Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics and Virology

Accreditation valid until: 23. 10. 2029

Chairman of the Subject Area Board:

doc. RNDr. Dana HOLÁ, Ph.D.
Department of Genetics and Microbiology
Faculty of Science
Charles University
Viničná 5
128 43  Prague 2
phone: +420 221 951 200
e-mail: @email


Coordinator for the Second Faculty of Medicine:
doc. MUDr. Eva Froňková, Ph.D.
Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology
Seconf Faculty of Medicine
Charles University and Motol University Hospital
V Úvalu 84
150 06  Prague 5
phone: +420 224 436 489
e-mail: @email


Members of the Subject Area Board

Characteristics of the study programme

The purpose of the study program is to provide the students with advanced theoretical and practical knowledge in various areas of molecular and cell biology, genetics and virology, as well as to familiarize them with modern methodical and technical approaches utilized in these scientific fields and with the possibilities of such approaches for problem-solving in current biological and biomedical science (including interdisciplinary research). The main scope of the program can be characterized as the study of biological processes at molecular and cell level, focusing particularly on complex interactions between cells and environment or between various information macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins) and using the most modern approaches of molecular biology and bioinformatics.

Admission procedure requirement specific to the study programme

The conditions and course of the admission procedure for the part-time of study are the same as the conditions for the full-time form. 

We recommend to contact your potential supervisor in advance and consult the suitable form of preparation for the interview. Each study programme has its own specifics, so the supervisor can help you to prepare for the specialized entrance examination (the interview).

Topics of dissertation thesis

The SAB did not list any topics. The candidate chooses the preliminary topic individually and contacts a potential supervisor. He/she consults with him on the chosen topic and agrees on its more precise specification. In case of any ambiguity, we recommend that you also contact the chairman of the SAB. If necessary, he/she can recommend that he/she consult the topic with another specialist according to the focus of the intended project.

If the candidate does not know which topic/supervisor to choose, he/she will contact the chairman of the SAB, with whom he/she will consult on a suitable topic and a potential supervisor.

This choice is preliminary, the admissions board may, after consultation with the candidate, nominate another supervisor.

Supervisors of the study programme

Each supervisor must be approved by the SAB. The criteria for admitting new supervisors are determined by the SAB. If the proposed supervisor has not yet been approved by the SAB, this must be done no later than the enrollment of the applicant in the study (provided that the applicant is accepted). You can find a list of supervisors approved by the SAB here. After clicking, the supervisor's workplace and contact information will be displayed.

Requirements during the study

Study obligations for full-time and part-time form of study are the same. 

The student must complete at least one scientific lecture/course related to the topic of his/her dissertation thesis and selected from the lists of subjects taught by the Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University (including the lectures/courses organized by the co-operating institutions, e.g., the Czech Academy of Sciences). The selection of this lecture/course depends on the scientific/technical needs of the student and is made by him/her together with his/her supervisor. The successful completion of this lecture/course is a necessary condition prior to submitting an application for the state doctoral examination (SDE).

Further study duties can be stipulated by the internal rules of the respective faculty the student is registered in. In case it is explicitly stated in these rules, the successful completion of such study duties can be an additional condition necessary to fulfil before submitting an application for the SDE (e.g., the English language certificate at a certain level). The SAB board does not require an English language examination.

Besides this, students should actively participate in national and international conferences (including various types of regular conferences for students organized by the respective faculty / supervising institution; participation in this type of conference can even be an obligatory component of the ISP in case it is explicitly stated in the internal rules of the respective faculty the student is registered in). The active involvement of the student in the preparation of grant proposals of his/her supervising laboratory is also strongly recommended.

Requirements for internships

The students are strongly recommended to complete a research internship abroad during their study (total length at least one month). The decision on the inclusion of such internship in the ISP rests mainly with the supervisor and its realization depends on the options and resources of the supervising laboratory. In case such internship is not possible, the students must participate in international scientific cooperation by some other way in compliance with the Standards of the Study Programmes of Charles University.

Listed courses

Requirements for the SDE

Students must apply for their SDE during the third year of their study at the latest. In case the first attempt to pass this examinaton is not successful, the second attempt must be made during the academic year following the first SDE attempt at the latest (only two attempts at passing the SDE are allowed).

The dates of SDE for the current year can be found here.

Before submitting the application form for the SDE (it must be oficially submitted in the printed and signed form to the respective administrative department dealing with studies!), the student has to successfully pass at least one study duty included in the ISP as required by the SAB (other duties included in the ISP must be fulfilled before the end of the study, i.e. before submitting dissertation thesis and the application for its defence). However, the SAB does not require students to be authors or co-authors of any IF papers prior to their SDE.

