Program Description

Program of Study

The University of Washington (UW) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch), located in Seattle, Washington, USA, collaborate to offer a program of graduate studies leading to a Ph.D. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. The program uses the extensive research facilities of individual departments on the UW campus, University of Washington Medical Center, South Lake Union Campus and the nearby Lake Union campus of the Fred Hutch. Affiliate laboratories are located at the Institute for Systems Biology and Seattle BioMed.  The Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program admits 20-25 new students each year.

University of Washington

The University of Washington is a research-intensive institution, regularly ranking first overall among public universities in externally funded research programs.


At the University of Washington, approximately 2,300 full-time faculty members serve a student population of 36,000 that is drawn from all over the United States and many other countries. The UW is recognized for graduate instruction of high quality, offering over ninety graduate and professional programs that enroll more than 7,300 graduate students on campus. There are a total of approximately 500 graduate students in the biological sciences at the UW.

The UW is located in a residential section of Seattle near downtown. It is bordered by 2 lakes and is one of the largest and most scenic single-campus institutions of higher education in the country.   For more information:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's world-renowned research laboratories are located close by Lake Union and near downtown Seattle. A shuttle service provides free and convenient access between UW and Fred Hutch daily.

Fred Hutch is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act.  This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes Fred Hutch to offer specific degree programs.  The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs.  Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs.  Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430.

Participating units

Eleven departments at the UW and 5 divisions at Fred Hutch participate in the MCB program.

Program Goals and Philosophy

The goals of the MCB program are to facilitate the development of independent and highly motivated students into creative molecular and cellular biologists. The guiding philosophy of the program is that students should be actively involved in designing a program of graduate studies that meets their individual needs, coupled with the notion that ongoing and challenging dialogue between students and faculty is an integral part of higher education.


The goals of training students broadly in modern biology, and fostering their ability to design and critique scientific ventures, are pursued through the basic elements of the program. These include 3 quarters of general courses in the first year, a three-quarter literature review course, advanced elective courses, and informal and formal seminars. In addition, students engage in laboratory rotations in each of their first 3 quarters to broaden their training and to decide on a laboratory in which to pursue their thesis research.

Cost of Study

The MCB Program offers a 12-month competitive salary, as well as paying tuition and health insurance, which includes medical, dental and vision benefits. Students with satisfactory academic progress can anticipate funding for the duration of their studies.Tuition is paid for the duration of the program for students in good standing.

Living and Housing Costs

The University of Washington has a wide variety of housing available for single and married students as well as families. Private accommodations may be found within easy walking or bicycling distance. Seattle public transportation to campus is very convenient.

The University Housing Office web address is:


Seattle is a city of unsurpassed beauty.


The city's downtown area offers many cultural and educational advantages, including an extensive and active theater community, the Seattle Symphony, films (site of the Seattle Film Festival), opera and ballet. In addition, the waterfront is home to a large Public Market, galleries, and fresh seafood restaurants. The University itself sponsors many public lectures, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, and theatrical performances.

All around Seattle, there is an abundance of outdoor opportunities for recreation. Unsurpassed sailing, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, and camping are all a short distance away. There is easy access to the saltwater expanse of Puget Sound, Lake Union and Lake Washington (which border the UW campus), as well as the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. Seattle enjoys a moderate climate, with precipitation averaging 32 inches per year, mostly during the winter and early spring.