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Biological Sciences, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #8 (ARWU) , NY,
Columbia University offers a Biological Sciences program of advanced study in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, neurobiology, physiology, immunology, genetics, structural and computational biology, developmental biology, molecular biophysics, bioinformatics, and chemical biology.


The Biological Sciences graduate program provides each student with a strong background in contemporary biology and an in-depth knowledge of one or more of the above areas. During the first year, all students take an intensive core course that provides a solid background in structural biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and molecular biology. Two additional elective courses are required, which are generally completed in the second year. A departmental colloquium is held each Monday at noon throughout the academic year. All graduate students are expected to attend regularly. Additional research seminars are also presented frequently by visiting scholars.


Research in laboratories of the department's or affiliated faculty is integral to the program. Students begin laboratory rotations in the first semester of the first year and can do three rotations in their first calendar year.  By the end of their first year, students are expected to choose a mentor. Experience in teaching is deemed an important part of PhD training: in preparation, students participate in a workshop in teaching technique at the start of their second year.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Current research interests of the faculty span many areas of modern biology and involve species from prokaryotes to humans.

 Some specific fields of interest include

  •  the regulation of gene expression
  •  mRNA processing
  •  mechanisms of signal transduction
  •  oncogenes and tumor suppressors
  •  the structure and function of enzymes and multi-protein complexes
  •  the genetics of invertebrate development
  •  the genetics and biogenesis of mitochondria
  •  development of the nervous system
  • neuronal differentiation and degeneration
  • ion channel structure
  •  function and regulation and mechanisms of transduction in the olfactory system

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

Academic Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  • Undergraduate training in one of the natural or physical sciences is required. It is also desirable that students have had at least a year of calculus, as well as courses in organic and physical chemistry, physics, genetics, biochemistry and cell biology. 
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required.  The  GRE Subject Test in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science or physics is strongly recommended.
  • In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit 1 transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose and 2 letters of evaluation from academic sources.

Tuition Fee

Living costs for Manhattan

  • 2638 - 5760 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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