The course of the SDE

The SDE consists of an oral examination focused on student’s knowledge on two subjects which are personalized in accordance with the respective topic of the dissertation. 

The first subject of the SDE is selected fully by the student and should be related to the topic of dissertation. This subject must be approved by the respective faculty co-ordinator (see below) prior to the student application for the SDE (i.e., the co-ordinator must be contacted and must approve of the subject proposed by the student prior to any official submission of the application form!). It is best if the student proposes to the co-ordinator 2-3 such subjects (in the order of preference by the student); however, the subject cannot be the direct title of dissertation and should not be focused on a too specific topic! (i.e., it is not acceptable to call your subject, e.g., “The role of modifications of the protein AAA occurring at amino acid BBB in the regulation of the signalling pathway CCC in relation to DNA damage reparation in the kidneys of naked mole-rats”. However, it is quite acceptable for your subject to be, e.g., “Cell signalling and its regulation”, “DNA damage and reparation”, “Protein modifications”, etc. See the end of this file for some suggestions). 

The second subject of the SDE is partly obligatory: the student must choose either Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Genetics or Virology. 

The length of the SDE is usually approximately one hour. At its beginning the student gives a short presentation about his/her doctoral project (it is usual to prepare and present a ppt, pptx, pdf file). This presentation must include an information on the current theoretical knowledge of the respective scientific topic including its more general context (it should be evident that the student has already read at least some relevant papers on his/her topic and has a good theoretical background), a main goal of the project (and its partial goals, if any), hypotheses that are being tested, brief information on the methodical approaches that the student utilizes or wants to utilize in the future, and it is also possible to briefly present the most important results already obtained. However, the length of the whole presentation should not much exceed 15 min (maximum – only in exceptional cases – 18 min)!

After this presentation, the SDE continues with the questions by the examination committee pertaining to the first, fully elective subject; this is the most important part of the SDE (and it usually takes the majority of the time set for the SDE). The questions can be related directly to the student´s presentation, to his/her publications on the respective topic (if some are already published), to information available to the SAB during yearly assessments of the ISP, and they ofter extend to the full/wider scope of the selected subject (although most members of the committee will usually try to ask about something more-or-less related to the doctoral project). During this part of the SDE, the student must display advanced and detailed knowledge on the current state of scientific topics directly related to his/her area of specialisation, including knowledge on various methodical approaches related to their research (their principles, various advantages and disadvantages) and topics reaching into associated research areas. It is expected that students will demonstrate their ability to comprehend the essence of any scientific problem, to place it in a broader context and particularly to propose their own creative solutions.

Regarding the second, partly obligatory subject of the SDE, students should have a good general theoretical background in the selected subject, at least at the level of the M.Sc. graduates of the Faculty of Science, Charles University (the Master Study Programme Genetics, Molecular Biology and Virology). The required knowledge can be found within the syllabi of the specific lectures (the literature recommended for the study is given for these lectures directly in the SIS; however, it mostly comprizes of the main, most common university textbooks for the respective scientific field, pdfs of lecture presentations, etc.).

In case of Molecular Biology this knowledge is covered by lectures Essentials in Molecular Biology, Molecular Biology, Progress in Molecular BiologyMolecular and Cell Biology Methods.

In case of Cellular Biology this knowledge is covered by lectures Biology of the Cell, Physiology of the CellStructure and Function of Biological Membranes.

In case of Genetics this knowledge is covered by lectures Genetics, Human Genetics ( ), Methods in GenomicsEpigenetics.

In case of Virology this knowledge is covered by lectures Virology – Systems on Molecular Level, Viruses and the Immunity System of the Host, Pprogress in Mkolecular Virology, Viruses and Tumours, and either Patogenesis, Epidemiologiy and Diagnostics of Selected Human and Animal Diseases or Medical Virology and Viral Pathogenesis 

Examination topics for the SDE

Publication activity requirements

The core of the doctoral study lies in the original, high-quality research independently carried out by the student. This research must result in at least two original scientific publications relevant to the topic of the dissertation thesis and published during the course of the doctoral study. At least one of these publications must be a research paper of an “original research article” type and the student must be its first author and must significantly participate in its creation. The required publications must be published in peer-reviewed journals indexed in reputable databases acknowledged by the general scientific community (Web of Science, journals with the impact factor, IF). In exceptional and justified cases (e.g., if the student is the first author of an exceptionally high-quality publication), the SAB can permit change of the publication requirements (e.g., one such paper would be sufficient instead of two commonly required). If the publication is not yet published, the students must present a record of confirmation of its acceptance by the respective scientific journal, otherwise such publication cannot be counted among the required number. The shared first-authorship can be accepted as the first-authorship only after the agreement of the chairman of the SAB. In case the second required publication is another type than an “original research article”, its acceptance as a required publication output should be also in advance consulted with the chairman of the SAB. Videopublications are not accepted (if they are not accompanied by a full-value scientific text).

