Doctor of Philosophy in Cell Biology

Shannon Conley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Chair, Graduate Education Committee

DEGREES OFFERED: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Developmental biology, retinal biochemistry, cancer biology and chemotherapy, mitosis, gene regulation, neurobiology of sensory systems, autonomic and cardiovascular pharmacology, nerve regeneration, and cell signaling mechanisms. 


The graduate program is designed to prepare individuals for academic and research careers in cell biology. Students are encouraged to obtain a broad background in the various disciplines and develop and pursue a research project in one of the areas of scientific investigation currently available in the department.

All degree candidates participate in teaching courses offered by the department. Each student will work with a departmental faculty advisor and a committee composed primarily of departmental faculty members. To fulfill students' specialized needs and interests, the department offers advanced courses taught by faculty whose expertise is closely related to the contents of the course work. Students may also choose electives that emphasize anatomical or pharmacological studies. Related biomedical courses taught by other departments in the University also are available. Graduate assistantships and fellowships are available to qualified students on a competitive basis.


The Department of Cell Biology is a participant in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Science which combines the expertise of the seven programs at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Physiology.  Students enroll in a common first-year curriculum that is built around a fully integrated, literature-driven course covering molecular, cellular, and systemic biology.  Students conduct laboratory rotations with faculty mentors in any of the participating programs.  After completion of the first year, students enter a research lab and complete their training in the Ph.D. program in Cell Biology.

  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant major.
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate
    degree program.
  • A WES or ECE report to confirm GPA is required for applicants graduating from foreign institutions.
  • GRE general exam scores may be submitted (optional).
  • The TOEFL exam is required for foreign applicants. Any applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A TOEFL score of at least 600 on the paper and pencil test, 220 on the computer-based test, or equivalent score on the web-based exam is the minimum required to be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in Cell Biology.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals other than the prospective mentor.
  • A personal statement of goals/purpose.


Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must meet the following minimum requirements:

(1) 90 credit hours acceptable to the student's graduate committee; 
(2) obtain a grade of "Satisfactory" in the required graduate course - Advanced Cell Biology III: Capstone;
(3) attendance and participation in departmental seminar activities; 
(4) successful completion of a comprehensive qualifying examination; 
(5) a research proposal, original investigation, written dissertation, and general dissertation defense (A maximum of 60 credit hours is allowed for dissertation research.)

At the discretion of the Graduate Education Committee, equivalent courses from other accredited institutions may be substituted for any of the requirements.

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate College Handbook

Cell Biology Graduate Handbook