Molecular Cell Biology MS Program

The MS in Medical Sciences focusing on Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB MS program) is designed for students interested in graduate studies and laboratory research in the exciting field of molecular, cellular and cancer biology. The Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology is a home for interdisciplinary research, which is undergoing rapid growth. Students will acquire cell biology and interdisciplinary research skills to become competitive for research positions in colleges, universities, and companies in the biomedical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, bio-agricultural, and diagnostics/devices sectors. Students will also become competitive for entry to Ph.D. or other professional degree programs, such as MD, DVM or DDS.

Admission Requirements

Application Deadline – The MCB MS program admits students each fall semester. The application deadline for admission is March 31st.

GPA – Admission to the UF Graduate School requires (1) a recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited US institution or a comparable degree from an international institution and (2) a minimum grade point average (GPA) of B (3.0) calculated from all grades and credits after the semester where the applicant reached 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours (for applicants with a bachelor degree only). The Office of Admissions provides a worksheet for calculation of the upper-level GPA (

Courses – Admission to the MCB MS program requires completion of undergraduate courses in general biology and general chemistry. Recommended undergraduate courses include biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, immunology and cancer biology.

Research – Previous experience with laboratory research is desired but not required.

Research Mentor – Students will be matched with a supervisory faculty member in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. Acceptance into the program requires that the student and the faculty supervisor mutually agree that the faculty supervisor will serve as the student’s MS degree mentor, supervise the student’s thesis research, and provide access to laboratory space and supplies for the project.

International students – Student whose native language is not English and who have not studied at an institution in the United States or other English-speaking country for one year or longer must have a score of at least 80 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL exam must have been taken within the past two (2) years.

Other admission information – See

Financial Support

Stipend and tuition support are not provided to students enrolled in the MCB MS degree program. However, your mentor will provide both laboratory space and supplies to conduct your graduate research. For more information on federal, state and university aid programs and a limited number of privately funded scholarships, visit The Office for Student Financial Affairs at UF. (

Graduation Requirements

The MCB MS program has the following graduation requirements.

  • 12 or more credits of graduate level didactic and seminar courses
  • 18 or more credits of supervised laboratory research courses
  • A letter grade of “B” or above in all courses
  • A written thesis that meets the requirements of the MCB MS Program and UF Graduate School


Required Didactic Courses—All courses are letter-graded

GMS 6421 Advanced Cell Biology (4 credits) – This semester-long spring term course covers multiple topics in molecular cell biology, including cancer cell biology, cell cycle, cell membranes, cell-pathogen interactions, cytoskeleton, epigenetics, organelles, signal transduction, small RNAs, and stem cells

For students who did not take undergraduate level cell biology course, one of the following three courses is required before enrolling in GMS 6421 Cell Biology.

  • GMS 5057 Medical Cell Biology (3 credits) – This course covers topics in molecular cell biology with an emphasis on human disease mechanisms.
  • GMS 5630 Medical Histology (3 credits) – This course covers the cell and tissue biology (histology) of tissues and organ systems of the human body.
  • GMS 6635 Organization of Cells and Tissues (3 credits) – This semester-long fall term flipped course covers the cell and tissue biology (histology) of human tissues and organ systems.

GMS 7877 Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (1 credit) – This semester-long course covers responsible conduct in biomedical research, including planning and conducting research, reporting and publishing research results, and peer review.

Required Seminar Courses—All courses are letter-graded

Students must enroll in 1 credit per term of one of the following two seminar courses:

GMS 6690 Molecular Cell Biology Journal Club (1 credit) – This course consists of student presentations of papers from the scientific literature and discussion with other students and faculty.

GMS 6692 Research Conference in Anatomy and Cell Biology (1 credit) – This course consists of presentations of laboratory research by students and faculty, followed by discussion.

Elective Didactic and Seminar Courses—All courses are letter-graded

GMS 6061 Nuclear Structure and Dynamics (1 credit)

GMS 6062 Protein Trafficking (1 credit)

GMS 6063 Cell Biology of Aging (1 credit) GMS 6064 Tumor Biology (1 credit)

GMS 6647 Transcriptional and Translational Control of Cell Growth and Proliferation (1 credit)

Additional elective graduate-level courses are available (see Courses beyond the 12 credit minimum may be taken with permission of the program director and faculty mentor.

Required Research Courses

Students must enroll in the following research courses for a total of 18 credits.

GMS 6905 Independent Studies in Medical Sciences (3 credits, max = 12; letter-graded) – Studies focused on scientific literature and/or laboratory research. Enrollment requires permission of faculty mentor.

GMS 6910 Supervised Research (3 credits, max = 5; S/U-graded) – Research involving laboratory experiments. Enrollment requires permission of faculty mentor.

GMS 6971 Research for Master’s Thesis (3 credits, max = 15; S/U-graded) – Thesis research involving laboratory experiments. Enrollment requires permission of faculty mentor.

Thesis and Graduation Requirement

Research will be conducted in the laboratory of a supervisor who has a graduate faculty appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. During the first semester, the student and supervisor must form a supervisory committee composed of the faculty mentor (committee chair), a graduate faculty member from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, and a graduate faculty member from outside the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. An original research project must be approved by the supervisory committee and prepared by the student in written form as a master’s thesis. The written thesis must be (1) approved by the supervisory committee, (2) accepted by the University of Florida Graduate School, and (3) defended for the public and the supervisory committee. The thesis must be submitted to the supervisory committee at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense date.

Supervisory Committee Meetings

Supervisory committee meetings will begin within six months after finalizing the student’s committee. MCCB MS students are required to schedule supervisory committee meetings every six months, preferably in the fall and spring semesters. Following committee meetings, the following administrative tasks must be completed and submitted to the MCB graduate administrator: 1) a completed and signed “Committee Meeting Form”, and 2) a summary of the meeting and student progress to be completed by the mentor. This summary and progress report should clearly state the committee’s assessment of the student’s academic and research progress.

Program Contact:

Rene Opavsky, Ph.D
MCB MS Program Coordinator,
CGRC Room 258
(352) 294-8596

Mark Zakshvesky
Academic Program Specialist III
(352) 273-8471

APPLY For Fall 2024

On the Graduate Application website click College of Medicine > Medical Sciences Degree Name- Master of Science > Fall 2024 > Concentration Molecular Cell Biology