A graduate education that can change your world.

Learn more about the Molecular Biosciences graduate program and the three degree paths you can take. 


Program timeline

Year one

  • All students share a common core curriculum and participate in research laboratory rotations, seminars and journal clubs.
  • At the end of year one, the student and their advisory committee will decide which degree program they will enter.

Year two

  • At the end of year two, the student will complete a qualifier exam in a chosen field of study.

Year four

  • At the end of year four, the student will defend their dissertation before their committee in order to graduate.

Sample curriculum for year one

An example of the curriculum for the first year.

Please note, this is an example. Please refer to your advisor and the University catalog for the current requirements.

  • Fall semester (9 credits)

    Lab rotation courses are strongly recommended. All students should be rotating through a minimum of two laboratories, especially if you have not yet selected a research advisor. If you have an advisor, the rotations should be completed in the laboratory of your advisor.

    Sample Fall curriculum
    Course Credits
    Lab practicums and research rotations n/a
    BCH 705 Molecular Biology 3
    BCH/CMB/CMPP 701 Lab practicum I 3
    PHAR 725 Ethics in Research or BCH 703 Grant Writing for Molecular Biosciences 2
    CMB/BCH/CMPP 790 Seminar 1
  • Spring semester (11 credits)

    Lab rotation courses are strongly recommended. All students should be rotating through a minimum of two laboratories, especially if you have not yet selected a research advisor. If you have an advisor, the rotations should be completed in the laboratory of your advisor.

    Sample Spring curriculum
    Course Credits
    Lab practicums/research rotations n/a
    CMB 710 Cell Biology 4
    BCH/CMB/CMPP 702 Laboratory Practicum II 3
    BCH/BIOL/CMB/CMPP 794 Colloquium 1
    Statistics (if needed) 3
  • Representative Electives (17 credits required for graduation)

    Other courses not listed may meet program requirements. For example, Chemistry courses may be of interest to some students. Please inquire with your adviser or  contact our program directors  about specific courses.

    Biochemistry courses

    • BCH 603 Medical Molecular Genetics - 0 credits
    • BCH 605 Molecular Biology - 3 credits
    • BCH 610 Plant Physiology - 3 credits
    • BCH 613 Molecular Biophysics - 3 credits
    • BCH 617 Metabolic Regulation - 3 credits
    • BCH 706 Functional Genomics - 3 credits
    • BCH 707 Protein Structure and Function - 3 credits
    • BCH 709 Bioinformatics - 3 credits
    • BCH 718 Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology - 3 credits
    • BCH 740 Enzymology - 3 credits
    • BCH 793 Independent Study - 1 credit

    Biology courses

    • BIOL 604 Population Genetics - 3 credits
    • BIOL 605 Molecular Biology - 3 credits
    • BIOL 615 Evolution - 4 credits
    • BIOL 654 Genomic Conflict, Epigenetics & Human Disease - 3 credits
    • BIOL 656 Molecular Basis of Epigenetics - 3 credits
    • BIOL 666 Developmental Biology - 3 credits
    • BIOL 675 Neurobiology - 3 credits
    • BIOL 677 Genes, Brain and Behavior - 3 credits
    • BIOL 682 Cell Biology of Disease - 3 credits
    • BIOL 705 Current topics in Cell and Molecular Biology - 3 credits
    • BME 730 Introduction to Imaging & Optics - 3 credits

    Cell and Molecular Biology courses

    • CMB 793 Independent Study - 1-6 credits

    Microbiology courses

    • MICR 625 Human Virology - 3 credits
    • MICR 653 Immunology - 3 credits
    • MICR 670 Microbial Pathogenesis - 3 credits
    • MICR 687 Problems in Infection and Immunity - 1-3 credits
    • MICR 700 Biotechnology Today and Tomorrow - 3 credits
    • MICR 780 Introductory Cellular Immunology - 3 credits
    • MICR 793 Independent Study - 1-3 credits

    Pharmacology courses

    • PHAR 710 Molecular Pharmacology - 3 credits

Year two and beyond

At the end of your first year, you and your graduate committee will decide which degree path you will enter—BCH, CMB or CMPP. At this time your graduate committee should meet and approve your program of study and determine your remaining curriculum.


Program entrance requirements

The following admissions requirements are the same for all three paths of Molecular Biosciences.

Application Deadlines: Dec 15 (Fall) | June 15 (Spring)

Minimum qualifications for admittance to an M.S./Ph.D. program:

  • Undergraduate degree in a related area
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 for the M.S. program or 3.0 for the Ph.D. program on a 4.0 scale (transcripts will be required)
  • Combined Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores of 300 or higher (a GRE subject test—e.g. Biology—is not required)
  • Competitive TOEFL or IELTS exam score if English is your second language
  • Completion of the following courses
    • Calculus, 5 semester hours (or equivalent)
    • Physics, 6 semester hours
    • Organic Chemistry, 8 semester hours
    • Biology, 8 semester hours
  • If English is not your native languange, students are required to have a minimum composite scores of 79 ibt. Preferred TOEFL exam scores: Reading 23, Listening 19, Speaking 23, Writing 24.
    • Note: If you are offered a Graduate Assistantship you must have a Speaking score of 24 or higher. If you do not, you will be required to take the Speak Test once on campus.

Funding your degree program

Students admitted to the Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. programs are automatically offered research or teaching assistantship positions during the first year (a separate application for financial assistance is not required).

Currently, the assistantship carries a stipend of $25,000/yr. In addition, Ph.D. graduate assistants receive a tuition waiver, which is worth approximately $12,000/yr. Students on graduate assistantships at the University of Nevada, Reno are also covered by the university health insurance plan, which is worth approximately $1,400 per year.

Therefore, the total value of a Graduate Assistantship package is approximately $38,400.

Funding resources from the Graduate School

The Graduate School maintains lists of additional funding opportunities from both University and external sources

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association provides various financial support opportunities to graduate students such as scholarships, awards, and loans. 

Funding resources for international students

Information about scholarships and financial aid for international students is also available on the Office of International Students and Scholars website.


Connect with a faculty advisor and learn more about our campus

Two researchers work side-by-side in a lab smiling.

Find a faculty advisor

Your faculty advisor plays a key role in your graduate education. Visit our faculty websites, read some of their papers, and find an advisor with interests that really excite you. Contact faculty to express interest, and inquire if they are planning to accept students in the near future.

An exterior image of the Knowledge Center and Joe Crowley Student Union

Your Gradventure awaits

Prospective students who meet criteria for program admission will be invited to visit the Molecular Biosciences graduate programs at the University for a personal interview and to meet faculty, students and postdocs in our program. Invited students will visit our campus and program early in the Spring semester.


Graduate program directors

Our program directors are active Molecular Bioscience research professors working with faculty and students across campus. Contact the program directors if you have additional questions about the program.

Headshot of Subhash Verma.

Subhash Verma, Associate Professor, Molecular Biosciences and Program Director, Cell and Molecular Biology

Email: scverma@med.unr.edu
Phone: (775) 682-6743

How to apply

You can start your application through The Graduate School website, which provides detailed instructions on the application process.