2022–2023 Bulletin Addendum PhD in Biochemistry/Program in Biomedical Sciences

This Addendum entry reflects the following change to an existing degree program:

  • Updated course requirements 

Effective date: January 2023

General Program Information

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 biomedical science and professional development curricula are integrated into this program. During the first year in the PiBS program, students take classes and rotate in a number of research laboratories, the latter enabling the selection of a dissertation research laboratory. Students then join the program/department with which the mentor is affiliated and continue advanced studies towards candidacy.

The didactic coursework includes our Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FBS) that incorporates principles of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics. Additional course material includes laboratory techniques, statistics, and advanced electives.

In addition to the biomedical science coursework mentioned above, we offer our graduate students a host of professional development opportunities (BU’s BEST, GMS Professional Life, and PhD Professional Development Opportunities). These include credit-bearing courses as well as professional development workshops, panel discussions, site visits, and internships to enable students to consider and prepare for careers in a variety of sectors, including research and nonresearch careers in academia, industry, government, communications, law/compliance, or wherever they may choose to work.

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 cell biologydevelopment, genomics/genetics, metabolismneuroscience, and proteomics & glycomics.

Students applying for acceptance into the PhD program should apply directly to PiBS. More information about the program and the application process can be found on our PiBS website.

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

Learning Outcomes

Doctoral programs in Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine are designed to train scholars to be leaders in their respective fields of biomedical research. Trainees learn professional and scientific skills necessary to benefit society, becoming fluent in their areas of specialization and developing competencies that provide the foundation for lifelong learning and practice in their chosen field. The program objectives are delineated below.

By graduation, a Biochemistry/PiBS PhD student will:

  • Generate an original body of work in the biomedical sciences that reflects critical thinking and independent thought.
  • Demonstrate competencies in advanced research skills and critical thinking.
  • Develop the ability to communicate both through writing and orally within their chosen fields of expertise.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development and continued learning in their chosen field.

Financial Support

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

Course Requirements

  • GMS BI 777 Techniques in Biomedical Research
  • GMS FC 708 Professional Development Skills
  • GMS FC 711, FC 712, FC 713, FC 714 (Foundations in Biomedical Sciences Modules I, II, III, and IV)
  • GMS FC 762 Critical Thinking in Biomedical Research
  • GMS FC 764 Professional Skills
  • Biostatistics
  • Advanced electives
  • Research credits

Qualifying Examinations

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

Dissertation Advisory Committee and Dissertation Defense

PhD candidates present a research proposal to a five-member Dissertation Advisory Committee. The committee is assembled at least once every nine months to discuss the progress of the accepted proposal. Once the committee determines that the research work is complete, the student writes and defends the dissertation.


Apply to the PiBS program online.

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