Biochemistry

Major: Biochemistry
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Semester
Total Credit Hours: 37.5 (non-thesis MS) 64.5 (thesis MS) or 96.0 (PhD)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 26.0202
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:
19-1021

About the Program

The graduate program in biochemistry offers a challenging and broad-based graduate program of research and coursework leading to the MS or PhD degree. The aim of the graduate program is to train scientists to identify, address, and solve biomedical problems at the molecular level. The themes of molecular structure, molecular mechanisms, and molecular regulation are recurrent throughout the diverse research areas represented by the biochemistry faculty.

MS in Biochemistry (Thesis or Non-Thesis options)

A minimum of two years of full-time study is required for an MS degree. Master’s graduates typically look forward to careers in clinical biochemistry, in pharmaceuticals and medical research equipment sales, or as research technicians in university and industrial laboratories.

PhD in Biochemistry

The average duration of study for a PhD degree is 5-6 years. Graduates are well-rounded, independent scientists qualified to pursue careers in research in universities, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and government. In addition, PhD scientists may choose to focus on college teaching, research administration, science policy, or patent law. 

About the Curriculum

Background courses in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, and integrative biology are taken during the first academic year. In addition, every student carries out short research projects in three different laboratories chosen by the student. This exposure to research not only gives the student broad research training, but also helps the student to select a thesis advisor at the end of the first academic year. In the second year, the student begins thesis research and takes several advanced courses, tailored to the student’s individual interests. All students participate in student seminars and are encouraged to attend seminars in the department and University.

Courses Repeatable for Credit

As well as taking all required courses, MS and PhD students may re-enroll in courses having the status “repeatable for credit" (such as journal club, seminar and research courses) for the duration of their program in order to meet the total number of credits required for graduation.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, including scheduling a plan of study, visit the College of Medicine's Biomedical Graduate Studies website. 

MS Degree Requirements (Thesis)

Required Courses
BIOC 502SBiochemistry 1st Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club *4.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series *4.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research **27.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
One Advanced Elective2.0-4.0
Cancer Biology
Molec. Mech. Of Micro. Path
Advanced Molecular Virology
Advanced Molecular Biology
Graduate Neuroscience II
CELL MOL PATHBIO CANCER ANGIOG
Graduate Physiology
Graduate Pharmacology
Drug Discovery and Development I
Total Credits64.5-66.5
*

 This 1.0 credit course is taken 4 times.

**

 This 9.0 credit course is taken 3 times.

Approved Electives

Students may opt to take additional approved electives from the list below in consultation with their advisor.

BIOC 503SBiochemistry 2nd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 504SBiochemistry 3rd Lab Rotation4.0
IDPT 507STeaching Practicum I1.0-4.0
IDPT 508STeaching Practicum II1.0-4.0
IDPT 509STeaching Practicum III1.0-4.0
IDPT 600SThesis Defense9.0

MS Sample Plan of Study (Thesis)

First Year
FallCredits
BIOC 502SBiochemistry 1st Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
 Term Credits12.5
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
Advanced Elective2.0-4.0
 Term Credits18.0-20.0
Second Year
Fall
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
 Term Credits18.0
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
 Term Credits16.0
Total Credit: 64.5-66.5

MS Degree Requirements (Non-Thesis)

Required Courses
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club *4.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series *4.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
IDPT 850SLiterature Review Non-Thesis MS4.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
Advanced Electives2.0-4.0
Select at least one of the following Advanced Electives
Cancer Biology
Molec. Mech. Of Micro. Path
Advanced Molecular Virology
Advanced Molecular Biology
Graduate Neuroscience II
CELL MOL PATHBIO CANCER ANGIOG
Graduate Physiology
Graduate Pharmacology
Drug Discovery and Development I
Total Credits37.5-39.5
*

This 1.0 credit course is taken 4 times (once per semester).

Approved Electives

Students may opt to take additional approved electives from the list below in consultation with their advisor.

BIOC 502SBiochemistry 1st Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 503SBiochemistry 2nd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 504SBiochemistry 3rd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
IDPT 507STeaching Practicum I1.0-4.0
IDPT 508STeaching Practicum II1.0-4.0
IDPT 509STeaching Practicum III1.0-4.0

MS Sample Plan of Study (Non-Thesis)

First Year
FallCredits
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
Advanced Elective2.0-4.0
 Term Credits10.5-12.5
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
 Term Credits9.0
Second Year
Fall
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
 Term Credits9.0
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
IDPT 850SLiterature Review Non-Thesis MS4.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
 Term Credits9.0
Total Credit: 37.5-39.5

Degree Requirements (PhD)

The program requires the completion 96.0 semester credits. During the third year, students develop a plan for their doctoral research in conjunction with their thesis advisor. A formal, written thesis proposal is then presented to the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee. Acceptance of this proposal after oral examination by the Committee leads to the final stage of doctoral training. PhD candidates then spend the majority of their time on thesis research. After concluding their research, they must submit and publicly defend their thesis before the Thesis-Examination Committee.

Required Courses
BIOC 502SBiochemistry 1st Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 503SBiochemistry 2nd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 504SBiochemistry 3rd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club *9.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series *9.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research **63.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
IDPT 600SThesis Defense9.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
Advanced Electives4.0
Select at least one Advanced Elective for a minimum of four credits.
Cancer Biology
Molec. Mech. Of Micro. Path
Advanced Molecular Biology
Graduate Neuroscience II
CELL MOL PATHBIO CANCER ANGIOG
Graduate Physiology
Graduate Pharmacology
Drug Discovery and Development I
General Electives
Teaching Practicum I
Teaching Practicum II
Teaching Practicum III
Total Credits129.5
*

 Taken each semester with the exception of the last, when only Thesis Defense is taken.

**

 Taken each semester starting in Year 2, with the exception of the last semester when only Thesis Defense is taken.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredits
IDPT 521SMolecular Structure and Metabolism5.0
BIOC 502SBiochemistry 1st Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 603SAdvanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology1.5
 Term Credits12.5
Spring
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
IDPT 526SCells to Systems5.0
BIOC 503SBiochemistry 2nd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 504SBiochemistry 3rd Lab Rotation4.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
 Term Credits17.0
Second Year
Fall
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 508SExperimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems3.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
Advanced Elective4.0
 Term Credits20.0
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 511SWriting for Researchers: Grants and Papers1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
MCBG 506SAdvanced Cell Biology2.0
MCBG 507SMacromolecular Structure & Function2.0
 Term Credits16.0
Third Year
Fall
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
 Term Credits11.0
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
 Term Credits11.0
Fourth Year
Fall
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
 Term Credits11.0
Spring
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
 Term Credits11.0
Fifth Year
Fall
BIOC 506SBiochemistry Journal Club1.0
BIOC 507SBiochemistry Seminar Series1.0
BIOC 600SBiochemistry Thesis Research9.0
 Term Credits11.0
Spring
IDPT 600SThesis Defense9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Total Credit: 129.5
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