
The Graduate College Application - For Students Who Are Offered Admission
- Submit the Graduate College online application from the Graduate Admissions website.
- Note: the fee for application to the Graduate College will be waived. It is not necessary to send any application fee to apply to the MCDB program
- Request Official GRE & TOEFL scores to be sent to the ISU Graduate Admissions Office
- The final decision of formal admission to the University for all students lies with the Graduate College.
Pre-application packets can be sent to the program at any time, but the admissions committee begins making admissions decisions on January 15.