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Graduate Program

The Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology promotes biomedical research that explores the relationship between structure and function using molecular, cellular, and anatomical approaches. Our internationally recognized scientists in the areas of tissue engineering, cancer biology, reproduction, neurodegeneration, and cell adhesion provide a dynamic and innovative research environment. Our department is equally dedicated to the promotion of excellence in anatomical science pedagogy through the education of future health care providers and anatomists.

The goals of our program are:

  1. To teach the fundamental concepts and theories that will allow students to understand problems in anatomy and cell biology.
  2. To train students in experimental techniques which will help them solve some of these problems at the basic or applied levels.
  3. To develop critical thinking, analytical and writing skills.

Admission | Contact Us | Curriculum | Research | M.S. Degree in Biomedical Science


East Carolina University is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or handicap. Before seeking admission to the doctoral program in Anatomy and Cell Biology, the applicant should have or be in the process of obtaining a baccalaureate degree and have proficiency in verbal and written communications and a knowledge of mathematics, biology and chemistry.

Applications must be supported by an official transcript from each institution attended since high school, three (3) letters of recommendation from former professors who are familiar with your academic record and career interests and an official copy of scores achieved on the Graduate Record Examination. The Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology requires a written Statement of Purpose from the applicant describing their professional and career goals.  After reviewing applications, select applicants will be invited to visit the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology for an interview before acceptance.

Currently, the Brody School of Medicine supports five independent, departmentally-based PhD programs in Anatomy and Cell Biology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Microbiology and Immunology; Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Physiology. In November of 2016, the BSOM will replace the existing programs and offer a single Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences to all entering students. For this degree, students will select an area of Concentration; Anatomy and Cell Biology will be one of the five Concentrations. The consolidation is an opportunity to strengthen and expand research-based doctoral education in the basic sciences. The Umbrella Ph.D. Program will maintain the independence of the five Concentrations and each Concentration will continue to recruit students and determine the degree structure. The educational objectives of these doctoral programs are to foster scholarship, critical analysis, and creative research activity in a particular field of study.

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Contact Us

Information and application packets regarding admission to the graduate program in Anatomy and Cell Biology may be obtained by contacting:

Graduate Program Committee
Graduate Director for the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Brody School of Medicine, 7N-100
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27834

Inquiries about the program may also be directed to:

Dr. Yan-hua Chen
Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Application forms to the graduate program and requests for information may also be accessed directly from the Graduate School office.

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The major components in our graduate education program are formal courses, extensive experience in the research laboratory, in-depth self-study, and small group tutorials. The Director of the Graduate Program Committee will assist new students in selecting courses and research internship experiences. The required program of study includes Histology and Cell Biology, Molecular Cell Biology, and either Gross Anatomy and Embryology or Neuroscience. Additional courses at the graduate level will be selected based upon the student's interest and need.

During the ongoing process of consolidation of the five basic science Ph.D. programs in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University to an Umbrella Ph.D. Program, a Core Curriculum is being developed.  That Core Curriculum would include Ethics, Biostatistics, Seminar (for 4 semesters), Research Rotations, and Dissertation.  The Concentration in Anatomy and Cell Biology will have additional requirements, including Seminar in Cell Biology, Research Problems in Cell Biology, and Research Proposal Strategies as well as a requirement to serve as a Teaching Assistant.

A general description of East Carolina University graduate courses is in the Graduate Catalogue along with additional information on program requirements and academic regulations.

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Students participate in journal clubs by presenting summaries of current journal articles and detailed reports on their own research results. Students may elect to serve as teaching assistants in the following courses: Gross Anatomy & Embryology, Microscopic Anatomy, and Neuroscience.

Students have the opportunity to gain laboratory experience with different investigators. Students use these opportunities to aid in selecting the faculty member who will direct their dissertation research and to develop a working knowledge of techniques and current theoretical concepts of the discipline. The student also will develop an understanding of research problems in the discipline and gain skills in critical analysis and design of experiments.

Full-time doctoral students are eligible for annual graduate assistantships of $25,000 which should cover all tuition expenses and subsistence in Greenville. Students who have achieved candidacy status are eligible for travel awards to present papers at national meetings.

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