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Johns Hopkins University - Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology & Biophysics

The NIH-JHU GPP is a cooperative graduate program between the Graduate Program in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology and Biophysics at Johns Hopkins University and the NIH. The program combines Johns Hopkins' educational excellence in the biological sciences with the tremendous variety of research possibilities available at the NIH.

The CMDB graduate program provides students with a broad foundation offers training in the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, and molecular biology. Students do most of their coursework at the JHU Homewood campus in Baltimore, and perform their thesis research in a laboratory at NIH. Thesis projects can be in any area of research, which, in addition to the areas listed above, includes immunology, neurobiology, microbiology, virology, etc.

Students may enter the graduate program from a variety of backgrounds including biology, chemistry, and physics.


  • Four core courses, taken during the first year at JHU. These include Advanced Molecular Biology, Graduate Biophysical Chemistry, Advanced Cell Biology, and Advanced Developmental Biology and Genetics.  A full list of JHU courses available here External Link .
  • Four elective courses, taken during the first and second year. These can include graduate-level courses offered at JHU, at JHU Medical School, and at the NIH.
  • Laboratory rotations during the first year, usually two at JHU and 2-3 at NIH. At the end of the first year, students choose their research advisor at NIH and begin their dissertation research.
  • Teaching experience. Students serving as teaching assistants for two courses during the first two years. At least one must be at JHU; the second may be either at JHU or at NIH.
  • Thesis research, done in the second through fifth years in an NIH laboratory.

In addition to formal course work, while students are at JHU, they actively participate in a weekly seminar series with faculty members and invited speakers. While at NIH, they participate in monthly NIH-JHU GPP meetings where students discuss their ongoing research and other program matters, including the opportunity to practice upcoming seminars, mock qualifying exams, etc. The NIH-JHU students also select, invite and host an annual guest lecturer.  Students also take advantage of the large number of seminars given weekly at the NIH.

Research Facilities

The NIH is the world's premier biomedical research institution, with an environment that is rich in scientific exchange and that provides broad opportunities for biomedical research. As the federal government's primary agency for biomedical research, NIH institutes and centers employ nearly 1,200 tenured or tenure-track investigators and about 3,700 postdoctoral scientists with medical, dental, or graduate degrees. The NIH intramural research campus includes more than thirty research buildings that house a broad spectrum of biomedical and related scientific research. Basic research in the biomedical sciences at the NIH is complemented by an active clinical research program at the unique 250-bed research hospital and laboratory complex, the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. The NIH campus is also home to the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library.

The laboratories and teaching space of the Johns Hopkins Department of Biology are located in Seeley G. Mudd Hall on the JHU Homewood campus. The Milton S. Eisenhower Library, a superb integrated science collection, is nearby. All equipment and instrumentation relevant to contemporary biology is available to graduate students through the facilities of the Homewood Campus, the Carnegie Institution, the School of Medicine, and the School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Financial Support

All JHU/NIH graduate students are supported through NIH Intramural Research Training Awards and by Johns Hopkins and receive support for stipend, tuition, and medical insurance throughout their years of training.  Details about pre-doctoral stipend are available here.  Tuition is funded during the entire period students are in the program.

Living and Housing

Affordable apartments, houses, and rooms in private residences are available for rent near the NIH campus and elsewhere within easy commuting distance. Affordable rooms and apartments are also available near JHU in Baltimore; the Housing Office on campus assists students in finding rooms and apartments.

Student Group

Johns Hopkins has approximately 3,300 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. The NIH-JHU GPP admits 3-6 students per year, who join a class of 15-20 students at the CMDB Graduate Program and a group of ~20 NIH-JHU students on the NIH campus.  While at the NIH, students join more than 500 other graduate students from more than 100 universities who are doing their research in NIH laboratories. The Graduate Partnerships Program and the Office of Intramural Training & Education at the NIH sponsor student activities and services similar to those at a university to ensure student success and create a strong graduate student community.


The 300-acre NIH Bethesda campus is close to Washington DC, and is easily accessed by public transportation External Link, affording a spectacular cultural and community environment as well as pleasant outdoor activities all year round. Johns Hopkins University is in Baltimore, Maryland, a short distance north of the NIH campus. Maryland is a small state bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains, providing the opportunity for pleasurable outdoor activities. The cultural and academic environments of Baltimore and Washington also enhance opportunities for many recreational experiences.


Prospective students must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents. An entering class typically includes a variety of undergraduate majors in the biological, chemical, or physical sciences. Students wishing to be considered for admission into this partnership should visit the GPP Institutional Partnership - Long-Form Application for Prospective PhD Students web page.


Researchers Participating

Partnership Directors

NIH Partnership Directors

University Partnership Director

Additional Information