MA in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry

The MA in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry (MCBB) is designed to provide a solid foundation in these three and related interdisciplinary fields through coursework, seminars, and research. The program culminates with a thesis, which can be either research- or literature-based. Research-based theses are founded on original research performed in a faculty member’s laboratory. Literature-based theses comprise a comprehensive review of a defined scientific field, as supervised by a faculty member. The primary goal of the program is to propel students into successful research careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The program accepts post-bachelor’s applicants with degrees in related disciplines where the focus has been on biology, chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, or a relevant field.

Course Requirements

For details on requirements regarding grade point averages, annual reports, and responsible conduct in research, please see the MCBB Graduate Program Guide. The entire program is completed within two to three years. The 32 credits of coursework required for the MA are distributed as follows:

  • CAS BI 552: Molecular Biology I
  • GRS BI 553: Molecular Biology II
  • GRS BI 621: Biochemistry I
  • GRS BI 622: Biochemistry II
  • GRS BI 735: Advanced Cell Biology
  • CAS BI 583/584: Progress in Cell and Molecular Biology (the student is required to attend this seminar throughout his or her graduate career at Boston University, but may only count a total of 4 credits toward the degree.)
  • Minimum of 8 credits of elective courses and/or research credits, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Thesis/Review Paper

Master’s with a Research Thesis

For a research MA, a thesis describing the student’s original research is required, to be evaluated by and requiring approval from the MA committee. The MA committee for the research degree consists of at least three faculty, of whom at least two must be members of the MCBB program. No formal defense is required.

Master’s with a Scholarly Review Paper

For a non-research MA, a scholarly review paper covering a topic agreed upon with the student’s advisor is required. The paper is evaluated and requires approval from the student’s MA committee, consisting of at least three faculty, of whom at least two must be members of the MCBB program. Students normally enroll in GRS MB 701/702 as credit for scholarly thesis work.