Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Ph.D.)

Admission Requirements

Admission to these programs is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School and the graduate programs of the School of Medicine, respectively. Students must have completed an undergraduate degree prior to the start of their first semester.  Preferred majors include biochemistry and molecular biology, neuroscience, chemistry, biology, or physics (although students with other majors are encouraged to apply). A minimum grade point average of 3.0 for the Ph.D. program is required and an interview with two members of the IBS committee either by Skype, phone or in person is generally required.  The Graduate Record Examination is also an admission requirement. International students must be proficient in English as determined by satisfactory performance on the standardized TOEFL English proficiency examination.

Assistantships and Research

Students accepted into the Ph.D. program are generally supported by a Graduate Research Assistantship awarded on a competitive basis by the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science program which provides support for the for the first two years.  Support for subsequent years is provided by their research advisor, training grants or external predoctoral fellowships.  All applicants to the Ph.D. program are considered for financial assistance and no application forms are necessary for this purpose.   Students on assistantships are advised to elect no more than ten credits in any given semester. All Ph.D. students, even those who do not hold a fellowship or an assistantship, may be required to assist the graduate faculty in teaching and research activities as a component of their educational experience.  M.S. students are not financially supported by the program, although after the first semester, successful M.S. students that maintain a grade point average of 3.5 may be eligible for a 50% reduction in tuition.  They may also be hired as research assistants.

Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must complete ninety credits, including at least thirty credits in research and dissertation, at least six credits in a minor and the remaining credits distributed between the major and required cognate courses and electives. During their first year, students undertake rotations, each of ten weeks duration, in two laboratories of their choice. The intention of rotations is to allow the student to make an informed decision about his or her ultimate area of research specialization. Coursework requirements include one course in the School of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS) curriculum and one course offered by the department or a research elective:

IBS 7015Interdisciplinary Cell and Molecular Biology6
In addition three credit hours of research (BMB 7996) or an elective should be taken for a total of 10 credit hours during the first semester.3
Select four credits of additional courses of the following:4
Functional Genomics and Systems Biology
Biomedical Neurobiology
Biomedical Immunology
Biomedical Neuropharmacology
Introduction to the Business of Biotechnology
Special Topics in Biotechnology Commercialization
Systems Neuroscience: Structure and Function of the Nervous System
Foundations of Computational Biology
Required Departmental courses include:
BMB 7320Protein Structure and Function3
BMB 7330Advanced Molecular Biology2
BMB 7890Journal Club (Max. 6, one credit per academic year. Students participate in Journal Club every semester while in the BMB program.)1

Each student must arrange a program in an area of minor concentration with a representative of the department in which he/she plans to minor and preferably with the representative on the doctoral committee. Areas of minor concentration include organic chemistry, physical chemistry, physical-organic chemistry, microbiology or immunology, pharmacology, physiology. biology, and computer science.

The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses BMB 9991BMB 9992BMB 9993, and BMB 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. 

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the School of Medicine governing graduate scholarship and degrees.