Cell and Developmental Biology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 50.8 k / Year(s) Deadline: Dec 1, 2023
166 place StudyQA ranking:1017 Duration: You need IELTS certificate

Photos of university / #RutgersU

The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) offers both PhD and MS degrees and is part of a diverse, interactive community of biological scientists working at Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The graduate program has approximately 130 faculty members from the two universities 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. The goal of the program is to provide a challenging and rewarding environment in which students can develop fully their research skills for future careers in academia or in biotech/pharma.

Applicants for the Ph.D. are admitted through an umbrella program, the Graduate Programs in Molecular Biosciences, which consists of five graduate programs and manages admissions and first year courses for Ph.D. students (see listing for MBS in this catalog). Applicants to the M.S. program apply directed to the CDB Graduate Program.

The PhD requirements include a set of first-year core courses, encompassing a broad range of biological topics. In addition, a series of seminar courses designed to enhance critical thinking and experimental design are incorporated into the first year curriculum. At the end of the first year and going forward, students are required to conduct laboratory research, pass parts I and II of the qualifying examination, and write and defend a research dissertation. All Ph.D. students will receive a competitive stipend, health benefits, and tuition remission for the duration of their graduate studies, provided that academic standards are met and progress towards a Ph.D. is maintained.

First Year
Molecular Biosciences Requirements - 23 credits

Fund of Molec Biosciences (16:695:538)

6 credits

Experimental Meth in Molec Biosci (16:695:539)

2 credits

Essential Skills I (16:695:551)

1 credit

Ethical Scientific Conduct (16:115:556)

1 credit

Lab Rotation I and II (16:695:615)

4 credits

Mini-Courses in Molec Biosciences (16:695:621-638, 1 credit each)

6 credits

Essential Skills II (16:695:552)

1 credit

Lab Rotation III (16:695:615)

2 credits

Second Year
CDB  Requirements

Adv Developmental Biology (16:148:550)

3 credits

Advanced Electives (Total of 1 in 2nd or 3rd year)

3 credits

Seminar in CDB (1 per semester)

2 credits

Prog Reports of MBS Students (1 per semester) (16:695:600)


Research Credits (variable)

Third Year
CDB  Requirements

Seminar (from any program)

1 credit

Prog Reports of MBS Students (1 per semester) (16:695:600)


Research Credits (variable)

Fourth Year
Graduate Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Requirements

Research Credits (variable)

1 credit

Prog Reports of MBS Students (1 per semester) (16:695:600)

16:115:558 Ethical Scientific Conduct Refresher. This course is required of all 5th year graduate students as well as MD/PhD in the 3rd year of PhD. This is a case-based course that reviews the most important topics in Responsible Conduct of Research. It complies with NIH requirements.

Total course credits: 32, Thesis Research (148:701,702): 24 credits minimum. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 72 credits consisting of coursework and thesis research for the Ph.D. degree.

Qualifying Examination

The Ph.D. qualifying examination consists of two parts. The first part is a written comprehensive test. The second will be an oral examination based on a proposal written on the area of the student’s dissertation research.

Part I of Qualifying Examination

To be held in June of the first year or after completion of the set of 4 core courses. The students will be given a selection of journal articles at least 14 days prior to the exam. There will be a two-day written exam related to these articles to test basic knowledge, comprehension of the papers, and experimental design. The questions can be specific as well as wide-ranging.

The examination will be prepared and graded on a pass/fail basis by a committee of faculty members. A student must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to sit for the examination and must pass the examination to remain in the Ph. D. program.

If the performance of a student on the examination is unsatisfactory, the student may be given another chance. If that examination is still unsatisfactory the student will be required to terminate from the program.

Part II of Qualifying Examination

Research Proposal: The student should have a permanent thesis advisor by the beginning of their second year of Ph.D. studies, and it is then that the student should work towards completing part II of the qualifying examination. Since he/she will be in the initial stages of the research problem the research proposal presents an opportunity to thoroughly research the background of the problem and to develop a logical research plan for the dissertation research. Preliminary research results are not required for this proposal and completion of this part of the examination.

