VCU Bulletins

Biochemistry, Master of Science (M.S.)

Kordula, Dr. Tomasz
Graduate Program Director
tkordula@vcu.edu
(804) 828-0771

Admission requirements summary

Biochemistry, Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree:

M.S.
Semester(s)
of entry:

Fall preferred
Deadline
dates:

None. Applications accepted through June for admission the following fall. Priority given to early applicants.
Test
requirements:

GRE, MCAT or DAT
Special requirements:
MCAT or DAT acceptable in lieu of GRE for combined professional/academic degree programs

The M.S. program in biochemistry prepares students for research-oriented careers in academia, government and biotechnology. The core of this degree program is an original independent research project under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has research efforts of international stature in several areas, including cellular and molecular signaling, tumor biology, structural biology, eukaryotic molecular biology, lipid and membrane biochemistry, and molecular genetics, using state-of-the-art approaches in enzymology, genomics, proteomics and lipidomics. While emphasizing independent research in biochemistry and molecular biology and training in the responsible conduct of research, the program also provides a background of courses designed to match the needs and interests of each student. An example of a schedule of courses is shown below. During the first year, students pursue research rotations, take formal course work and become familiar with current research topics through seminars, discussion groups and lectures by distinguished scientists. By the end of the first year, students choose a faculty adviser and begin thesis research. Following completion of the research project and defense of the masters thesis, graduates are equipped to participate in virtually any area of current biomedical research in the most prestigious laboratories. For more detailed information on the program, please visit www.biochemistry.vcu.edu/education/masters/default.htm.

Student learning outcomes

Curriculum

Master’s students in biochemistry take courses designed for graduate students with an emphasis on research design and experimentation. Students must amass at least 24 credit hours (exclusive of research credits).

The following courses are required for the master’s degree and constitute the core courses of the curriculum:

BIOC/MICR 503-504 Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology (typically taken in first year)
BIOC 505 Experimental Biochemistry (research rotation; typically taken in first year)
BIOC 602 Physical Properties of Macromolecules (one to four modules; typically taken in first year)*
BIOC 604 Enzymology (one to three modules; typically taken in second year)*
BIOC 690 Biochemistry Seminar (taken each semester)
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (student seminar; taken each semester)
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (critical thinking; typically taken in first year)
BIOC 697 Directed Research in Biochemistry (taken each semester)
IBMS 600 Laboratory Safety (typically taken in first year)
OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity (typically taken in second year)

* Students will select modules from 602 and 604 to get 4 credits (at least 1 credit from each)

Training in the responsible conduct of research

  1. OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity, 1 credit, fall semester
  2. Collaborative Investigator Training Initiative: This is an online course that provides training in human subjects research. The course must be completed during the fall semester of the second year. Students should submit the “Certificate of Completion” before starting the spring semester of the second year. Use the following link to access the course:
    www.research.vcu.edu/irb/education.htm.
  3. Research Training. Org: This is an online course that provides training in animal subjects research. The course must be completed during the fall semester of the second year. Students should submit the “Certificate of Completion” before starting the spring semester of the second year. Use the following link to access the course:
    www.research.vcu.edu/iacuc/lata.htm.

A typical course plan for the full-time student is described below.

 

Credits
First fall semester
BIOC/MICR 503 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
5
BIOC 505 Experimental Biochemistry (laboratory rotation)
2
BIOC 690 Biochemistry Seminar
1
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (critical scientific thinking)
1
IBMS 600 Laboratory Safety
1
 
First spring semester
ANAT 691 Special Topics in Anatomy (scientific writing)
2
BIOC/MICR 504 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
5
BIOC 506 Experimental Biochemistry (laboratory rotation)
2
BIOC 602 Physical Properties of Macromolecules
1-4
Students will select modules from 602 and 604 to get four credits (at least one from each)
BIOC 690 Biochemistry Seminar
1
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (critical scientific thinking)
1
 
Second fall semester
BIOC 604 Enzymology
1-3
Students will select modules from 602 and 604 to get four credits (at least one from each)
BIOC 690 Biochemistry Seminar
1
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (student seminar)
1
BIOC 697 Directed Research in Biochemistry
variable
MICR 607 Techniques in Molecular Biology and Genetics
2
OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity
1
 
Second spring semester
BIOC 690 Biochemistry Seminar
1
BIOC 691 Special Topics in Biochemistry (student seminar)
1
BIOC 697 Directed Research in Biochemistry
variable

M.S. students register for BIOC 690 and BIOC 691 for the duration of their tenure in the program. The core set of courses can be supplemented with elective courses offered by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or other departments. Students are encouraged to take additional courses that relate to their personal projects. Electives may include courses in techniques in molecular biology and genetics, bioinformatics, statistics, immunology, microbiology, molecular genetics, mammalian physiology, and advanced organic and physical chemistry, among others.

Optional courses  
ANAT 615 Techniques in Neuroscience and Cell Biology
2
BIOC 601 Membranes and Lipids
3
BIOC 606 Biochemical Control Processes
3
HGEN 501/BIOL 530 Human Genetics
3
MICR 505 Immunobiology
3
MICR 605 Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics
3
MICR 653/BNFO 653 Advanced Molecular Genetics: Bioinformatics
3
PHTX 691 Special Topics in Pharmacology [research design analysis (A. Lichtman – statistics)]
2

 

 

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Last update: 9/11/2013

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