Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

We developed our high-caliber program of research and research-based education in molecular medicine in order to: promote understanding and amelioration of the disease process, train students with high academic potential in the health sciences and serve the university and scientific community.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry. Additionally, the department considers applications for the M.D., Ph.D. combined degree program.

The primary objective of the Ph.D. 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 programs, 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 Ph.D. 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.

The following information applies to all students irrespective of their program enrollment who have not completed all required courses (except Ph.D. research). For Ph.D. students, this includes passing all four (4) required advanced biochemistry courses with a grade of B or better.

  1. Before registering for courses, students are required to consult with their GSC advisor, or member of the GSC committee. Both the student and the GSC member should agree on a schedule of courses for year I and subsequent years. Either the student or the GSC may initiate a recommendation to change the course schedule. Any changes must be written and signed by the student and the GSC member. Failure to obtain written approval for the course schedule from a member of the GSC committee will result in a negative evaluation in the student’s file. This negative evaluation will be taken into account when the GSC makes recommendations for the student to receive financial aid or other matters.
  2. If a student receives a grade of C in General Biochemistry and the Biochemistry Laboratory course, or a D in either course, the student is not eligible to continue in the program. Students receiving a C in General Biochemistry may repeat the course if the grade in the Biochemistry Laboratory is a B or better. Students who are eligible to repeat the Biochemistry course cannot take any advanced courses in the Biochemistry curriculum until the deficiency is corrected.
  3. Some teaching and other departmental duties are considered to be a part of the graduate education, and will be required of all students regardless of source of support. Only those Biochemistry/Molecular Biology courses (course number prefix BlOC) in which a grade of B or better is earned may be counted as credit for a degree. All students should be aware of the rules and regulations concerning course grades which are described in the handbook issued by the Graduate School, entitled "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees." The Student Grievance Procedure (Student’s Privileges): The student should follow the procedure outlined in APPENDIX-I to address a disagreement on an academic matter subject to the control of the department. All graduate students in the CoM will also be subject to the rules & regulations (student policies, guidelines/handbook) of the CoM in addition to those of the Graduate School and individual departments.
  4. Students should refer to the course descriptions that are located in APPENDIX II. 
Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
2400 Sixth Street NW,
Washington, D.C. 20059

Related Resources

Matthew George, Jr.

Department Chair


Zaki Sherif

Director of Graduate Studies

Program Contact

Angela Wilson

Administrative Coordinator