MD/PhD in Biochemistry

General Program Information

MD/PhD candidates must fulfill the requirements for both the MD and the PhD degrees. Please consult with the Admissions office for Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) for information on how to apply to the MD/PhD program, as well as the curriculum for the MD component.

For the PhD component of the dual degree program, our PhD program is part of a program called the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS). This interdisciplinary, “umbrella” program incorporates didactic coursework and biomedical research to prepare our graduates for career advancement. Our Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS) and Professional Development & Mentoring curricula are integrated into this program. In addition to the didactic coursework, students rotate in a number of research laboratories, enabling the selection of a dissertation research laboratory. Students will join the program/department with which the mentor is affiliated and continue advanced studies toward candidacy.

The didactic coursework includes our FiBS core classes, which incorporate principles of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics. Accommodations are made for courses in the medical school curriculum that overlap with the content of courses in the PhD curriculum. Additional course material includes laboratory techniques, statistics, and advanced electives.

In addition to the biomedical science coursework mentioned above, our new Professional Development & Mentoring curriculum offers our graduate students opportunities to consider careers in a variety of sectors, including research and non-research careers in academia, biotechnology, government, or wherever they may choose to work after Boston University. Thanks to our NIH-funded award called BU’s BEST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training), students enjoy a rich curriculum of credit-bearing courses as well as workshops, shadowing experiences, and internships.

Our research relies on cutting-edge technologies and experimental systems to address the cellular and molecular mechanisms of biological processes, particularly those that relate broadly to human disease. Our research encompasses the areas of development, cell biology, genomics, neuroscience, metabolism, and proteomics/glycomics.

Financial Support

See the Dean’s scholarship website for details on the financial aid package available for MD/PhD students.

Qualifying Examinations

Candidates for the MD/PhD degrees must pass both a written qualifying examination and an oral qualifying examination.

Dissertation Advisory Committee and Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of qualifying exams, MD/PhD candidates present a research proposal to a five-member Dissertation Advisory Committee. The committee is assembled at least once annually to discuss the progress of the accepted proposal. Once the Dissertation Advisory Committee determines that the research work is complete, the student writes and defends the thesis.

Please return to our Department of Biochemistry website or contact Dr. Barbara Schreiber, Director of Graduate Studies, for additional information.