While the Cell Biology program is broad-based, involving faculty members at both the medical school and the main campus of Yale, it is administered at the medical school by the Department of Cell Biology, which is sufficiently small and organized to provide students with close individual attention and a stimulating environment of intellectual and social activities that enhance learning and research.

There are 3 main requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology: 

  • A thesis based on independent research
  • 2 terms of teaching
  • Completion of coursework

Click here to learn more about life in the department.

Primary emphasis is placed on independent research on a thesis topic. The student chooses the thesis topic in consultation with the faculty advisor. After passing the qualifying exam on the thesis topic by the end of the second year, students devote full-time to their research. A committee of 4 faculty members, including the advisor, meets with the student every year to provide guidance and to ensure adequate progress.

Students design their curriculum based on their individual needs and interests, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Only five courses are required, including core courses in molecular cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry, an advance seminar course, plus an elective in any area of the student's choosing such as in development, neurobiology, and immunology. Most students complete the course requirement in the first year.

Graduate Student Handbook

This handbook is intended to be a source of information for graduate students studying for the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale.  

Students as well as faculty should be able to find answers to questions that may occur to them from time to time about the Cell Biology Ph.D. program and its specific policies. 

Graduate Student Handbook