Degrees & Service Courses

PhD Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The primary objective of the PhD program is to prepare candidates for research and teaching careers. The first few semesters are devoted primarily to core course work designed to give the student a broad background in the fundamental theories and techniques of biochemistry. During this time, the student gains exposure to methods for the solution of research problems by working in the laboratories of various faculty members. During the remaining part of the program, students become increasingly involved in laboratory research and in the critical analysis of biochemical literature. Emphasis is placed on giving candidates rigorous standards of scholarship and critical attitudes toward the solution of research problems.

A broad range of research interests exists within the department. An active seminar program conducted by visiting scientists gives students and faculty opportunities to broaden their outlook on current scientific problems. Candidates for the PhD degree must obtain the equivalent of 72 semester hours of credit with a grade point average of 3.0 or better, pass qualifying examinations, and complete and defend a dissertation. The dissertation must advance knowledge in its research area and must be of publishable quality.

Admission Requirements

In order for a student to be admitted to a graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, he or she must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. The student must have earned a BS or BA degree, and have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better in science courses which have been completed.
  2. The following undergraduate courses must have been completed (*These courses may be taken during the first semester of residence in the department):
    • General Chemistry -- 1 year
    • Organic Chemistry -- 1 year
    • Elementary Physical Chemistry -- 1 semester
    • Calculus -- 1 semester
    • Physics -- 1 year
    • Biology -- 1 year
  3. All Applicants must demonstrate a proficiency in the use of the English language.
  4. Three letters of recommendation must be submitted, preferably by individuals who can specifically evaluate the scientific ability of the student. 
  5. Transcripts indicating all undergraduate and graduate courses completed must also be submitted.

Course Requirements

A student does not have to earn an MS Degree before being admitted to the PhD degree program of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. If a student wishes to earn the PhD degree, the student should indicate this on his or her application for admission to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. If the Admissions Committee of the department determines that the student's academic preparation qualifies him or her for the PhD program, then the student will be admitted to the PhD program.

The required courses include an advanced chemistry course and biostatistics, as well as biochemistry courses and dissertation research. Each student is expected to select a mentor for this research, as well as a faculty committee that will meet with the student to evaluate his/her progress at least twice a year.

MS in Biotechnology

This program prepares students for biomedical industrial careers. The curriculum emphasizes development of technical skills, does not require a thesis, and features an industrial externship. Candidates for the MS (biotechnology) degree must obtain 30 semester hours of credit with an average of 3.0 (B) or better.

Admission Requirements

The requirements are the same as those for the PhD degree.

Course requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours of courses must be completed in order for a student to earn an M.S. degree. The courses include 6-10 credit hours of directed research on campus, and an industrial externship to be completed in the student' s last semester in residence.


The BS/MS program will be implemented in the near future in conjunction with the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences.


The Department also participates in the MD/PhD program administered jointly by the College of Medicine and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  The applicant must request admission to both programs separately and simultaneously.

Special Programs

Summer Directed Study Program for Medical Students and Dental Students

This summer course is offered to currently enrolled medical and dental students who need to remove a deficiency.

Preliminary Academic Reinforcement Program for Medical Students

Offered by invitation to selected applicants to Howard University College of Medicine.

Biochemistry for Medical Students

The Medical Curriculum is integrated, and is divided into Units.  The first year, when most biochemical content appears, has three units:  Molecules and Cells, Structure and Function, and Medicine and Society.

Biochemistry for Dental Students

Nandedkar, Arvind, Ph.D. is the coordinator for Dental Biochemistry (MBIO170-07; CRN 85029).