There are two degree options in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program. Read the sections below to learn more about your options.
Master of Science Degree
The MS degree may be earned in either of two ways, one (Plan I) requiring a thesis describing the results of a laboratory research project, and the other (Plan II) requiring a comprehensive examination. The majority of MS candidates enroll in the Plan II course work MS degree.
Plan I: Thesis Plan
A minimum of 36 quarter units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses in or related to biochemistry are required (24 must be graduate level). Preparation and presentation of a thesis that is acceptable to a committee of three faculty members is also required of every candidate for the degree. After a student selects a research advisor, he or she is responsible for approval of courses and a thesis research project, and for guidance on the drafting and completion of an acceptable thesis.
Plan II: Comprehensive Examination Plan
A minimum of 36 quarter units of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses in or related to biochemistry are required (18 must be graduate level). A faculty advisor is responsible, not only for the program of study, but also for guidance in preparation for the comprehensive examination in basic biochemistry. Upon the student's successful performance in the examination, the Program so advises the Dean of the Graduate Division and the MS degree is conferred. The normative time for an MS degree in Plan II is 3 quarters if all prerequisite courses have been completed as an undergraduate.
Admission Requirements for the Masters Degree can be found on the Admissions page.
Doctoral Degree (PhD)
The doctorate is awarded to candidates who display an in-depth understanding of their area of specialization in biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as the ability to make original contributions to the knowledge of that field, as evidenced by the candidate's Ph.D. dissertation. The degree is an affidavit of critical aptitude in scholarship, imaginative enterprise in research, and proficiency in oral and written communication.
The two key elements to a biochemistry graduate student's education at UCR are a personalized intellectual experience and the breadth of formal course work available to them. These are achieved through a close student-advisor relationship that begins after the student selects his/her dissertation advisor. Together, the student and the advisor plan how to attack a research problem and devise a coherent series of formal courses to supplement and complement their research experience.
Course requirements in the major consist of in-depth graduate level courses in physical biochemistry, enzymology, molecular biology, and biochemical regulation. In addition to these core courses, there is a unit requirement for course work in special interest areas of biochemistry. In recent years, the advanced offerings have included courses on computer analyses of nucleic acid and protein sequences; molecular evolution; effects of stress on plant metabolism; tutorial in the use of a SPEX spectrofluorometer; recombinant DNA techniques; DNA sequencing methods; biochemical transformations of inorganic metabolites and the mitochondrial genome. These advanced courses are taught by the faculty in their fields of research specialization and by distinguished visiting scientists.
Admission Requirements for the Doctoral Degree can be found on the Admissions page.