Department of Biomedical and Molecular Biology  
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Graduate Studies

An appropriate program of study is developed for each graduate student on an individual basis through regular consultation with a faculty advisory committee. This program will consist of lecture and laboratory courses, seminars, and independent research. During the first year of graduate study, the student will become acquainted with the research activities of each faculty member. Those topics currently being investigated are described under the Faculty & Personnel Section of this web site and students may select research areas from a variety of disciplines in biochemistry and molecular biology. For both M.S. and Ph.D. students, research training is the primary focus of the program to prepare the graduate for an active career in academic or industrial research.

The Doctor of Philosophy

The program leading to the Ph.D. emphasizes research training in order to prepare the student for a challenging career directing original independent research activities. The program also emphasizes the written and oral communication skills needed to excel in the scientific community.

While the program of study is tailored to the individual needs of the student, he or she is required to complete a series of core courses that provide the student with a broad perspective of the field. The courses include: a) Proteins, Enzymes, and the Generaton of Metabolic Energy; b)Metabolism and Genetics; c)Molelcular Biology; d)Gene Expression and Cell Cycle; e)Cell Biology; f)Analytical Methods, and g)a series of advanced courses in Post-Transcriptional Regulation, Chromatin, Structure, Protein Structure/Function, Cancer, and Genetics. Interactions and collaborations among faculty are encouraged. Students have an unusually wide selection of thesis directions, as well as the opportunity to become acquainted with research ranging from cellular/biomedical to biochemical/biophysical. Generally about 30 credits of formal course work is required.

At the end of the first year of study, the student must pass a written, comprehensive qualifying examination This examination tests the students ability to use the knowledge gained from the core courses to formulate and test hypotheses based on current issues in biochemistry and molecular biology. In the second or third year the student must pass a preliminary examination consisting of a written grant proposal dealing with his or her dissertation research. The student will orally discuss and defend the proposal before the advisory committee. Completion of the degree involves an oral defense of the Ph.D. thesis.

The Master of Science

The program leading to the M.S. degree is designed to provide extensive research training, but in contrast to the Ph.D. program, is not necessarily intended to prepare students for an independent research career. The M.S. degree is offered through a joint program with the Biology Department at Louisiana State University - Shreveport, LSU-S.

Formal classroom instruction is similar to that for the Ph.D. degree, although certain courses may be taken at LSU-S. Students may choose to work in labs at the Medical Center or at LSU-S. Neither the written qualifier examination nor the oral preliminary examination is required for the M.S. degree. Completion of the degree requires submission and oral defense of a M.S. thesis. The program is usually completed within three years.

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