Information for Current Students
On this page current BCMB graduate students can find information on degree and campus resources, important forms and documents, and UCR research facilities.
Ph.D. Degree Information
Selection of the Research Advisor
First-year students who haven't already agreed to work with a specific advisor spend two five-week rotations in the laboratory of each research advisor with vacancies for graduate students. These lab rotations provide an opportunity for the student to become acquainted with various research projects in the department, as well as with the personality and teaching philosophy of each individual laboratory. A description of the research programs of the faculty members and cooperating faculty members who participate in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is available on their personal websites. First-year students submit selections of their choices for research advisor to the Graduate Advisor at the end of the second quarter; the Graduate Advisor formulates proposed assignments on the basis of available openings, with the students' first choices receiving the highest priority. The entire faculty approves these assignments.
The Research Advisory Committee
After selecting a research advisor, each student then proposes two additional faculty members who are knowledgeable in the area of the student's thesis project. These two faculty members, together with the research advisor, constitute the student's permanent advisory committee, which usually becomes the dissertation committee when the student is advanced to candidacy. The Research Advisory Committee meets formally on an annual basis to review the student's progress and to offer research advice.
Service as a Teaching Assistant
Every Ph.D. candidate serves a minimum of two quarters as a teaching assistant in general biochemistry lectures and laboratory courses. This service is usually completed during the second or third year in the Ph.D. program. All graduate students newly assigned as Teaching Assistants are required to receive training for this position; this training is administered by the Graduate Division's Teaching Assistant Development Program on the Graduate Program's behalf. Each year an outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is identified and receives the Walton B. Sinclair award (with monetary honorarium).
At the end of the second year of instruction, students take a written comprehensive examination, which covers all areas of basic biochemistry. The written exam is followed in the Fall Quarter by an oral examination, which focuses on the student's area of research. The oral qualifying committee is composed of five faculty members, four from within the Graduate Program and one member from an area of the student's interests outside the Program.
The ability to conduct independent investigation is demonstrated by completion of a dissertation in the principal field of study. The student's dissertation committee approves the subject of investigation, reviews the research progress annually and advises the student in the research and writing. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are required to defend the thesis research orally before the members of their dissertation committee and to present a general seminar on their research to the Biochemistry Department. Members of the dissertation committee and the Dean of the Graduate Division must approve the completed dissertation before the final degree is awarded.
UCR Research Facilities
Students enrolled in UCR’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program have access to extremely well-equipped facilities for their research. The Biochemistry Department is located in Boyce Hall, a five-story research building, with additional facilities on other parts of the campus. Boyce Hall is centrally located with respect to other science departments. Because UCR maintains a high-powered research environment, but is intermediate in size, most special facilities may be utilized directly by graduate students after a brief training session. Thus, graduate students at UCR have an extra opportunity to get hands-on experience in many advanced techniques.
Standard equipment (e.g. refrigerated centrifuges, spectrophotometers, pH meters, balances, etc.) is available in each faculty laboratory. Five walk-in cold rooms at 4°C, a complete vivarium, plant growth chambers, and an X-Ray synchrotron, among other specialized facilities, are available within the Department of Biochemistry. Additionally, college-wide facilities for analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, plant cell biology, advanced microscopy and microanalysis, genomics, microscopy and imaging, plant transformation, and proteomics can be accessed by graduate students with permission from their respective departments. To learn more about each facility and gaining access to their equipment visit their pages at the links below:
- Analytical Chemistry Instrumentation Facility
- Bioinformatics Core Facility
- Center for Plant Cell Biology Core Facilities
- Central Facility for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis
- Genomics Core Instrumentation Facility
- Microscopy and Imaging Core Facility
- Plant Transformation Core Facility
- Proteomics Core Facility