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 (medical school curriculum).

For the PhD component of the dual degree program, our PhD program is part of an interdisciplinary, “umbrella” program called the Program in Biomedical Sciences (or PiBS for short) that incorporates didactic coursework and biomedical research to prepare our graduates for career advancement. Our Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS) and Professional Development & Mentoring curriculum have been integrated into this new 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. More information about the program and the application process can be found on our Department of Biochemistry website.

The didactic coursework includes our FiBS core classes, which incorporate 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, 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. Students enjoy a rich curriculum of professional development in areas outside of the traditional basic science classes. In this regard, there are credit-bearing courses as well as workshops, shadowing experiences, and internships, all part of our NIH-funded award called BU’s BEST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training).

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. Specific research themes within the department include Neuroscience & Aging; Signal Transduction & Cancer; Extracellular Matrix/Cellular Injury; Metabolism, Obesity/Diabetes; Proteomics & Glycomics; and Development. For more information on our research, please visit our website.

Please return to our Department of Biochemistry website frequently or contact us to learn more about our graduate programs and research discoveries.

See Course Descriptions for more details.

Qualifying Examinations

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

Thesis Advisory Committee and Thesis Defense

Upon completion of qualifying exams, MD/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.