Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

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

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

  1. Develop a comprehensive knowledge of current and past research accomplishments and techniques in biochemistry and cell biology.
  2. Demonstrate independent problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  3. Demonstrate the effective written communication skills required for a thesis describing independent research and contributions to successful funding proposals and published research.
  4. Demonstrate the effective oral and visual communication skills necessary for articulating scientific findings and significance to diverse audiences.

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

For general university requirements, please see Doctoral Degrees. Students pursuing the PhD Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology must complete the requirements as listed below. 

Course Requirements

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: 

BIOC 301BIOCHEMISTRY I3
BIOC 341CELL BIOLOGY3

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the PhD Degree in the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology90

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
BIOC 575INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH1
BIOC 581GRADUATE SEMINAR IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (required in all fall semesters of residency)1 credit hour per year
BIOC 582GRADUATE SEMINAR IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (required in all spring semesters of residency)1 credit hour per year
BIOC 583MOLECULAR INTERACTIONS 14
BIOC 587RESEARCH DESIGN, PROPOSAL WRITING, AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 13
BIOC 588CELLULAR INTERACTIONS 14
BIOC 599GRADUATE TEACHING IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (first semester, second year ) 2Minimum of 1 credit hour
BIOC 599GRADUATE TEACHING IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (second semester, second year) 2Minimum of 1 credit hour
BIOC 701GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH I (first year research course, fall semester)2
BIOC 701GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH I (first year research course, spring semester)2
BIOC 702GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH II (first year research course, fall semester)2
BIOC 702GRADUATE LAB RESEARCH II (first year research course, spring semester)2
BIOC 800BIOCHEMISTRY & CELL BIOLOGY GRADUATE RESEARCH (second year research and beyond) 31-15
UNIV 594RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH1
Elective Requirements
Select at least 6 credit hours from the set of 500-level advanced BIOC electives listed below:6
EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX
MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY
PLANT MOLECULAR GENETICS AND DEVELOPMENT
LAB MODULE IN NMR SPECTROSCOPY AND MOLECULAR MODELING
PRACTICAL X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY
METABOLIC ENGINEERING
ADVANCED CONCEPTS AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS IN MODERN DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
ADVANCED MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF MEDICINE
VIRUSES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
MOLECULAR BIOPHYSICS
STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY
COMPUTATIONAL SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
CANCER BIOLOGY
COMPUTATION WITH BIOLOGICAL DATA
BIOINFORMATICS: SEQUENCE ANALYSIS
BIOINFORMATICS: NETWORK ANALYSIS
PROTEIN ENGINEERING
Additional Coursework as Approved by Department
Total Credit Hours Minimum of 90

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Evaluation of Progress in Graduate Study

The BCB Graduate Advising Committee evaluates each student's undergraduate record and recommends course work 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 course work. Students must maintain at least a B average (GPA ≥ 3.0), perform satisfactorily in BIOC 701/BIOC 702, and demonstrate outstanding motivation and potential for research. Thesis lab assignments are made based on student and faculty preferences following research rotations.

Evaluation after the first year includes:

  • Ongoing review of research progress by the thesis advisor; satisfactory research progress will be indicated by a grade of "S" in BIOC 800 each semester.

  • A yearly research progress assessment by the student’s Research Progress Review Committee.

  • Presentation of research progress at least once a year in seminar format (BIOC 581/BIOC 582) starting in the fourth semester and continuing until submission of the MA thesis.

  • Completion of a written and oral admission to candidacy examination before the start of the fifth semester.

  • Defense of the PhD thesis research and text in a final public seminar presentation and oral examination attended by the student’s Thesis Committee.

Policies for the PhD 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: http://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2017_18/Biochemistry_Cell_Biology_Graduate_Handbook.pdf.

Admission

Applicants for graduate study in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology 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 MA degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, the department admits students who intend to pursue the PhD program. For general university requirements, see Graduate Degrees

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

Opportunities for the PhD 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/2017_18/Biochemistry_Cell%20Biology_Graduate_Handbook.pdf

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