PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Learn important information about Ph.D. programs in biochemistry and molecular biology, such as common courses that these programs offer and typical admission requirements.

Information about Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Programs

This terminal degree program in biochemistry and molecular biology should professionally qualify successful graduates for careers in agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and nutrition, as well as professorships and academic research. These programs are commonly completed in five years or fewer. Students in these programs will typically gain knowledge, experience, and laboratory skills through several core courses like the following in this academic discipline.

Biochemistry I

Courses such as these tend to focus on the study of macromolecules and their chemical actions and interactions. Students in this course may examine macromolecules such as DNA and RNA. Students may also look at the structural makeup of these nucleic acids and examine the functions of the various structures.

Biochemistry II

Students in these courses tend to build upon their studies in the previous course to explore this field in greater depth. Topics can include metabolic pathways, polypeptides, biosynthesis of proteins, eukaryotic cell growth and maintenance, and the chemical and physical interactions of proteins. Courses such as these may have a computational or laboratory component for students to explore these topics up close.

Introduction to Molecular Biology

This introductory class may expose students to the fundamental concepts of molecular biology. Students will tend to examine topics such as the growth of cells through nucleic acid action, replication and repair of nucleic acids, transcription, splicing, and synthesis. Additional overviews and elemental topics, such as genetics and DNA sequencing, may also be introduced.

Principles of Cell Biology

Students in this kind course might look into the various structures and functions of the cell and how they interact, as well as the roles those structures play in cellular actions. Students may also be introduced to the necessary vocabulary and core concepts of cellular biology. Successful students should typically be able to readily locate and describe the various organelles in eukaryotic cells.

Molecular Genetics

This sort of course tends to build on concepts in genetics introduced in previous courses to delve into more specific processes and methodologies from a biochemical standpoint. Students will typically study genes and the influences they have on diseases and health. Topics might include current approaches to gene study, protein synthesis, transcription, gene regulation, and splicing. Students may also review current and ongoing research in the field, such as the impact that CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has had on the science of modern gene editing.

Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Students in this kind of course will generally examine the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging technology. This course tends to cover the underlying theory of NMR as well as practical applications for stereoscopy of molecules. Courses such as these can involve a laboratory component where students carry out experiments on NMR machines.

Computers in Biochemistry

This type of course typically examines the role that computers, technology, and software play in the science of biochemistry. Students may study the computational advantages of computer-integrated science. Students will likely then utilize the various programs to carry out analytical tasks in biochemistry, such as DNA sequencing, and nucleic acid identification.

Admission Requirements for Ph.D. Programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Prospective students in biochemistry and molecular biology Ph.D. programs will need to provide transcripts from all previously attended schools. Students may also need to provide GRE scores; however, these are not required at every university, and some schools might consider them to be optional, in which case students should only include GRE scores if they feel that it would strengthen their application. Letters of recommendation, usually three, is another common requirement. These letters are typically written by previous professors to give a further description of applicants outside of the test scores and transcripts. Prospective students may also need to include a statement of intent/letter of purpose/personal essay of some sort. This is the opportunity for students to describe their own goals within the discipline, as well as the experience they have, in addition to other motivating or descriptive factors.

Ph.D. programs in biochemistry and molecular biology offer students a chance to gain experience and education in areas such as molecular biology, molecular genetics, and biochemistry. These programs tend to have standard admission requirements, such as transcripts from previous schools and universities, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and potentially GRE scores.