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Graduate Course Catalog 2016-2017

Graduate School


Biochemistry (BCHM)


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This program is offered in Durham.


Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

The Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences offers a five-year B.S./M.S., a master of science, and a doctor of philosophy degree in biochemistry. Research opportunities are available in the general areas of molecular biology, cellular biology, and biochemistry, with specific research programs in eukaryotic gene regulation; reproductive physiology; molecular population genetics; macromolecular interactions; cell signaling pathways in cancer and leukemia; evolution of eukaryotic genomes; glycobiology; protein kinases and phosphatases in plant signaling; structure/function relationships in macromolecules, proteomics, and epigenomics; DNA repair mechanisms; etiology of vascular disease; and sensory transduction. Opportunities also exist for interdisciplinary research in marine biochemistry, biochemical nutrition, and cell biology in adjunct facilities on campus.

Admission Requirements

An applicant is expected to have completed basic courses in chemistry, biological sciences, mathematics, and physics. Otherwise well-qualified applicants will be permitted to correct deficiencies in undergraduate education by enrollment in the appropriate courses or by independent study during the first year. Applicants must submit current scores (within five years) from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must also provide TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores.

Degree Requirements


M.S. Degree Requirements

A student will meet the Graduate School's requirements for the master's degree (minimum 30 credits) and will be expected to develop a 6-10 credit thesis (BCHM 899) on a basic research problem or to prepare a report or publication based on original research in biochemistry or molecular biology. Demonstration of proficiency in physical chemistry and biochemistry will be assessed in the first year. A guidance committee meeting will be held soon after a thesis adviser is identified. All candidates for the M.S. degree will be required to pass an oral examination based on the thesis or project report and on the graduate courses completed in the degree program.

B.S./M.S. Degree Requirements

This accelerated five-year program leading to a combined bachelor's degree and master's degree in biochemistry is designed for highly motivated and qualified undergraduate UNH students seeking additional training to further their career goals as researchers in the life sciences. Admission to the combined degree program is highly competitive. Students wishing to pursue this program must have a grade point average greater than 3.2 at the time of application. A thesis adviser must be identified during the junior year, and the approval of the adviser must be obtained. Prior to the first semester of the senior year, the student must formally apply to the department through the Graduate School and receive early admission. The requirement for the Graduate Record Examination is waived for combined degree applicants. Thirty credits of graduate level (800-999) coursework (including dual-credit courses) must be completed. Six to 8 credits of graduate-level courses must be taken during the senior year and are applied to both the B.S. and M.S. requirements. All other requirements for the M.S. degree must be followed.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in biochemistry requires the completion of significant, original independent research and preparation of a thesis for submission to the Graduate School. 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.

Credits: Graduate credits are earned for courses numbered 800-999. A minimum of two semesters of Doctoral Research (BCHM 999) is required. Most Ph.D. candidates enroll in BCHM 851-852 during their first year of study, unless the diagnostic examinations indicate sufficient undergraduate preparation in general biochemistry.

Guidance Committee: During the second semester and after selecting a thesis adviser and a potential project, the student, in conjunction with the adviser, will choose a guidance committee. This committee consists of five faculty members: the adviser (as chairperson), two other members of the biochemistry faculty, and up to two faculty members from outside departments. However, only three members of the guidance committee are required for the second-year exam. The committee will meet 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. The guidance committee will meet each semester thereafter to assess the student's academic and research progress. The Supervisory Committee Nomination Form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the first year.

Doctoral Committee: The doctoral committee is composed of the faculty adviser (as chairperson), two other faculty members in the graduate program in biochemistry, and two faculty members from other departments. In most cases, the guidance committee will constitute the doctoral committee. The doctoral committee evaluates the dissertation and administers the final examination. The doctoral committee will meet annually to assess the progress toward completion of the Ph.D. requirements.

Written Thesis: 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 University Microfilms is required. All costs associated with the preparation and publication of the thesis are the responsibility of the student.

Candidacy: Candidacy is reached following 1) written and oral defense of research proposal during spring of second year and 2) written and oral qualifying/proposal examination. Further details can be found at

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. The final examination must be completed by the date listed in the Graduate School calendar.


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 Ph.D. student.