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    Mar 08, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Cell and Molecular Biology, Ph.D.

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Priority Admission Application Deadlines:

Contact Information

College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Contact Information:

Major Research Areas: Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation, Developmental Biology, Applied and General Microbiology

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • GRE: 57th percentile Verbal, 35th percentile Quantitative, 73rd percentile AW
  • It is expected that candidates for the Ph.D. degree will have completed courses equivalent to those required for the B.S. in Biology at U.S.F.
  • Interview
  • Personal Statement of goals, experience
  • Three letters of recommendation

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Program Hours: 90

  • Core Requirements – 6 Credit hours
  • Other courses – 5 Credit hours
  • Electives – 3 Credit hours
  • Dir Research – 43 Credit hours
  • Dissertation – 32 Credit hours
  • Seminar – 1 Credit hour

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Other Required Courses (5 Credit Hours)

Electives* (3 Credit Hours Minimum)

*Classes not on this list may be used with the approval of the CMMB Graduate Director

Selected from:

Research Requirements (76 Credit Hours Minimum)

Qualifying Exams

All students in the Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program must complete a written and oral qualifying examination.

The written exam shall be in the format of a grant proposal and contain the following sections:

  • Abstract {300 words}
  • Specific Aims [1 page]
  • Background and Significance of topics [2 pages]
  • Proposed research program (conducted over 3-year period) [4 pages]
  • Bibliography (no page limit)

The length of the proposal shall be no more than 7 pages (the abstract and bibliography does not count in the page limit). The topic of the exam shall meet the following guidelines:

  • The written proposal cannot be based in the same model organism that the student will use to carry out their dissertation research
  • The written proposal cannot be based on the analysis of the same gene/protein that the student will investigate during their dissertation research
  • The written proposal cannot be based on the analysis of the same pathway that the student will investigate during their dissertation research

The oral exam is centered around a formal dissertation proposal presentation, followed by a period of questioning by the dissertation advisory committee.

Admission to Candidacy

The doctoral student is eligible for admission to candidacy after completing structured course requirements, passing the qualifying examinations and approval by the supervisory committee. Appropriate forms to document promotion to candidacy must be completed and to the Office of Graduate Studies. Following admission to candidacy, a student must enroll in BSC 7980 Dissertation: Doctoral  when engaged in research, data collection, or writing activities relevant to the doctoral dissertation. Advisors should assign the number of credits in this course in accordance with policy and appropriate to the demands made on faculty, staff, and University facilities, but in no event will the total number of earned dissertation credits be fewer than 32. Students not admitted to candidacy are not eligible to enroll in BSC 7980 Dissertation: Doctoral  .

Dissertation Requirements (38 Credit Hours Minimum)

The dissertation of all graduate students admitted to a graduate degree program at the University of South Florida must conform to the guidelines of the Handbook for Graduate Thesis and Dissertations available from the USF Office of Graduate Studies (

Doctoral Seminar and Defense

All doctoral students must present a public seminar to the CMMB Department and must be enrolled in BSC 7980 , during the semester in which the seminar is given. The seminar should be a concise summary of the research completed to satisfy the requirements for the Ph.D. The seminar is open to the general public and must be announced two weeks prior to the presentation. Upon completion of the seminar, the general public will be invited to ask questions. At the discretion of the student’s advisory committee, members of the committee may continue to question the graduate student after the general public has departed the seminar room. Each student is expected to defend his/her research to the unanimous satisfaction of the advisory committee. Following the defense, students will make any editorial modifications to the dissertation as recommended by the advisory committee and submit the dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Other Requirements

  • 1 Scientific Publication
  • 2 presentations at Scientific Meetings

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