The proposal will consist of an introduction and background relevant to the proposed study, the significance of the proposed study, and the experimental plan. It will be presented to a committee of at least 4 members (the advisor, 2 other faculty members of the CDB faculty, and an outside member). The presentation will be followed by questions from the committee relating to problems that may arise with the proposed research plan, expected results and their interpretation and alternate experimental strategies.



Academic Standards and Termination: A student is required to carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing in the program. It is also expected that the student will receive a grade of “Satisfactory” (S) for research credits. Students failing to achieve the 3.0 GPA will be sent a warning letter and be given a year to remedy that deficiency, and to bring his/her cumulative GPA up to 3.0 or better. Failing to do so will result in termination from the program. A notice of termination will be sent to the Dean of the Graduate School- New Brunswick.

Progress Report: For students that have passed their qualifying examination and admitted to the Ph.D. candidacy, he/she must meet with a thesis advisory committee at least once every academic year and submit a written progress report to the Program Office by June 15. The Progress Report will be used by the faculty in its annual Review of student accomplishment. It is essential that the student’s research advisor make sure that each student maintains good progress toward his/her degree and schedules annual meetings with his/her thesis advisory committee.

Language Requirements: Competence in written English is required. The Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program has no foreign language requirement.

Registration Requirements: All students are required to maintain continuous registration until the completion of the final examination. Students will have to re-apply for admission if there is a lapse in their matriculation. Ph.D. students, who are on campus, including all those assistantships and everyone else whose academic activities are here, must register for a minimum of 3 credits per semester. Ph.D. students that are away from the campus (i.e. Not working or residing in the tri-state area), must register for a minimum of 1-credit of research. For M.S. students, the minimal registration requirement is MATRICULATION CONTINUED (148:800, 0 credit). Contact either the program office or the graduate school for specifics.

Restriction on the enrollment in the medical School courses: Enrollment in the Medical School courses requires permission of the student’s advisor and the course instructor. Normally, a student may take no more than 7 credits of course work offered by the Medical School in any given semester.

Requirements for the transfer from non-matriculated to matriculated status: Non-matriculated student who wishes to be considered for admission into a degree program may submit a full application to the Graduate School for consideration of admission to the CBD program.

  • Online application
  • Application fee (non-refundable $70). Please see graduate admissions website for information on fee waivers.
  • One official transcript from each post-secondary institution attended. Please use the upload links in the Grad Portal to upload your own, unofficial transcript copies.  This will enable the Admissions Committee to review your application without waiting for individual institutions to send originals. Please also request that your previous institutions forward official transcripts.
  • A personal statement; explain your motivation for pursuing a PhD degree; describe your previous research experience(s) highlighting objectives; challenges and outcomes; if there is something you feel the admissions committee should know about you, include it in your statement
  • Three letters of recommendation. Letters from faculty who supervised your research or know you well from a classroom experience will help the admissions committee evaluate your motivation, work ethic, curiosity, initiative, persistence, intellectual ability and willingness to work with others
  • GRE general test (all applicants) and TOEFL (for international applicants). GRE subject test scores are optional.
  • Curriculum Vitae (resume) may be uploaded as supporting documentation


Students admitted to the PhD programs in Molecular Biosciences receive a fellowship in their first year that includes a stipend, health insurance and tuition.  In 2016, the stipend was $29,605.   Students making good progress toward the degree can anticipate full funding until the PhD is awarded.

In addition to this, many students apply for and receive competitive state and national fellowships to support their training.

Similar programs:
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 68.8 k / Year(s)
Deadline: Jan 2, 2024 501–600 place StudyQA ranking: 1299 You need IELTS certificate
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 26.8 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 26.8 k / Year(s)
Deadline: Dec 1, 2023 111 place StudyQA ranking: 722 You need IELTS certificate
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 69.8 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 69.8 k / Year(s)
Deadline: Dec 1, 2023 170 place StudyQA ranking: 1790 You need IELTS certificate
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 30.8 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 49.7 k / Year(s)
184 place StudyQA ranking: 2773 You need IELTS certificate
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 20.8 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 20.8 k / Year(s)
Deadline: Dec 1, 2023 19 place StudyQA ranking: 1809 You need IELTS certificate