Biochemistry (Ph.D.)

Biochemistry (Ph.D.)

Graduate student working in lab.

Why pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry at UNH?

Our biochemistry Ph.D. program will help you gain the skills you need to pursue advanced career opportunities in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, research labs and academia. The program combines a rigorous curriculum in biochemistry and related disciplines with interdisciplinary research opportunities at the frontiers of biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation in our research laboratories, becoming familiar with our facilities through lab rotations early in the program. You’ll enjoy weekly graduate student seminar presentations, as well as a departmental seminar series of invited speakers.

Program highlights

Our biochemistry program emphasizes interdisciplinary research training. You’ll be able to pursue advanced coursework in areas including signal transduction pathways, pharmacology, physical biochemistry, proteomics, endocrinology, structural biology, bioinformatics and cancer biology. Research opportunities include work in tumor cell biology; protein structure, function, and regulation; signal transduction pathways; molecular neurobiology; genomics and bioinformatics; and proteomics and glycomics.

Potential career areas

  • College or university faculty
  • Scientist and Rresearch director, biotechnology industry
  • Scientist and Rresearch director, pharmaceutical industry
  • Principle investigator, academia and government agencies

Contact

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
Rudman Hall
46 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
603-862-4095
mcbs.dept@unh.edu

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Curriculum & Requirements

The Ph.D. in Biochemistry combines a rigorous curriculum in biochemistry and related disciplines with interdisciplinary research opportunities at the frontiers of biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. Graduates of the program are equipped for leadership positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic and government research laboratories, and successful careers in teaching and research at the college and university level.


Distinctive Features of the Program

  • Advanced course offerings include signal transduction pathways, pharmacology, physical biochemistry, proteomics, endocrinology, structural biology, bioinformatics, and cancer biology
  • Emphasis on interdisciplinary research training
  • Well-equipped research laboratories and core facilities on the UNH campus
  • Laboratory rotations upon entry to the program to become familiar with different research laboratories
  • Weekly graduate student seminar presentations, as well as a departmental seminar series of invited speakers
  • Opportunities to gain teaching experiences as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Research Opportunities

  • Tumor cell biology
  • Protein structure, function, and regulation
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Molecular neurobiology
  • Genomics and bioinformatics
  • Proteomics and glycomics

Financial Support

  • Students admitted to the Ph.D. Program are typically supported by Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships
  • Internal summer and academic year fellowships are available to students on a competitive basis.

Career Prospects

  • Research directors in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
  • Principle investigators of academic research labs and research institutes, state and federal government agencies
  • Academic preparation for future teaching roles in a college or university environment

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of foundational courses in biology, chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics, and mathematics
    • Otherwise well-qualified applicants can correct academic deficiencies with enrollment in appropriate courses or independent study during the first year of graduate studies
  • Applicants from non-English speaking countries must provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores
  • International applicants living outside the U.S.A. should first complete a free online pre-application, which can be found on the Graduate School's website.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement, including research interests and two or three potential Biochemistry faculty thesis advisors.

Ph.D. Requirements

The Ph.D. in biochemistry requires the completion of significant, original independent research and preparation of a dissertation for submission to the Graduate School. A minimum of two semesters of Doctoral Research (MCBS 999) is required. Graduate credits are earned for courses numbered 800-999. In most cases, it is expected that the Ph.D. degree will be completed within four to six years of admission to the graduate program. Demonstration of proficiency in physical chemistry and biochemistry will be assessed in the first year by examination or coursework.

