PhD in Biochemistry

General Program Information

including post-bachelor’s and post-master’s PhD

We’re pleased to announce the launching of a new interdisciplinary program called the Program in Biomedical Sciences (or PiBS for short) that will incorporate didactic coursework and biomedical research to prepare our graduates for career advancement. Our new Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS I) and Professional Development & Mentoring curricula will be integrated into this new program. In the first year, PhD students will participate in the FiBS I core curriculum while rotating in a number of research laboratories.

After selection of a dissertation research laboratory, students will join the program/department with which the mentor is affiliated and continue advanced studies towards candidacy. As students progress through the program, they will have access to the Professional Development & Mentorship curriculum, which is dedicated to developing professional skills to assure that our graduates are prepared for successful careers in academia, industry, local or federal government, or wherever they may choose to work after Boston University.

Course Requirements

for students entering the Department of Biochemistry through the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS)

  • GMS FC 701, FC 702, FC 703, FC 704, FC 706 (Foundations in Biomedical Sciences Modules I, II, III, IV, and V)
  • GMS BI 854 Biochemistry Seminar
  • GMS BI 777 Techniques in Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology
  • GMS MS 700 or GMS MS 570 Biostatistics
  • Advanced electives
  • Research credits

(See the course descriptions for more details.)

Note: Course requirements for post-MA PhD candidates are identical to those required for the PhD candidates except for the number of research credits.

Qualifying Examinations

Candidates for the PhD degree must pass both a written qualifying examination and an oral qualifying examination.

Thesis Advisory Committee and Thesis Defense

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


Apply for this program online.

Students who have completed an undergraduate degree—usually with a major in biochemistry, biology, or chemistry—and have taken courses in general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and calculus may apply for either an MA or a PhD in Biochemistry. Some coursework in biochemistry is also recommended. Students who have completed an MA degree in Biochemistry or a closely related field can apply for a post-MA PhD program. MD/PhD students are also eligible for admission.

A part-time MA program is available to qualified applicants who are employees in laboratories of faculty within the Department of Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine (contact the Director of Graduate Studies for further information). A student currently enrolled in an MA program in the Department of Biochemistry may apply for the PhD program if he/she has completed 12 or more graduate credits (including GMS FC 701-6 and GMS BI 777) and has obtained a GPA of 3.25 or better. In addition, the student must have taken and successfully passed the Written Qualifying Examination in the Department of Biochemistry.

The deadline for submission of applications and supportive credentials for admission for the Fall Semester is January 1. Late applications will be considered with prior approval of the department chair or program director. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for additional information.

Financial Support

Financial assistance in the form of tuition and health benefits, as well as a living stipend, is available to students in good standing in the PhD program.