Further publication requirements (in accordance with the ISP) can be stipulated by the internal rules of the respective faculty the student is registered in.

Defence requirements

Prior to submission of the dissertation thesis for its defence, all study duties stated in the ISP must be successfully passed and the same applies for the SDE. In addition to this, the student must be an author of at least two original scientific publications relevant to the topic of the dissertation thesis and published during the course of the doctoral study (see Creative Work and Publication Activity requirements).

The dates of the defences for the current academic year can be found here.

The dissertation must be an original work of the student. It should provide sufficient information necessary for the assessment whether the student is qualified for the independent research work in his/her respective scientific field. The student should be able to comprehensively describe and adequately cover the topic of the dissertation, as well as to independently formulate opinions and questions based on the results of his/her doctoral project.

The SAB does not require the Summary of the Dissertation.

Dissertation defence

Besides the sections required by the university rules and the internal rules of the respective faculty (the title page, the signed declaration of the author, abstracts in Czech and English, etc.) and the supporting parts (the content, the reference list, the abbreviations list if appropriate), the dissertation thesis must contain these sections: 1) Introduction and Literary Overview (the summary of the current knowledge on the topic of the dissertation thesis based on the information available in the scientific literature); 2) clearly defined Aims of the Thesis; 3) Experimental Part (description of the original hypotheses and experiments performed in order to test these hypotheses, i.e., the general conception of experiments, the description of the experimental material and methodical approaches, as well as adequately described results documented in tables and/or figures); 4) Discussion; 5) Summary/Conclusions. These sections of the dissertation thesis can be further divided and appropriately named according to the general character of the doctoral project and the internal rules of the respective faculty (some modality in the general structure of the dissertation thesis is possible, e.g., the merging of the Experimental part and Discussion in case of theses from the bioinformatics field, however, this must be consulted in advance with the chairman of the cubject area board).

The experimental part can include (and can be partially replaced by) the original research papers of the student that are relevant to the topic of the dissertation thesis and were published, accepted for publication or are accepted for review in some IF journal during the course of the doctoral study. However, it is recommended to include only such papers that the student significantly participated in. These papers can be either incorporated directly into the text or can be presented as supplementary section of the dissertation thesis. They should be linked by the original explanatory text written by the student, which should emphasise the related nature of the respective publications in the context of the doctoral project and summarize the main results and conclusions presented in these papers. This text must also contain unambiguous and detailed verbal specification of the contribution of the student to both obtaining the experimental data and the preparation/writing of the respective manuscript(s). The student is fully responsible for the presentation of publications in such form that complies with the licencing rights of the respective publisher. However, the student must be also aware that the eventual incorporation of their publications into his/her dissertation thesis certainly cannot replace either the Introduction and Literary overview or the Discussion sections (the text in these sections of the dissertation thesis cannot be simply copied or only slightly re-formulated from the respective publications). The Experimental Part should also include all yet unpublished experiments performed by the student that are relevant to the topic of the dissertation thesis (such experiments and their results should be fully described).

The dissertation thesis can be written in Czech, in Slovak or in English (English is recommended).

Profile of a graduate of the study programme

The graduate shows deep theoretical knowledge in molecular and cell biology, genetics and virology, with focus on some specific branch of these scientific fields. He/she is able to propose an optimum solution of a given scientific problem, to choose suitable methodical approaches and to correctly evaluate and interpret the obtained data. He/she shows practical ability to apply modern methods and techniques of molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, bioinformatics and biostatistics, and can independently solve complex research problems using the knowledge acquired during the doctoral study. He/she can be employed particularly in the reseach/development sector with focus on biology and biomedicine (both fundamental and applied research).

Information about graduate employment 

The graduate is prepared to apply mainly in scientific and teaching positions at domestic and foreign universities, scientific institutes engaged in basic and applied research, in research and technology centres. In the non-academic sphere, they will find employment in specialised clinical, diagnostic and forensic laboratories and in laboratories of the pharmaceutical and food industry, in environmental protection or in breeding.

Last update: 15. 3. 2023 / ThDr. Jitka Sýkorová, Ph.D.