The Doctor of Philosophy program is being revised for fall 2016 admission. Details about the program are not yet available.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in anatomy and cell biology requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit. Students in the Ph.D. program work toward the doctorate without an intermediate master's degree program. They complete courses focused in one of three major areas—molecular medicine and gene therapy, developmental and stem cell biology, or cancer biology—in addition to related background and elective courses. Students also teach in lecture and laboratory courses under faculty supervision. The program may be completed in four or five years of intensive, full-time residence.

By the end of their second year of graduate study, anatomy and cell biology students take the comprehensive examination, which assesses their ability to analyze, organize, and apply the information, concepts, and skills acquired during the first two years of study. They define a research problem with their major advisor and formulate a research prospectus.

Subsequent years are devoted primarily to research.

The final Ph.D. examination consists of a public oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation is based on original research conducted with the guidance of the major advisor and at least four other faculty members on the thesis committee.

Individuals interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in a laboratory housed in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology have two options for admission. The first option is to apply to, and be accepted by, the Medical Scientist Training Program (Carver College of Medicine) or one of the interdisciplinary graduate programs in molecular and cellular biology, immunology, genetics, or neuroscience (Graduate College). These programs accept applicants with a variety of backgrounds in the biological and physical sciences. Each program has specific admission requirements—all include a bachelor's degree; certain scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test; and for applicants whose first language is not English, specific scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For detailed admission requirements and application information, refer to the section for each program in the Catalog.

The second option is direct admission to a specific laboratory, by arrangement with the laboratory’s director. After such an arrangement has been made, students apply to the Graduate College for admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. The department’s graduate admission committee evaluates an applicant’s credentials. Most applicants will have completed a bachelor's degree with the following undergraduate course work: chemistry through organic chemistry, one semester of biochemistry or the equivalent, one semester of another advanced biology course, mathematics through calculus, one year of physics, and one semester of statistics or the equivalent. Desirable qualifications include an undergraduate major in the biological sciences or chemistry; a master's degree in the biological sciences, chemistry, or a related area; and scores from a GRE Advanced Test in the applicant's major area.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

All students in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology receive stipends and tuition support. Sources include training grants from the National Institutes of Health, University of Iowa and departmental fellowships and graduate research assistantships, and individual faculty research grants.