Section I: Introduction


The Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Program is a campus-wide interdisciplinary doctoral training program comprising faculty in multiple departments and colleges.  The Program offers an intensive course of study leading to a Doctoral degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.  All students are admitted as potential doctoral candidates.  The Program also offers a Master’s degree, but this option is only available to students that have already been accepted into the doctoral program.  Students take advanced courses in molecular, cellular and developmental biology and apprentice in the laboratory of a faculty member where they receive cutting-edge and individualized training in scientific inquiry and laboratory research.  Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to bioinformatics, cancer biology, cell biology, developmental biology, DNA replication and repair, gene expression, molecular medicine, molecular neurobiology, plant molecular biology, RNA biology, and virology.

I.1  Mission

The mission of the MCDB Program is to train students to be research scientists equipped with the intellectual, professional and scientific skills to compete successfully in the job market and to assume leadership positions in research, education and related fields. MCDB encourages both academic and non-academic career paths.

I.2  Goals

To this end, the Program seeks to:

  1. Attract and recruit high quality applicants
  2. Provide a rigorous and challenging curriculum
  3. Provide an intellectually stimulating and enriching interdisciplinary training environment
  4. Provide opportunities for mentoring, professional development and career exploration
  5. Foster an environment of mutual respect and civil discourse that embraces diversity
  6. Ensure timely and satisfactory progress leading to graduation in 5 years

I.3  Handbook purpose and scope

Graduate programs at OSU set their own specific policies that comply with the general policies of the Graduate School (see Graduate School Handbook at  This Handbook defines the policies of the MCDB Program.  It is intended to supplement the Graduate School Handbook but does not replace it.  Students and faculty in the Program must familiarize themselves with both documents and are responsible for complying with both sets of policies.  In any case where language in the MCDB Handbook is found to be in conflict with language in the Graduate School Handbook, the Graduate School Handbook shall take precedent. 

I.4  Changes to the Handbook

Any changes to the Handbook must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Graduate Studies Committee.  Changes to the Handbook apply to all students immediately, with the following exceptions:

  1. Changes to course requirements will only apply to students that matriculate after the change
  2. Changes to policies regarding candidacy, dissertation and final oral exams will only apply to students that have not yet submitted their application to take those exams

I.5  Student Petitions

Students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee to waive or alter any rule or requirement in this Handbook.  The petition should be presented to the Program Coordinator in writing, preferably accompanied by a statement from the student's advisor.  The Graduate Studies Committee will consider the request and convey its decision to the student in writing.


Rev: December, 2020