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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Interdisciplinary Program in Cell and Molecular Biology


The Program in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Virginia offers comprehensive graduate training in modern biological sciences, emphasizing cellular, molecular, and developmental biology. The program provides the widest possible choice of mentors and, hence, research areas, and an individually-tailored academic program for each graduate student, on the assumption that the best biological scientists have a broad knowledge of cell and molecular biology, as well as a thorough understanding of a particular research area.

The program involves a large, diverse, and outstanding faculty of more than 75 members from eight basic science departments and programs: cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics, biology, biophysics, microbiology, neurosciences, pharmacology, molecular physiology and biological physics. The research interests of the faculty span the spectrum of modern cell and molecular biology, from studies on the intricate structure of biological molecules to the complex unfolding of developmental pathways in multicellular organisms. Cell and molecular biology faculty members teach courses individually or collectively through the auspices of individual departments, and holds discussion groups relating to specialized research areas. Seminars given by outside speakers are offered throughout the school year by the Program in Cell and Molecular Biology and by individual departments.

The Graduate Program A faculty advisory committee assists students in the design of their curriculum in the first two semesters. With variations to fit research inclinations, the student will obtain the necessary breadth in aspects of biology, chemistry, or mathematics. While flexible, the course work usually includes genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry. A recommended core of courses includes:

BIMS 503 - (4) (Y)
Macromolecular Structure and Function
BIMS 805 - (1-12) (S)
Cell & Molecular Biology Projects
BIMS 811 - (5) (Y)
Gene Structure, Expression and Regulation
BIMS 812 - (5) (Y)
Cell Structure and Functions
BIMS 815 - (1) (S)
Cell & Molecular Biology Literature

Other first-year course work could include genetics, physical chemistry, developmental biology, immunology, pharmacology, neurosciences, or computer sciences.

Soon after entering the program, the student chooses the first of three rotations in laboratories within the Program in Cell and Molecular Biology in order to become acquainted with potential mentors, scientific questions, and research approaches. The usual rotation lasts three to four months. Students may begin their graduate career in June rather than in September if they desire to spend the summer in a laboratory rotation. After the third rotation, the student chooses a research advisor, becomes a member of the mentor's department or program, and works toward the Ph.D. in that department. There are no foreign language requirements. Qualifying examinations include written examinations, oral research proposals, or both, depending upon the particular department.

In addition to formal course work and informal laboratory research discussions, graduate students are encouraged to attend a variety of special seminars given by visiting speakers. The seminar programs provide knowledge in every area of modern biological science, and are an integral part of the general education of a research scientist.

Admission Policies and Procedures Admission criteria include undergraduate and graduate transcripts, Graduate Record Examination scores, two letters of recommendation, and a description of any previous research experience. A candidate should have earned a B.S., B.A., M.S., or M.A. degree in biology, zoology, biochemistry, bio-engineering, chemistry, physics, or one of the related sciences. Recommended course work includes calculus, physics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, and cell and molecular biology to be taken before, or if necessary, after admission to the program. In addition to insurance, tuition, and fee waivers, all program students receive 12 month stipends derived from individual competitive fellowships, University fellowships, research grant funds, teaching assistantships, and training grants.

Box 456, Health Systems
P.O. Box 800738
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0738
(434) 924-2181

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