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The MB program offers curricula leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the areas of biochemistry, molecular genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, bioinformatics, and microbiology. Because research is central in both the M.S. and Ph.D. curricula, early selection of a research adviser is required.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact at least three individual program faculty before applying to identify a prospective advisor and laboratory in which to pursue graduate research. Previous course records and GPA standings (typically minimum of 3.3/4.0), GRE scores (typically minimum of 300 combined verbal and quantitative), TOEFL scores of foreign applicants (typically minimum of 550 on the paper-based or 213 on the computer-based), a letter of interest from the applicant that identified faculty laboratories of interest, and three letters of reference regarding research performance or potential are weighted heavily during the selection process.
Students with a B.S. degree in one of the disciplines listed above can expect to earn the M.S. degree in about 30 credits, including at least 6 credits of thesis research.
The Ph.D. degree can be earned in about 30 to 40 credits of formal course work, plus additional thesis research credits, for a minimum total of 75 credits beyond the B.S. The Ph.D. program in molecular biology is designed to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to graduate research, utilizing both traditional techniques and the latest advances in biotechnology and recombinant DNA methodology. Participants in this program will take core courses in biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Subsequent course work will be tailored for the individual student, depending upon his or her research emphasis. Ph.D. degree candidates will successfully complete a written and oral qualifying examination based on their proposed research and the subject matter in the core courses at the end of the first year of study. Ph.D. candidates will subsequently complete a comprehensive written examination and oral examination approximately at the end of the second year of study.
A final, formal presentation and oral defense of the original research documented in the M.S. or Ph.D. thesis completes the degree requirements.
The Molecular Biology program also offers formal minors in molecular biology or bioinformatics. The bioinformatics minor is jointly offered with the Department of Computer Science and consists of 9 credit hours for Master's students and 12 credit hours for Ph.D. students. The courses selected will depend on whether the student is majoring in a biological or non-biological science and include courses from the graduate Computer Science and Molecular Biology curricula. Please inquire with the Molecular Biology Program office for the most recent requirements for the bioinformatics minor.