Master of Science (MS) Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Program Learning Outcomes for the MS Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Upon completing the MS degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a knowledge of past and current research accomplishments and techniques in biochemistry and cell biology.
  2. Demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  3. Demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills required to articulate scientific findings and significance via publications, seminars, and a thesis describing independent research.

Requirements for the MS Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Course Requirements

The MS degree is a thesis master’s degree. For general university requirements, please see Thesis Master’s Degrees. For additional requirements, regulations, and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students. Most of the formal course studies will be completed in the first year of residence to allow the students to commence thesis research at the end of their second semester at Rice. During the first year, the BCB Graduate Advisory Committee will advise all graduate students. This committee will determine the formal course program to be taken during the first year in residence. Students are required to have training in biochemistry and cell biology; training in genetics and physical chemistry or biophysics is also beneficial. Students lacking formal training in biochemistry or cell biology are required to take the equivalent background courses during their first year. 

The following Rice courses must be taken if students lack these prerequisites in their final undergraduate transcript:

BIOS 301BIOCHEMISTRY I3
BIOS 341CELL BIOLOGY3

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MS Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology30

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
BIOS 575INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH1
BIOS 581GRADUATE SEMINAR IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (required in all semesters of residency, fall semester)1 credit hour per year
BIOS 582GRADUATE SEMINAR IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (required in all semesters of residency, spring semester)1 credit hour per year
BIOS 583MOLECULAR INTERACTIONS 14
BIOS 587RESEARCH DESIGN, PROPOSAL WRITING, AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 13
BIOS 588CELLULAR INTERACTIONS 14
BIOS 599GRADUATE TEACHING IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (first semester, second year) 21
BIOS 599GRADUATE TEACHING IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (second semester, second year) 21
BIOS 701GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH I2-4
BIOS 702GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH II2-4
BIOS 800BIOCHEMISTRY & CELL BIOLOGY GRADUATE RESEARCH 31-15
UNIV 594RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH1
Elective Requirements
Select at least 6 credit hours from the set of 500-level advanced BIOS electives listed below (or select other coursework at the 500-level with departmental approval):6
PHYSICAL BIOLOGY
STEM CELL BIOLOGY
MOLECULAR BASIS OF DISEASES
MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
PLANT MOLECULAR GENETICS AND DEVELOPMENT
LAB MODULE IN NMR SPECTROSCOPY AND MOLECULAR MODELING
PRACTICAL X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY
ANALYSIS AND VISUALIZATION OF BIOLOGICAL DATA
DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROBIOLOGY
EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF MEDICINE
VIRUSES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
MOLECULAR BIOPHYSICS
STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY
CANCER BIOLOGY
COMPUTATION WITH BIOLOGICAL DATA
Thesis Requirement
Completion and public defense of a thesis
Additional Coursework as Approved by Department
Total Credit HoursMinimum of 30

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Evaluation of Progress in Graduate Study

The BCB Graduate Advising Committee evaluates each student's undergraduate record and recommends coursework based on the requirements. Thesis advisors may require additional courses.

At the end of each semester, the department chair, in consultation with the faculty, reviews student performance in the formal coursework. MS candidates must maintain a GPA ≥ 2.67, complete a thesis, and successfully complete a public oral defense of their research work to their Thesis Committee and other interested parties.  

Evaluation after the first year includes:

  • The research progress review examination held during the MS student’s second year replaces the admission to candidacy examination; no other preliminary examination is required before the final oral defense of the master’s thesis; satisfactory research progress will be indicated by a grade of "S" in BIOS 800 each semester.
  • Presentation of research progress at least once a year in seminar format (BIOS 581/BIOS 582) starting in the fourth semester and continuing until submission of the thesis.
  • Defense of the MS thesis research and text in a final public seminar presentation and oral examination attended by the student’s Thesis Committee.

Policies for the MS Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology 

Biochemistry and Cell Biology Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, Biochemistry and Cell Biology publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: https://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2021_22/Biochemistry_Cell_Biology_Graduate_Handbook.pdf

Admission

Applicants for graduate study in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Program must have:

  • BA or BS degree in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, or some equivalent
  • High levels of intellectual strength and motivation, as indicated by academic record, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and recommendations

Although the department offers an MS degree in biochemistry and cell biology, the department admits students who intend to pursue the PhD program. For general university requirements, see Graduate Degrees

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the MS degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology  should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director on an individual case-by-case basis. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the BioSciences website: https://biosciences.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the MS Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

All full-time Biochemistry and Cell Biology graduate students receive funding and full tuition waivers as specified in their offer letters.  Information about Student Resources, Attendance at Scientific Conferences, Internships, Graduate Students Awards, the Graduate Student Association, etc. can be found in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Graduate Program Handbook online at the department website: 
http://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2018_19/Biochemistry_Cell_Biology_Graduate_Handbook.pdf

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the BioSciences website: https://biosciences.rice.edu/