Planned JCU system outage 23 to 27 May 2024 impacting student and application portals.

Postgraduate Studies

Molecular & Cell Biology incorporates the Comparative Genomics Centre and is one of the most research-active Departments at James Cook University. Both basic fundamental and applied biotechnology research are conducted within the department.

The research activities of the Department are supported by grants from national and international funding agencies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, the March of Dimes Foundation, Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Welcome Foundation, Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundation as well as industry. These grants permit the Department to engage in research that is at the cutting edge of the field.

The Department has a very strong commitment to research and the students who have completed postgraduate studies have had no difficulty in finding employment. An active seminar program that brings distinguished scientists from Australia and overseas to JCU is another unique feature of Molecular & Cell Biology, and the honours and graduate students benefit immensely from this activity.

A Ph.D. in Molecular & Cell Biology offers an opportunity for self-motivated,  mentor-guided research, providing the ideal training for a professional career in the cell biology and molecular sciences. Projects are largely determined by the interests of the individual students and their supervisors and you are requested to speak with potential supervisors regarding projects of interest. It is particularly useful for prospective students to consult with as many staff members as possible, so that an informed decision can be made regarding the choice of project(s). Positions are awarded competitively and, in almost all cases, are dependent on successful application for a postgraduate scholarship.

If a student has a specific project in which they are interested they are encouraged to speak with relevant potential supervisors to investigate the possibility (and feasibility) of conducting research to investigate the specific research of interest.

JCU Competitive Scholarships for Higher Degree by Research Candidates are awarded annually on a competitive basis to the top ranking applicants.

The scholarship provides a stipend or living allowance, in addition to an exemption from tuition fees. Alternatively browse through all of the scholarships available at JCU.

Online system outage - important service impact for applicants

Please note that we are currently undertaking a planned system update. During this update prospective students will not be able to apply directly via the online JCU portal or accept any current offers via eStudent or the JCU App. Applications through the QTAC website are unaffected, as the update is only to JCU systems. For urgent application enquiries, please email

Outage starts: Thursday 23 May 2024 5:00 pm AEST (3:00pm SGT)

Outage ends: Monday 27 May 2024 8:00am AEST (6:00am SGT)

Application must be in writing and all hard copies of certified original transcripts and any additional documentation must be included. Apply through the online application portal.

Do not do this until you have discussed the nature of your proposed project with your potential supervisor and there is agreement that an application is appropriate.

Further information on completing postgraduate studies at James Cook University can be found on the Graduate Research School website.

Find out more on how to prepare for research and PhD degrees at JCU Research and Teaching.