General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 120
  • Students: 100
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Part time study available: No
  • Application Terms: Fall
  • Application Deadline: November 30
Application Info


Jodi Belanger, Program Coordinator

Cell and Molecular Biology
Program Administrator
Box 3709
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710

Phone: (919) 684-8073



Ph.D. admitting and degree-granting program* During the 2021-2022 academic year, CMB transitioned to a full, degree-granting graduate program in partnership with the Department of Cell Biology. Students who matriculate in fall 2022 will remain in CMB throughout their time at Duke, complete a unified, integrated curriculum and obtain a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Program Description

The Cell and Molecular Biology program provides a core curriculum in those subjects that are of importance to all students in the fields of cell and molecular biology, complemented by specific courses in each student's area of concentration. Specializations include: molecular, genetic and quantitative biology approaches in the study of normal and disease states; the structure-function relationships of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids; genome and proteome regulation, organization, and expression; cell membranes, motility, and cytoskeletal dynamics; development and differentiation; receptors and signal transduction; organelle trafficking and modulation; the development and function of the nervous system; and regulatory events in the immune system. The program features a laboratory rotation system that allows students to research in three or more laboratories of their choice before selecting an advisor.  Required CMB coursework includes a semester-long course in which students choose two-week in-depth modules taught by faculty experts in those areas, a grant-writing course, a course that focuses on core techniques used in cell and molecular biology research, and a seminar class in which more senior students give research talks to first- and second-year students.  Peer and faculty mentoring sessions, extensive professional development and wellness resources, and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are also integral aspects of the CMB program.

Students matriculating in CMB in fall 2022 will remain in the degree-granting program throughout their time at Duke and obtain a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Certificate in Cell and Molecular Biology

CMB students will receive their PhD from the department with which they affiliate and they will receive a certificate in cell and molecular biology for completing the CMB curriculum. The two-year course curriculum includes the following as well as courses recommended or required by the PhD-granting department:

  • Cell and Molecular Biology 710A-F for two semesters (12 units)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology 764 for four semesters

Note: Students matriculating at Duke in August 2022 or later are not eligible for the CMB certificate.

For additional information, please visit the CMB website.


Application Information

Application Terms Available: Fall

Application Deadline: November 30

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (see departmental guidance below)
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores:
    • GRE General: Optional
    • This program does not require applicants to provide GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or other graduate entrance exam scores, but does allow you to upload scores if you feel they enhance your application. If you choose to submit test scores, you may enter them on the Test Scores page. If you choose to enter self-reported test scores, official test scores will become a required component of your application.
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Statement of Purpose Guidelines
The personal statement is a key component of your graduate school application. It is your opportunity to tell us what things are most meaningful to you, what is motivating you to pursue graduate training, and why you think Duke CMB is a good fit for your goals. Informative topics include your contributions to past research experiences and insights you’ve gained from them, challenges you have faced and how they’ve affected you, particular fields and/or P.I.’s of interest, areas in which you aspire to improve during your graduate training, what you value in a graduate program, your vision for your post-graduate path, and anything else you feel is important for us to know about you as a person and as an early-career scientist.

Writing Sample
None required

Additional Components
CMB does not review video essays in its admissions process.

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance