Prospective Students

The Duke University Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program is a PhD certificate program.  Prospective students apply to and are admitted directly through the DSCB Program. By the end of their first year, DSCB students will affiliate with a lab and one of seven participating departments located within the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University. DSCB students will earn their Ph.D. through their affiliated department. 

Students of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. 

How to apply

  • Prospective students should apply online at The Duke Graduate school. Applications are due December 1
  • *Please note that students may apply for a waiver for the Admissions fee, by contacting the Graduate school.


Review process

  • We take a holistic approach when reviewing applicants, including attention to evidence of curiosity, creativity, persistence, motivation, resilience, and problem-solving abilities. When reviewing applicants, we consider previous research experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and academic performance. GRE scores are not required. However, candidates have the option to submit GRE scores if they feel this strengthens their application. 
  • Top candidates are invited to an in person interview in February, where they have the opportunity to meet current DSCB students and faculty, learn about Duke, the DSCB program, and Durham. Admissions decisions are made by the beginning of March and students are required to give their decision by April 15.


Financial Support in the program

  • The DSCB is funded primarily by a training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and provides financial support for a student's first two years of study. Beginning in the third year, students' financial support comes from the lab with which they have affiliated.
  • Please note that because our funding is primarily NIH-based there are a limited number of positions for applicants who are not currently U.S. citizens or permanent residents. However, regardless of citizenship all students admitted to the program are offered a financial aid package that includes full payment of tuition, fees, health insurance, and a monthly stipend for 5-6 years of graduate training.


A few unique aspects of our program

  • The Duke BioCoRE Scholars Program provides enhanced opportunities that complement the bioscience undergraduate and graduate programs. The goals of BioCoRE are to increase the diversity of scientists in the biosciences, and to promote student development with research experiences, engagement with faculty, and career development activities. All incoming graduate students are invited to apply, and incoming scholars are eligible for an early-start summer program as well as other community-building activities throughout the academic year.
  • Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, one of three cities — Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh — that form North Carolina’s famed Triangle Region. Each of the cities is home to a major research university. Further, many of our students go on to work in local startups, pharmaceutical companies, etc, whose home is in Durham. Learn more about Life in Durham here.
  • Duke University and Duke University Medical Center are on the same campus. This gives our students the unique opportunity to interact with experts across broad disciplines, work with Duke undergraduates in the lab, and benefit from the cultural events across the University.
  • Students join a tight-knit community of faculty and students who are passionate about development and stem cell biology.
  • Participation in a DSCB colloquium seminar series which brings in world-class experts in development and stem cell biology.
  • For students who are interested in teaching, there are many opportunities. For those interested in formal training they can obtain a Certificate in Teaching. For students interested in moving into a teaching Academic position they can take advantage of the Preparing Future Faculty program.