Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

A Doctor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) is offered by the Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems. A Ph.D. in BMB prepares students for careers in bio- and medical-technology, health science monitoring and diagnostics.


The BMB curriculum within the EBS division provides students the opportunity to explore the structure and function of macromolecules and their integration into biological processes. Leading-edge metallobiochemistry, structural biology, spectroscopy, proteomics, microbial genetics and genomics are applied to uncover the molecular details of enzyme mechanisms, signal transduction, and control of gene expression. Collaborations with ESE and EBS allow BMB students to engage in multidisciplinary research involving the application of molecular biology and genetics to ecological studies.

The curriculum is designed to ensure a common foundation of core concepts and skills, but also to allow considerable flexibility for customization to provide the optimal educational experience for each student. Core concepts and skills are taught through a series of three required core courses, with the remaining coursework consisting of advanced electives, readings groups, and special topics courses selected in consultation with the student's advisory committee.


To provide focus to the student's course of study, and guidance in the selection of courses, the BMB Ph.D. program is divided into two tracks. The tracks have different required core courses, but they overlap in the selection of elective courses. Complete documentation is available in PDF format under Current Degree Requirements.


All Ph.D. students mass pass qualifying exams near the end of their first year, prepare and defend a thesis proposal in their second year, conduct original research leading to multiple peer-reviewed publications, and finally submit a written dissertation and complete an oral defense of the dissertation. The typical time to complete the Ph.D. in BMB is 5 years.

Most students accepted into the BMB Ph.D. program have Bachelors (or equivalent) degrees in the physical or biological sciences, engineering, or related disciplines (e.g., computer science). Prospective students with different backgrounds are encouraged to inquire, if they have professional or other experience that might provide adequate background. Requirements for admission to this program include all the general requirements are described on the Admissions web page

Most Ph.D. students are full time, but Ph.D. students can be part-time under special circumstances. To matriculate, students should follow the instructions on the Admissions web page.