Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology (MESB)

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Degree Offered: Ph.D.

This program is offered in Durham.

The Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences offers a doctor of philosophy degree in molecular and evolutionary systems biology. Graduate students in Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology are typically supported by teaching or research assistantships, as well as by competitive internal and external fellowship programs.  For more information about the program, including admission and degree requirements, please contact the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences at

Distinctive Features of the Program

The overarching goal of the Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology (MESB) graduate program is to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers with expertise that spans molecular to evolutionary biology.

The Graduate Program in Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology offers:

  • Outstanding research training in many cutting-edge research areas in molecular and cellular biology, bioinformatics, genetics and genomics, molecular evolution and ecology, neurobiology, and more.
  • Weekly seminar series that includes both distinguished invited speakers and graduate student research presentations.
  • Opportunities to gain teaching and mentoring experiences with undergraduate students in the biological sciences.
  • Strong track record for graduates attaining successful careers in academia, biomedical research institutes, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal governmental agencies.

Admission Requirements

Students applying for this Ph.D. program will be expected to possess a background in basic sciences appropriate for advanced study in the proposed area of specialization (for example, courses in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology and/or physics). The student's committee may require certain undergraduate courses as part of the graduate program if additional competencies would be beneficial to the student. Applicants must submit a personal statement, current scores (within five years) from the general GRE test, and three letters of recommendation. If possible, the personal statement should specify the applicant's research interests and potential faculty mentors.  International applicants living outside the U.S. should initially complete a free online pre-application. If approved for a full application, international applicants must submit current TOEFL scores in addition to the items listed above.