Montana State University

Interdisciplinary Programs


960 Technology Blvd
Montana State University
Division of Graduate Education
P.O. Box 172580
Bozeman, MT 59717-2580

Program Chair

Allen Harmsen

Program Director

Stephanie Cunningham

Program Description

The Molecular Biosciences Program offers an interdisciplinary program towards a Doctorate in Philosophy. You are able to pursue your science in a research area across departmental boundaries. Our integrated curriculum provides you with broad academic training necessary to excel in life science research. You will be able to participate in a first-year rotation in three different laboratories in your chosen research area.

Research Areas:

  • Biofilm Sciences & Engineering
  • BioInspired Materials
  • Bioinformatics/Genomics/Proteomics
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biophysics
  • Cell, Developmental, & Molecular Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Immunology & Infectious Disease
  • Life in Extreme Environments
  • Plant Sciences
  • Virology

Our program offers students a common but rigorous educational experience for the first year, and continued challenge as you begin to specialize during your second year. MB Program students participate in seminar series, program retreats, teaching, and may attend scientific meetings. In the second year once you have chosen a research advisor based on your first-year rotation process, you will be formally admitted to one of the nine participating departments to conduct a research project leading to the awarding of a Doctorate of Philosophy.


This interdisciplinary program brings together over faculty from nine basic science departments: Cell Biology and Neuroscience; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Ecology, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Microbiology, Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, and Veterinary Molecular Biology and three research centers: Center for Biofilm Engineering, Center for BioInspired Materials and the Thermal Biology Institute to provide students with the didactic and laboratory instruction they require to become successful research scientists.


Ph.D. Degree Program

It is recommended that applicants for the Ph.D. program have a Bachelor’s or Master's degree with a solid foundation of science courses

Admission to the doctoral program follows the requirements of the Division of Graduate Education. Factors that the department uses in its admissions process include GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers), reference letters, GPA, research experience and previous coursework.

Details about applying can be found at The Molecular Biosciences Program encourages applicants to use the online application procedure.

Program Requirements

Ph.D. Program First-Year

A Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 9 credits of coursework each semester their first-year. Required courses include:

Fall Semester

MBSP 500, Molecular Biosciences Program Seminar

MBSP 561, Molecular Biosciences Lab Rotation I

MBSP 562, Molecular Biosciences Lab Rotation II

Two courses from any of the approved courses in the nine participating sciences departments

Spring Semester

MBSP 500, Molecular Biosciences Program Seminar

MBSP 563, Molecular Biosciences Lab Rotation III

MBSP 564, Molecular Biosciences Lab Rotation IV (if needed) or MBSP 575 Molecular Biosciences Program Research Project (You have an option of taking a research credit within your chosen home department)

Two courses from any of the approved courses in the nine participating sciences departments

Research Experience

Ph.D. students will gain research experience through their lab rotation, conference submissions, and attending conferences.

Research Facilities

Research Facilities vary on lab rotation selection

Financial Assistance

The Molecular Biosciences Program at Montana State University is offering outstanding students a fellowship of $22,000 plus tuition per year to fund their Ph.D. graduate education in the life sciences.

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