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Master of Science in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics

New advances in our understanding of biological function can be expected from a synthesis of molecular genetics, biochemistry, and insights gained from molecular structural information. Individuals with a quantitative, physical approach will be best placed to be innovators in the field. Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics programs complement more traditional graduate programs in biology, chemistry and physics by offering an integrated, molecular-based approach to understanding biological problems, taking insights from all three disciplines.

A major focus of the program is on biophysical approaches to determining the structure of macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies. Faculty advisers are chosen from any of the participating departmental faculty regardless of their affiliation to a particular discipline; a particular strength of the participating faculty is structural studies. Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics students will have access to state-of-the-art x-ray facilities at the nearby Advanced Photon Source, currently one of the most intense x-ray sources in the world.

Program Requirements 


Along with the required coursework listed below, students will be required to complete a comprehensive exam. Students also must complete a thesis or a library research project.

Thesis Option

The thesis option is designed for individuals planning careers as experimental biologists, including those who may wish to pursue a Ph.D. This option is available on a competitive basis. Students choosing the thesis option must complete six credit hours of thesis research. Students must also prepare a written thesis based on laboratory research.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option is intended as a degree to meet the needs of teachers, science administrators, policy makers in the life sciences, patent attorneys and others. Students who elect the non-thesis option must complete a library research project in BIOL 572, Literature in Biochemistry.

Required Courses (22 hours):

BIOL 445 Cell Biology or BIOL 544 Molecular Biology of Cells
BIOL 504 Biochemistry Lectures
BIOL 512 Advanced Biochemistry Lectures
BIOL 515 Molecular Biology
BIOL 519 Biochemistry Laboratory or BIOL 533 Laboratory in Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 555 Macromolecular Structure Determination
PHYS 410 Biophysics

Additional Requirements (7 hours):

BIOL 595 Biology Colloquium
BIOL 591 Researchor Chem 591 Researchor BIOL 572 Literature in Biochemistry and one additional elective; orBIOL 522 Research Techniques in Biological Sciences and BIOL 597 Special Projects

Elective Courses (3 hours):

BIOL 410 Medical Microbiology
BIOL 426 Cancer Biology
BIOL 430 Animal Physiology
BIOL 503 Virology
BIOL 514 Toxicology
BIOL 520 Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory
BIOL 526 Developmental Biology
BIOL 527 Immunology and Immunochemistry
BIOL 539 Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory
BIOL 542 Advanced Microbiology
BIOL 545 Advanced Cell Biology
BIOL 550 Bioinformatics
BIOL 562 Functional Genomics
BIOL 580 Rotation in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics


The elective is chosen in consultation with an academic advisor. Research for the dissertation must be carried out under the direct supervision of a participating faculty member; the faculty research adviser also acts as the candidate's academic adviser.