(Cell and Molecular Biology)

San Diego State University ( SDSU ) offers a doctoral degree program in Biology in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego UCSD Division of Biological Sciences . This joint program involves research training under the supervision of participating SDSU Faculty, whose members are drawn from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry , Computer Science , and Psychology .  The faculty research interests address a wide range of biological questions and reflect the interdisciplinary nature of modern biology. 


Program Overview

Course requirements:  Students will take graduate level courses from SDSU and UCSD in cell and molecular biology, genetics, ethics, and a choice of electives.

Laboratory rotations: Students are expected to complete at least three laboratory rotations at San Diego State University.

Qualifying examination/Dissertation defense: A committee comprised of both SDSU and UCSD faculty will oversee the qualifying examination, dissertation proposal, and dissertation defense.

Financial support: Annual Stipends (currently $29,694 per year) are provided for all joint Ph.D. students, as is the full cost of tuition for five years.

Research Facilities

The recently-renovated laboratories of the Department of Biology and the newly-built Chemistry laboratories are fully equipped for advanced research in cell and molecular biology and biochemistry. Major resources include mouse transgenic and surgical facilities, oligonucleotide synthesis/DNA sequencing microchemical core facility, research electron, confocal and deconvolution microscopes, NMR and mass spectrometers, spectrofluorometers, other analytical and separation instrumentation, support shops, and numerous computer facilities. The SDSU BioScience Center recently opened and provides facilities to study the linkage of microbial infection, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. SDSU is also a member of the regional CRAY Supercomputer Consortium.

Student Body

The Joint Ph.D. program in Biology has approximately 31 students enrolled. The unusually high faculty-to-Ph.D. student ratio fosters close contact and quality training for incoming students. Approximately 50 graduate students are also enrolled in the Molecular Biology M.S. program under the direction of Molecular Biology Institute faculty. In addition, more than one hundred graduate students are enrolled in other degree programs in biology and chemistry, including a M.S. program in Biomedical Regulatory Affairs.

The University

More than 33,000 students and 1,900 faculty members make SDSU one of the largest of 23 institutions within the CSU system, which is itself the largest public university system in the U.S. SDSU is unique within the CSU system in offering a number of Joint-Ph.D. programs. SDSU is rated among the top 200 U.S. higher education institutions through its classification as "Research University - High Research Activity" by the Carnegie Foundation. SDSU was ranked the number one small research university in the nation, according to the faculty scholarly productivity index of Academic Analytics. SDSU is continually expanding its faculty and research endeavors in Cell and Molecular Biology. Current efforts include the interdisciplinary programs developed by the SDSU Heart Institute, the Center for Microbial Sciences and the Molecular Biology Institute. The Ph.D. is offered jointly with UCSD, a prominent research university in the University of California system. Of 256 Biology programs, UCSD ranked number 2 and SDSU number 37 in funding

The Community

San Diego is host to one of the major biomedical research communities in the U.S. with close interaction among UCSD, Salk Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sandford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and SDSU. These interactions extend to numerous other biomedical research institutes and biotechnology companies in San Diego county.

SDSU is located 12 miles east of downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. UCSD is located in La Jolla near the coast. San Diego enjoys a reputation for easy living and a highly desirable climate. Major attractions include a variety of music and dance clubs, outdoor theme parks including the world-famous San Diego Zoo, theater, opera, popular and classical music concerts and a rich art scene. Spectator sports enthusiasts can enjoy both college and professional sports teams. The nearby ocean, mountains and deserts allow an unusually wide variety of year-round outdoor activities.


For information regarding the Biology Joint Doctoral Application process please go to the Prospective Students - Admission Information page.

Correspondence and information about the joint-doctoral program:

CMB Joint Doctoral Program Administrator
Biology Department
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-4614


Information about participating faculty members and their research interests:
SDSU Faculty UCSD Faculty