Welcome to the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. We are excited to have you join our collegial and supportive community. Our graduate program is designed to set the foundation for a future scholar or industry leader to uncover new knowledge in the field, critically analyze scientific data in the molecular life sciences, communicate the significance of biological phenomena to expert and lay audiences, and lead research and development efforts to enhance human health.

As a student in our program, you will pursue research with faculty who are leaders in their fields, share ideas with fellow graduate students from around the world, collaborate with researchers within the school of MCB and across campus, hone your experimental skills with the assistance of top-notch facilities, and develop into an independent scientist.

The PhD in Cell & Developmental Biology is earned through a combination of graded courses, oral and written examinations, and independent research. We empower students to design a program, in consultation with faculty advisors, that aligns with your academic background, scientific interests, and career goals. Detailed requirements and guidance for obtaining the PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology can be found in the CDB Graduate Student Handbook. Please familiarize yourself with our expectations for maintaining satisfactory academic progress as well as meeting milestones toward the PhD.

Information & forms

CDB Graduate Student Handbook 1st Year Grad Student Annual Review 3rd-4th Year Grad Student Annual Review 5th+ Year Grad Student Annual Review Prelim Exam Checklist

Director of Graduate Studies for CDB

Stephanie Ceman, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology; Director of Graduate Studies, CDB
Email: sceman@illinois.edu

Events of interest to CDB grad students

We host a number of exciting and enriching events throughout the year. Visit our Seminars & Events page for specific information.

CDB Retreat

The annual CDB retreat features a keynote speaker and talks and poster presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

CDB Career Development Seminar Series

Speakers have been successful UIUC alums or friends in various sectors, including scientific publishing, biotechnology start-ups, the pharmaceutical industry, and academia. The speakers discuss their career paths and the ins and outs of their respective fields. In addition to social interactions with the students, the speakers hold mock interviews and resume review sessions with our students.

Departmental Seminar Series

Additional speakers visit the department as part of the Early-Career Inclusive Excellence Seminars, the CDB Alumni Seminars, and seminars organized by our students.

Post-graduate careers


Many students graduating with a PhD from CDB laboratories choose to extend their training as postdoctoral fellows in top research labs around the country and the globe, after which they pursue careers in academia, pharmaceutical and biotech industry, scientific publishing, or other medical/scientific fields. Some of our recent graduates have also directly entered the pharmaceutical/biotech industry.

View a listing of where our graduates have launched careers after receiving their PhD in CDB.