Graduate Student Matriculation


During the first year after entry into the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program, students begin to organize their research proposals with the help of their permanent advisors. At the end of this year, each student prepares a written proposal outlining their dissertation research plans. The preliminary examination for the Ph.D. degree includes approval of the written dissertation proposal by the student’s faculty advisory committee, followed by an oral defense of the proposal before the advisory committee.

Advancement to Candidacy

The second, third, and fourth years are devoted mostly to research related to the student’s dissertation problem. The student is usually advanced to candidacy in the third year. In the final year, the dissertation is written and defended in a departmental seminar. This constitutes the final oral examination for the Ph.D. degree. The completion of the program usually requires five years, including the first year in the Graduate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences. The minimum residence requirement is three years.
Elective Courses

Additional Elective Options

Students may choose to take additional courses outside the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department. Each of the five graduate programs in the School of Medicine offers a wide variety of graduate courses in, for example, virology, signal transduction, pharmacology and a hands-on course in microsopy. Additionally, through a local university exchange program, students may also enroll in courses offered at nearby Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Thus advanced courses are accessible to students in virtually any specialty area in the biomedical sciences that might interest them.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology