What will I learn?

The Graduate Programs in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) provide rigorous, individualized graduate research training that emphasizes innovative research leading to the Master’s and Doctoral degrees. MCDB graduate programs provide a solid foundation in current knowledge yet allow students the flexibility to choose their own path of inquiry. Modern molecular and cellular biological research moves at a rapid pace that requires novel ideas, scientific interaction and new experimental approaches. The MCDB program provides multiple opportunities to gain expertise in diverse fields of research, in addition to lab rotations and courses that are usually completed in the first year of study. A full schedule of weekly seminars by invited speakers and annual research retreat form the framework for scientific interactions. Students participate in weekly research seminars presented by postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students. Individual faculty members also organize special topics seminars that focus on important research problems in their own disciplines. A full-range of state-of-the-art facilities are available, including digital imaging and microscopy instrumentation, DNA sequencing, RNAseq, and computer analysis laboratories. In addition, a wide range of biochemical and biophysical instrumentation, including mass spectrometry, CD, and X-Ray crystallography facilities, are available on the UCSB campus.

Research in MCDB spans a broad range of topics in biomedical science including: bacterial pathogenesis, biochemistry, cell biology, cell physiology, developmental biology, gene regulation, genetics, immunology and allorecognition, microbiology, molecular marine biology, neurobiology, pharmacology, plant molecular biology and physiology, and virology. The faculty in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology engage in transdisciplinary research, and have earned numerous distinctions and awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and receipt of Keck, Pioneer, and National Institutes of Health Merit Awards.

Which department am I in?

College of Letters and Science

Study options

Full Time (Time-to-Degree: 3 years to advance to candidacy, 6 years to complete the Ph.D.)

Tuition fees
US$15,102.00 per year
Application deadline

Expected December 2021

Start date

Expected September, October 2022


College of Letters and Science

2217 Cheadle Hall, MC 2080,

University of California, Santa Barbara,



93106, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Students must have a paper-based TEOFL score of 550.

For international students

To be considered for admission to UCSB, applicants must have received a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent (with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better) from an accredited university prior to the quarter for which admission is sought.

TOEFL scores 550 Paper-Based Test (PBT), 80 Internet-Based Test (IBT) or 7 or above (if applicable) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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