Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between MCBB and a Biology or Chemistry Program?

The biggest difference is that the MCBB Program is interdisciplinary. This means that we have faculty from the Health Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Biomedical Engineering Programs. You have a broader range of research opportunities to choose from for your degree.

What kind of Undergraduate degree do I need?

You do not need a specific degree, but you do need to have a strong background in organic and inorganic chemistry, cell biology and/or genetics, physics, and calculus.

Do I need a MA degree?

A Master’s Degree is not needed to apply to our MCBB Program. The majority of our students come directly after completing their Bachelor’s Degree. Students that apply with a Master’s Degree will have slightly different requirements. Please see the PhD requirements page.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D.?

A PhD is a serious commitment. The national average to earn a Ph.D. is seven years, but the BU MCBB average is closer to five and a half.

How many classes do I need?

You will need a total of 8 classes for a total of 32 credits. The required courses are:

  1. BI 552 Molecular Biology I (4 cr)
  2. BI 753 Advanced Molecular Biology (4 cr)
  3. MB 721 Graduate Biochemistry or BI 621 Biochemistry I (4 cr)
  4. MB 722 Advanced Biochemistry or BI 622 Biochemistry II (4 cr)
  5. BI 583/584 Progress in Cell & Molecular Biology (2 cr/2cr)
  6. BI 735 Advanced Cell Biology (4 cr)
  7. Elective
  8. Elective

Will I be required to teach?

Teaching is an important skill and essential for any professional scientist, therefore we have a one-year teaching requirement. Some students teach their first year, some their second, and others teach later.

Do you offer financial aid?

Yes, students are offered financial aid which is guaranteed for 5 years, and often extends beyond that if needed. Financial aid includes tuition, a stipend, and health insurance.

Can I take classes part time?

It is possible to take classes part time if you are in the Master’s Program or if want to take a class or two before officially enrolling in the MCBB Program. We do not offer evening courses, so if you have a full time job and are interested in taking one or two courses, this is not a good fit for you. The MCBB PhD Program is a full time program.

How many classes can be transferred in for graduate credits?

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) will allow for 8 credits (2 classes) to be transferred in to a GRS Program. In order for these classes to be considered for transfer credit, they must be at the graduate level; they also must not have been used towards any prior degrees. The MCBB program committee evaluates all transfer credits.

How do I find housing?

While BU does offer some on campus housing, many students use outside sources (such as realtors) and live off campus. For more information, please click here.