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A Top Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology

Emory University offers a cross-disciplinary Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology (BCDB) through its top-ranked Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS). The "Chronicle of Higher Education" ranks seven of the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences' research areas among the top 10 in the nation for research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize the excellence of Emory's Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology program through their long-standing financial support of the program.

With faculty members drawn from 15 departments within Emory University, graduates can pursue pure basic science or translational research in order to improve human health and understanding of the world. Students may also work with any of the almost 330 GDBBS faculty members from Emory University, as well as from the American Cancer Society and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are associated with the GDBBS.

Doctoral students in the BCDB program receive generous financial support.

Research Opportunities in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology

Graduate students conduct research in one of four fields: biochemistry and structural biology; cell biology; development biology; and cancer biology.

Within biochemistry and structural biology, graduate students and faculty members investigate the structural, functional, and physical characteristics of macromolecular complexes.

Within cell biology, students conduct in vitro and in vivo studies of cellular processes using a range of model cell biological techniques.

Students who pursue research in developmental biology at Emory investigate the mechanisms and molecules associated with embryogenesis of many different model organisms.

Students who pursue cancer biology through the BCDB program have access to top-notch basic and clinical resources as they conduct studies of the molecular and cell biological basis of cancer.

Doctoral Program Coursework and Research

Doctoral students in the program in Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology generally complete the degree program within six years. During their first year, students take "Foundations in BCDB," in which students focus on one major topic per two-week block. Shortly after they start the program faculty members give a 15 minute presentation about their research and students meet with at least five possible mentors to assist them in selecting rotation advisors (most students complete three rotations). The foundations course and lab rotations allow students to get a rigorous overview of the discipline as they select advisors and research topics for their dissertations. Students also participate in introductory seminars through which they are trained in how to present scientific information, and attend monthly ethics sessions and professionalization workshops. During the summer following their first year students participate in a two-day Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) Program.

During their second year, students take "Statistics for Experimental Biology" and "Hypothesis Design and Scientific Writing," which help them develop proposals for their dissertation research according to NIH grant application guidelines. Students finish with proposals that they can use to apply for predoctoral fellowships.

BCDB students typically apply for the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowships, National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, and the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship.

From their second year, students participate in an advanced research seminar in which they present yearly reports on their research projects.

Competitive Financial Support

Students in the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Emory receive tuition scholarships, health insurance, and stipends. They enjoy the low cost of living in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

The stipend for the 2017-18 academic year is $30,000. In addition, several competitive fellowships are offered to outstanding applicants each year. These fellowships provide students with supplements to their stipends that range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year for five years, depending on the award.

Living in Atlanta

Emory University is located in a beautiful, wooded area of northeast Atlanta, Georgia, just four miles from downtown. The area serves as a hub of medical research, encompassing both the CDC and the American Cancer Society.

Midtown Atlanta is home to museums, galleries, and cultural activities that students enjoy. Atlanta's temperate climate affords students many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and camping.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Master's Degrees 2
Doctoral Degrees 10

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 3rd January 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 in science course work (recommended)
International Students Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Types of financial support available Fellowships
Health Care Benefits
Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)
Out-of-state students


Hispanic/Latino 8.77%
Black or African American 3.51%
White or Caucasian 63%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 5.26%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races Not Reported
Unknown 5.26%


Male (35%)
Female (64%)


Total faculty
Full-time (46)
Part-time (0)
Male (36)
Female (10)


Focus of faculty research: Signal transduction, molecular biology, enzymes and cofactors, receptor and ion channel function, membrane biology
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 1462 Clifton Road, Suite 314
Atlanta, GA  30322
United States
Contact Dr. Richard Kahn
Program Director
Email: rkahn@emory.edu
Phone: 404-727-3561
Fax: 404-727-3746