About CMB

Welcome to the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1961, CMB has been pioneering graduate education in the fields of cell biology and molecular biology. CMB provides the opportunity to work with over 200 faculty trainers, on a campus known for interdepartmental cooperation and collaboration. Currently there are around 130 students in the program, representing over 40 different departments. Coursework and research experience allow students to obtain a solid foundation in Cellular and Molecular Biology that is tailored to the professional objectives of each student. We encourage you to take personal lab tours through CMB labs, hear directly from students about their research, and virtually explore Madison and the UW-Madison campus through the videos on our YouTube channel. Program benefits include a competitive stipend, tuition coverage, comprehensive health benefits, and an excellent cost of living. The CMB Program only offers Fall semester admission. The application deadline is December 1.

  • Provided that they make satisfactory progress towards their PhD, all CMB students are guaranteed a competitive stipend and tuition remission for the duration of their graduate studies.
  • Students admitted to CMB complete three four-week laboratory rotations before choosing a faculty advisor. More information can be found in the Lab Rotations section of the CMB Handbook.
  • Faculty trainers and students are arranged in thirteen research Focus Groups based on common scientific interests and strengths of the program.  This structure allows students to explore the breadth of research across campus while accessing the expertise of each individual trainer
  • The CMB Program requirements emphasize research and coursework tailored to each student’s professional objectives. CMB’s course load requirements are relatively light and CMB does not have a teaching requirement. This allows students to have flexibility in tailoring the program to meet their needs and gives the program a strong focus on research.
  • CMB students have a strong publication record, with an average of 4.5 publications per student and 2.2 first author or co-first author publications per student at the time of graduation. View the full list of recent CMB graduates’ publications.
  • On average, CMB students graduate in 5.43 years. Click here for more information.
  • Students are actively involved in the Program’s standing committees and all major activities including admissions, recruiting, orientation, and the fall retreat. CMB strives to offer a wide variety of additional activities and opportunities to support students well beyond coursework and annual requirements.
  • The CMB Program strives to create a diverse and inclusive environment for students and believes that diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation.
  • When not in the lab or in class, students enjoy all that the campus community can provide–the urban setting of downtown Madison with myriad cultural events, as well as the outdoor recreation that the city’s lakes and parks have to offer

If you’d like to learn about the development of the molecular biology program at the university, as well as the Molecular Biology and Molecular Virology Laboratory (known today as Bock Laboratories, the home of the CMB Program), this paper by Harlyn Halvorson details the interesting history.