Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology Program

The Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology graduate program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that involves faculty and researchers from multiple departments on the Indiana University School of Medicine–Bloomington campus. The emphasis of the program is on the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to the proliferative growth associated with cancer. The primary objective of this graduate program is to train independent research investigators who can make contributions to their fields of knowledge while working in academic/ government institutions or industry laboratories. In addition, students are given the opportunity to explore a multitude of other career possibilities while working toward their degree. Alumni from the Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology graduate program have successful careers in biomedical research, both in university and biotech setting.

Program Details

A total of 90 credit hours are required for partial fulfillment of the Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology PhD degree. Of these, 24.5 credits are earned by completing the course requirements for the Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology major (see below). An additional 6-12 credits are earned by completing the requirements for the minor, depending on type. All remaining credits are earned through enrollment in M800, independent thesis research. Find course descriptions in the University Graduate Bulletin.

BIOC-B 501 Integrated Biochemistry
BIOL-L 585 Genetics and Bioinformatics
MSCI-M 510 Research Methods 
BIOL-L 523 Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature
MSCI-M 580 Molecular Biology of Cancer
MSCI-M 509 Basics of Scientific Communication
BIOL-Z 620 Grant Writing
MSCI-M6XX Precision Medicine of Cancer 
MSCI-M 550 Seminar in Cancer Biology 
MSCI-M 800 Research

Explore the University Graduate Bulletin for details, including minor, advisory committee, qualifying examination and final examination requirements.

The application deadline for the Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology Program at IU School of Medicine-Bloomington is December 1. Admission requirements include:

  • The equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the sciences (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Molecular/Cell Biology) from a recognized institution of higher education
  • A completed University Graduate School application.
  • GRE  general test (An advanced test is not required.)
  • TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended (Official copies from the Registrar may be accepted for the review process, but an official transcript must be on file for matriculates.)
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Non-refundable $60 application fee

When completing the online application, make the following selections in the Intended Program and Plan section:

What type of degree do you intend to pursue? Doctoral/PhD
Academic Program IU Medical Sciences
Academic Plan Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology
Are you applying to a dual degree program? Yes or No

International applicants can also seek assistance from the Office of International Services. Request a paper copy of the application for international students by emailing

Applicants who wish to pursue a combined MD/PhD degree must be accepted by both IU School of Medicine and the University Graduate School.

All students admitted to the PhD program at IU School of Medicine—Bloomington receive some form of stipend to cover living expenses during the academic year and summer. Financial support is guaranteed for five years and may come in the form of a Teaching Assistantship, Research Assistantship, Training Grant or Fellowship. The University provides student health insurance.

Examples of financial support include:

  • Individual grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Pre-doctoral fellowships from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute
  • The Duone and Eunice Dahl Wright Graduate Student Fellowship
  • Many advanced graduate students are supported as Research Assistants by a grant to the research lab in which they are working. Most laboratories are funded by one to three grants from the NIH, American Cancer Society and/or the Department of Defense.
  • Associate Instructorships (teaching assistantships) are available for eligible students and require a maximum of 20 hours teaching-related duties per week.  Summer AI Application