MS and PhD in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences

The Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) program is transdisciplinary and intercollegiate, bringing together basic, applied, and clinical scientists from across the University of Minnesota to provide students with individualized, cutting-edge biomedical research training to address both animal and human health. The CMB program focuses on health that spans a wide range of species, from laboratory animal, companion animal, and livestock species to humans, is unique within the University of Minnesota.

Our mission is to prepare outstanding the basic mechanisms of animal and human health and disease. Graduates are prepared for careers as independent investigators and educators in:

  • Comparative animal biology and genetics
  • Molecular mechanisms of health and disease
  • Immunology and host defense
  • Animal models of human disease 

Application Criteria

Students with a BA or BS in biological sciences are encouraged to apply. A minimum grade performance average (GPA) of 3.25 (on a four-point scale) is required. Prior research experience is strongly preferred. 

Students whose native language is not English will be considered if they have received the following minimal scores obtained within the past two years from one of the following English proficiency examinations:

  • TOEFL: 79; reading, 19; and writing, 21
  • MELAB: 80
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, reading 6.5, writing 6.5

Applications are considered for Fall term admission. The application deadline is December 1st.

Filling out an application is easy and can be accomplished through the online application system. But you’ll need to assemble a few things before you start, including a resume or CV, names and e-mail address of three people who can comment on your academic and research skills, an applicant statement, a credit or debit card to pay the application fee ($75-95), unofficial transcripts or academic records from each secondary learning institution attended, GRE scores if available and, if applicable, TOEFL scores. 

Start your application  

Students in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) are engaged in research in a variety of areas in biomedical sciences at the intersection of animal and human health. Our students study infectious and zoonotic diseases, genetics and genomics, molecular mechanisms of health and disease, virology and bacteriology, among other areas of research.

Our faculty will help to provide you with individualized training to gain new knowledge in the understanding of comparative aspects of biology and pathology across animal species, animal models of human disease, and animal diseases and populations.

What to expect

A Doctor of Philosophy degree in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) is granted on recognition of scholarly scientific research attainments. Students complete a minimum of 24 course credits and 24 thesis credits. On average, students complete the PhD degree in less than five years.

Students will experience a variety of disciplines, courses, and research projects in the first two years of the PhD program, which are used to define interest areas, broaden scientific background, and refine scientific communication skills. Students identify an adviser by the end of the first year and complete preliminary exams after two years. Students then focus on a dissertation research project that culminates with a final defense. For more information see the CMB PhD timeline and CMB PhD course requirements.

A Master of Science degree in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) is granted on recognition of scholarly scientific research attainments. Students complete a total of 30 credits (including 10 thesis credits) and submit a thesis based on original laboratory research. on average, students complete the MS degree in less than three years. 

Tuition, fees and funding

The CMB graduate program supports incoming PhD students during their first academic year with a Research Assistantship position, which includes a minumum $27,000 annual stipend, tuition waiver, and healthcare benefits. Students with a prior DVM degree earn a mimumum $31,500 stipend. During subsequent years, faculty advisers provide financial support. After successfully passing preliminary exams given during the second year of a PhD program, the stipend is increased to $1,000. The program typically does not provide first year funding for MS candidates and faculty advisers provide financial support.

A number of grants and fellowships are also available. Interested students should consult the U of M Graduate School and the college’s graduate program grant and fellowship opportunities.