School of Public Health

MS with Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)

Prepare for a career conducting interdisciplinary research and translating your findings in the laboratory to clinical and population-based settings. Our concurrent Epi MS/MCB PhD degree program trains basic scientists in modern epidemiological research methods. The curricular and research activities required in the program will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to position you for translational science-oriented post-doctoral positions and eventually a leadership role at an academic research institution or in industry.

The required courses for the MCB PhD and Epi MS programs are available on the respective program websites. The primary differences between the concurrent degree program curriculum and the curriculum of students who are enrolled only in the MCB PhD or the Epi MS are as follows:

  • Years 2 through 5 of the typical MCB PhD coursework are shifted to Years 3 through 6, with Year 2 devoted to fulfilling the Epidemiology MS requirements. This will delay the General Exam for the MCB PhD program by one year.
  • The Epi MS requirements are expected to be completed in 4 quarters as opposed to 7-8 quarters typically allowed.
  • Certain required MCB courses with significant public health content become unspecified (not EPI or SPH) electives for the Epi MS requirements, and vice-versa.
  • The thesis and dissertation projects, respectively, for the Epi MS and MCB PhD are expected to include population and basic science components.
  • The thesis and dissertation chairs, respectively, for the Epi MS and MCB PhD must be approved by the Program Director: Stephen M. Schwartz, PhD (stevesch@uw.edu).
  •  The thesis and dissertation committees, respectively, for the Epi MS and MCB PhD are expected to include a faculty member from the other discipline. For example, The MCB PhD committee would include an Epidemiology faculty member with appropriate expertise.

You will be permitted to count 12 credits toward both the Epi MS and MCB PhD. The specific recommended courses to be counted towards both programs will be decided by the program directors.

 

Year 1*
The first year's curriculum is identical to the MCB PhD Year 1 schedule with the following exceptions.

Autumn Quarter
BIOST 517 (Applied Biostatistics I) - 4 credits
MCB Lab Rotation (must be with faculty associated with the concurrent degree program)

Winter Quarter
BIOST 518 (Applied Biostatistics II) - 4 credits
MCB Lab Rotation (must be with faculty associated with the concurrent degree program)

Spring Quarter
MCB Lab Rotation (must be with faculty associated with the concurrent degree program)

During the Winter and Spring Quarters you will identify your Epidemiology MS thesis topic, committee chair, and other committee member(s). This is an important step toward ensuring the MS portion of your degree doesn’t take more than 4 quarters to complete. You will also identify an MCB PhD dissertation mentor at this time.  

Summer Quarter
You may begin lab work on the MCB PhD project and one of the MCB TA requirements. You also should begin background work needed for your Epi MS thesis.

* If you do not take BIOST 517-8 in year 1 you must do so in year 2.

Year 2*
The second year's curriculum will consist of the required Epi MS coursework (other than Biostatistics 517/518, which are taken in Year 1) and the thesis.

* If you do not take BIOST 517-8 in year 1 you must do so in year 2.

Year 3
The third year will consist of courses normally taken by MCB PhD students in their second year. The second MCB PhD TA/Outreach position requirement will be fulfilled this year. You will also work on your MCB PhD dissertation research during this year.

Years 4-6
These years will consist of courses normally taken by MCB PhD students in years 3-5.

Please contact Professor Stephen M. Schwartz, PhD to discuss your interest in the concurrent degree program, ideally several months in advance of the application deadline.

Each degree program requires a separate application. You may apply to each simultaneously or you may, during your first year in the MCB PhD program, apply to the Epidemiology MS program with the approval of the MCB program. You will be asked on the application if you are applying to a concurrent degree program. 

The MCB PhD application and Epidemiology MS applications will be reviewed by these programs' respective admissions committees, as well as by the concurrent degree program director. If you are subsequently selected to be interviewed for the MCB PhD program, and have been favorably reviewed by the Epidemiology admissions committee, you will be interviewed by the concurrent degree program directors during a visit to the UW. Each department will notify you separately regarding admissions decisions.

Concurrent MS Epi/PhD MCB students receive full funding (tuition and stipend) throughout the six year program. 

  • Year 1 – Funding provided by MCB
  • Year 2 – Funding provided through a combination of a fellowship placement in the Interdisciplinary Training in Cancer Research grant and departmental support
    • Due to this training grant placement your master’s thesis must be related to cancer research
  • Years 3-6 – Funding provided by MCB