Guidance Committee: During the first semester, the Graduate Program Coordinator will assist the student in choosing courses. Following selection of the thesis advisor, the student and the advisor jointly agree on the members of the Guidance Committee, and communicate this recommendation to the Biochemistry Graduate Program Coordinator. The Doctoral Guidance Committee Nomination Form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the first year. The Guidance Committee consists of five faculty members: the advisor (as chairperson), two other members of the biochemistry graduate faculty, and up to two faculty members from other graduate programs. However, only three members of the guidance committee are required for the second-year exam. The committee meets soon after selection of a thesis project to determine the student's curriculum. Courses required by the guidance committee must be taken for credit and completed with a passing grade (at least a B-­). Courses recommended by the committee may be audited or taken for credit, but in either case, the student is expected to be familiar with the subject matter of these courses. It is recommended that the Guidance Committee meet each semester thereafter to assess the student's academic and research progress.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee: The Doctoral Committee is composed of the faculty advisor (as chairperson), two other faculty members in the graduate program in biochemistry, and up to two faculty members from other graduate programs. In most cases, the Guidance Committee constitutes the Doctoral Committee. The Doctoral Committee evaluates the dissertation and administers the final examination. The Doctoral Committee meets annually to assess the progress toward completion of the Ph.D. requirements.

Candidacy: After all coursework is completed, a doctoral student should advance to candidacy. Candidacy is reached after passing:

  1. Qualifying Exam – Part 1
    The student will prepare and defend a written research proposal on a topic that is outside the thesis topic and approved by the Guidance Committee. To pass Part 1 of Qualifying Exam, the student is expected to demonstrate both the ability to write a coherent proposal and broad knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology that extends beyond the research project.
  2. Qualifying Exam – Part 2
    The student will submit to the Guidance Committee a written description of the thesis problem, summary of research progress to date, and outline of research goals yet to be attained. To pass Part 2 of Qualifying Exam, the student is expected to demonstrate ability to plan and conduct research, to think critically and creatively about questions in the student's area of interest, and to be aware of current and recent research literature in these areas.

Further details can be found at https://colsa.unh.edu/molecular-cellular-biomedical-sciences/diagnostic-exams-phd-qualifying-exams.

Dissertation: The student is required to prepare a written doctoral dissertation for submission to the Doctoral Committee. The dissertation must represent significant and original research written in a clear, comprehensible style. A copy of the complete thesis must be made available to the committee at least two weeks before the date of the final examination. Publication of the dissertation by ProQuest is required.

Final Defense: An oral examination of the doctoral dissertation consists of two parts: an oral presentation of the research that is open to the public, and an oral defense of the dissertation conducted by the doctoral committee. Final approval of the doctoral dissertation will be determined by a majority vote of the doctoral committee.

Teaching Requirement: Teaching assignments in the laboratory, in lectures, or in an individual instruction format are an essential part of the graduate academic programs of the department and are designed to give graduate students practical teaching experience. Normally, one year of part-time teaching will be required of each doctoral student.

All MCBS graduates will be able to:

  • Critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in their primary area of study.
  • Pursue research of significance in the discipline (or an interdisciplinary or creative project). Students plan and conduct this research (or implement their project) under the guidance of an advisor, while developing intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship.
  • Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication sufficient to present and publish work in their field, and to prepare grant proposals.
  • Follow the principles of ethics in their field, and in academia.
  • Demonstrate, through service, the value of their discipline to the academy and community at large.
  • Demonstrate a mastery of skills and knowledge at a level required for college and university undergraduate teaching in their discipline and assessment of student learning.
  • Interact productively with individuals from diverse backgrounds in the roles of team members, leaders and mentors with integrity and professionalism.

Graduates of the Biochemistry Ph.D. degree program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate extensive knowledge and understanding of fundamental biochemistry principles and their area of specialization in the field.
  • Critically apply theories and methodologies to address fundamental questions in biochemistry through research activities.
  • Design and conduct biochemical experiments in their area of specialization, analyze and interpret research data, and draw critical conclusions.
  • Communicate biochemical concepts and experimental results effectively in writing and orally both in scientific technical language as well as at an appropriate level tailored for the general audience.

Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: 1/15 (priority consideration) and 3/1 (final deadline)
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement that includes the following: 1) the reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives, 2) your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field, and 3) a review of MCBS graduate program faculty research descriptions and the identification by name of two or three potential mentors for your graduate studies.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Additional Department Requirements

Please note the GRE is no longer required.  No GRE score is needed to apply.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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