Molecular Cell Biology Master's Programs in NC

Cellular and molecular biologists focus upon research designed to understand life down to the cellular and molecular level. The state of North Carolina is home to the Research Triangle, which is one of the largest research hubs in the nation, making this a great place to work towards a science-related graduate degree. Read on to find out more about common course requirements to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology, as well as universities in the state of North Carolina where students can pursue this degree with a concentration in molecular cell biology.

Program Requirements

Application requirements are an important consideration for those interested in this area of graduate study. Typically, applicants will be expected to provide transcripts, references, and a resume. General GRE scores are usually required, and some institutions require the provision of the Biology GRE subject test. Research-intensive programs may expect students to identify a research mentor prior to program acceptance. Program completion typically requires coursework, independent research within the field of cellular biology presented as a thesis or project, and comprehensive written exams.

Core Courses

Courses for the M.S. in Biology may vary depending on program concentration and research interests. Some common classes students may encounter are presented here.

Biostatistics and Mathematical Models for Biologists

In this type of course, students will be introduced to the mathematical techniques necessary for the study of biology at the graduate level. Topics may include discrete models, descriptive statistics, regression, and differential equations. Computational techniques and the use of SAS might be presented.

Cell Biology

In a cell biology course, students may investigate the regulation, cycle, and structure of cellular functions. How cells communicate will often be introduced. Laboratory work might be a component of this course.

Genetic Recombination

Students studying genetic recombination may learn methods of working with DNA and RNA. Sequencing and rearrangements could be considered. Topics might include cloning, gene mapping, and nucleic acid hybridization.


Within a genomics course, students may address functional genomics and techniques utilized to gain genomic information. Gene expression technologies and DNA microarrays might be considered, and the tools of genomics study may be introduced. Students often explore the practical application of this knowledge, particularly in current medical and evolutionary research.


Students studying microscopy may consider the theories of a range of imaging technologies. The course could further explore interactions between light and the specimen being studied with the microscope. Principles of interpreting data from microscopy images might be a component of the course.

Universities in NC Offering Master's Programs in Molecular Cell Biology

Appalachian State University

At Appalachian State University in Boone, students can pursue an M.S. in Biology with a focus on cell and molecular biology. All accepted students are guaranteed teaching assistantships, to gain experience and to help defray the costs of education. Appalachian state boasts a wide range of research laboratories, including the William and Ruth Dewel Microscopy Facility, which may be of particular interest to students focusing on molecular biology. Students work closely with faculty research mentors, and often present their research at national conferences.

East Carolina University

At East Carolina University in Greenville, students can earn the M.S. in Biology focused upon cell biology. Students can complete a thesis or non-thesis program. Those students completing the thesis option engage in independent research under the direction of a faculty member; while those in the non-thesis track complete a capstone project and participate in teaching as a lab instructor. Financial support is available through teaching and research assitantships. The core cell culture facility and imaging core facility provide access to research space for cell and molecular biology. The biology graduate student association offers opportunities to engage in seminars and social events with biology students and faculty.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students can earn the M.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Opportunities to collaborate with the Integrative Program for Biological and Genome Sciences are available. Students have the opportunity to attend weekly seminars on UNC's campus or at other nearby universities, and student research is presented at yearly graduate student meetings. The biology graduate student symposium offers opportunities to participate in a yearly symposium and other working groups.

University of North Carolina - Charlotte

UNC - Charlotte offers the opportunity to earn the M.S. in Biology with a concentration in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology. The M.S. program offers both a thesis and non-thesis option. Students participating in the non-thesis option must complete a capstone project. The department boasts a large research facility, including a staffed laboratory containing a molecular image analyzer and in vivo video microscopes.

Elizabeth City State University

Students at Elizabeth City State University can earn an M.S. in Biology with a focus on cell biology. This school is affiliated with the UNC system and is a Historically Black University. A research facility and small class sizes can benefit graduate students at Elizabeth City State University.

Many universities in North Carolina offer a master's degree in biology. Options to pursue a track or concentration related to cellular and molecular biology are often available.

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