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Molecular & Cellular Biology (MS) - Accelerated Master's Program 
Program Description

The Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) in MCB is a program designed to enable advanced UA undergraduate students to complete both the Bachelor of Science degree as well as the Master of Science degree in MCB in a total of 5 years. This program is not open to students who have completed a Bachelor's degree or an advanced degree from another institution.

AMP students focus on completing undergraduate-level courses and gaining research experience during their first three to four years. By mid-September of the junior or senior year, students must submit an application to the AMP program through the UA Graduate College. Upon acceptance to the Accelerated Master's Program, students continue to take a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses in the fourth year to complete their Bachelor's degree. During this time, students also expound on their research, preparing for graduate-level research. In the fifth and final year, students focus on graduate course work and their research-based thesis in order to complete the requirements for the Master's degree.

Who should pursue the AMP?
The AMP is well-suited for students who aim to gain research experience at the graduate level, including pre-med students who may conduct research in the future, students who would like to evaluate their passion for research before launching into a PhD program, and others who might find graduate-level research experience beneficial for a future career or position.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Molecular and Cellular Biology -

Our mission is to reveal the secrets of nature and to educate the next generation of science innovators.

We use innovative tools in our research to reveal fundamental biological processes that are common to all life on Earth. Our faculty focus on model systems that allow us to query the most basic of questions about nature, whether they be at the molecular level, at the level of a cell or organism or in development of clinical application of new human disease therapies. We have a diverse group of research interests including cancer, neurobiology, heart development and disease, plant development, evolutionary biology, cell signaling, gene expression, RNA biology, genetic networks and systems biology, and genome stability. For more details, we encourage you to browse our faculty research websites.

We offer student-centered educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. The Molecular and Cellular Biology faculty teach over 700 undergraduate majors. In addition, we teach courses available for general education of all students of any major. We also train masters and doctoral level students. We aim for students to develop a deep understanding of current ideas and problems in molecular and cellular biology. At the same time, we build foundational skills in logic, reasoning, self-expression and communication-skills relevant to any career. Throughout our coursework, we emphasize active learning and problem-solving skills. We encourage interdisciplinary pursuits and are committed to providing hands-on and intellectually challenging experiences in research labs. Our goal is to prepare students for creative futures in the pursuit of scientific discovery, science education, or as knowledgeable representatives of science in society.

College of Science  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Kara S Dyson
Graduate Program Coordinator
Kara S Dyson
Director of Graduate Studies
Ryan N Gutenkunst
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for the Accelerated Master's Program in MCB, students must meet these criteria at the time of application:

  • Be a current, continuing University of Arizona undergraduate.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.300.
  • Have a minimum of one year of research experience.
  • Have completed at least 75 units of undergraduate course work (a minimum of 12 undergraduate units must have been completed in the student's major at University of Arizona's main campus).
  • Be planning to graduate with the Bachelor's degree in May 2019 or later.
  • While students from any major at the U of A will be considered, applicants must have completed MCB 304 and MCB 305 (or the combination of ECOL 320, MCB 411, and MCB 410). It is acceptable if one or more of these courses are in progress at the time of application.

Applications for the MCB Accelerated Master's Program are accepted on a twice yearly basis. Admitted students begin the program the semester following admission. Applications are completed through the UA Graduate College; applications for the Spring 2019 semester are due by Monday, October 1, 2018.

To apply, students must complete the University of Arizona Graduate College Application. For the program of study, "Molecular and Cellular Biology MS" should be selected. As part of the application process, students will be asked to submit a personal statement. The personal statement should be no longer than one page in length with standard formatting (e.g. 12-point Time font, single spacing, and one-inch margins), and should include reasons for applying to the MCB-AMP program, a summary of research already completed, and future plans.

Two letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with the applicant's work are also required. One of these letters should be from the research advisor. The letters are to be submitted online through the Graduate College; instructions are given on the online Graduate College application.

After review of application materials by a committee in the MCB department, students will be notified regarding admission to MCB-AMP prior to the start of the following semester.

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): None
Required GRE Subject tests: None

Recommended tests: None
Recommended GRE Subject tests: None

Minimum GRE Verbal: None
Minimum GRE Quantitative: None
Minumum GRE Written: None
Minimum GMAT: None
Minimum MAT: None
Minimum TOEFL: None
Minimum IELTS: None

Financial Aid

No financial aid is provided for this graduate program. Students may choose to apply for a wide range of graduate student scholarships and fellowships offered by the University of Arizona.

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: March (actual date varies by year)
  • Spring: October (actual date varies by year)

International Applicants:

  • Fall: March (actual date varies by year)
  • Spring: October (actual date varies by year)
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

The M.S. degree in MCB requires that students complete a minimum of 30 graduate units, including the Master’s Thesis and at least 15 regularly graded units of course work, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000. Only grades of C or better in graduate course work satisfy requirements for the degree. 

The course requirements consist of a minimum of 15 units of regularly graded courses:

  • MCB 572a – Cell Systems (4 units), offered every fall

  • BIOC 568 – Nucleic Acids (4 units), offered every spring

  • MCB 546 – Genetic and Molecular Networks (4 units), offered every spring

  • A minimum of 3 regularly graded units of graduate-level elective course work.  Approved elective courses include, but are not limited to, BIOC 565 (Proteins and Enzymes), BIOC 585 (Biological Structures), MCB 588 (Principles of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology), ECOL 553 (Functional and Evolutionary Genomics), MCB 580 (Introduction to Systems Biology), CBIO 552 (Cancer Biology), CMM 577 (Principles of Cell Biology), MCB 582 (Frontiers in Biological and Biomedical Research), and PLS 539 (Methods in Cell Biology and Genomics). Substitutions for these elective courses may be approved by the student’s Master’s committee. 

In addition, the following pass/fail graded courses are required:

  1. MCB 595 – Journal Club (1 unit) for two semesters, offered every semester

  2. MCB 596 – Seminar (1 unit) for two semesters, offered every semester

  3. MCB 910 – Thesis (3 units), for two semesters, offered every semester 

Any remaining graduate units may be fulfilled by additional, pass/fail graded graduate-level courses, such as MCB 900 (Research), MCB 695E (Science, Society and Ethics), and MCB 696A (Lab Presentations and Discussion).  Similar to the regularly graded coursework, substitutions for these elective courses may be approved by the student’s Master’s committee.

Minor Requirements


Student Handbook  
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Last revised 02 Aug 2018