A Message to International Applicants:
The Graduate School recently changed guidelines regarding the remission of out-of-state tuition, with the new rules due to take effect in July 2012. Unfortunately, we can no longer provide stipend support and tuition for international students. However, we welcome applications from international students who can provide their own support through personal funds or government grants. The new policy will have no effect on domestic students.
Graduate Degree Programs Offered by the Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry
Students interested in a graduate degree in Biochemistry should apply through the graduate school.
Master of Science (MS)
The Biochemistry MS program is generally two-years in length. MS students identify a research mentor early in the first semester and begin a research project as soon as possible. Along with taking courses, the MS student performs short research projects and writes a thesis at the end of the two years. The MS student generally is not supported by stipend or provided funds for tuition/fees.
Students interested in the MS program are encouraged to contact individual faculty regarding their research programs and availability of research positions.
Master of Biochemistry (MB)
The Biochemistry MB program is a non-thesis option for obtaining a Master's degree. The MB student takes 30 credit hours of course work designed to develop critical thinking skills. While three Biochemistry courses are required (BCH701, BCH703, BCH705), the remaining courses are tailored toward student interests in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Plant Biochemistry, Virology, and Biomedical Sciences.
Students interested in the MB program are encouraged to contact Dr. Jim Knopp for more information.
Combined BS/MS Program
The Biochemistry department offers a combined program for Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Biochemistry. The program is designed as a five-year program where undergraduate students generally join during their junior year. The student should identify a faculty research mentor before joining the program.
Students interested in the combined BS/MS program are encouraged to contact Dr. Jim Knopp for more information.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The Department of Biochemistry offers a Ph.D. through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Students entering into the program generally have a B.S. in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Genetics, or related physical or biological science. The program in biochemistry is designed to prepare individuals for careers in research and teaching. Emphasis is focused primarily on laboratory research, where students work closely with faculty.
Graduate students in the doctoral program are currently supported either through departmental teaching assistantships or faculty grants. In addition to stipend support, the department will pay tuition and fees for all students as well as provide medical benefits to all students. Together with stipend, medical benefits and tuition and fees, the total level of support is greater than $30,000 per year.
During the first year in residence, students are advised by a graduate advisory committee and participate in coursework, teaching, and laboratory rotations. The core courses include Macromolecular Structure (BCH701), Macromolecular Synthesis and Regulation (BCH703), Molecular Biology of the Cell (BCH705), and a two semester seminar course (BCH801). Following the core coursework, students enroll in two advanced courses, typically chosen by the student with the advisement of the thesis advisor, and this generally occurs before the end of the second year. Advanced topics range from biophysical chemistry, advanced molecular biology, nucleic acids structure and function, or a number of topics offered through other departments on campus. In addition, students gain teaching experience by participating as a teaching assistant for two semesters. Students are expected to attend weekly departmental seminars presented by eminent visiting scientists.
During the first year in residence, students participate in two to three laboratory rotations, each approximately eight weeks in duration, which allow the student to choose a thesis advisor through knowledge of the laboratory environment. Students select laboratories for rotations after discussions with faculty members. At the end of the first year in residence, the student selects a thesis advisor based on meetings with faculty, laboratory rotations, TA experience, and approval of the graduate advisory committee. Following the selection of a thesis advisor, a thesis committee is established, typically during the third semester in residence, which includes three members of the Biochemistry department faculty and one member from outside of the department. The thesis committee will meet with the student at least once per year.
Students are required to pass preliminary exams, generally toward the end of the second year in residence. The preliminary exams are based on an original research proposal written by the student.
After completion of the thesis research, and with the approval of the thesis committee, the student writes a thesis, presents a departmental seminar based on the research, and defends the thesis before the thesis committee. The defense generally occurs at the end of the fifth year in residence.