Graduate/PhD Program

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UAB has an intensive graduate program, usually requiring four to five years to complete. The coursework is diverse emphasizing a combination of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. The research programs are challenging and contemporary covering a broad range of interests thoroughly training you in laboratory skills. And, of course, we teach the communication techniques you'll need in order to present your research in oral or published form.

Upon receiving their degree, our graduates have gone on to successful academic or industrial careers. Among those who graduated at least 4 years ago, over 80% have already secured faculty, or equivalent, positions.

Year 1:

During your first year, you will take a core curriculum covering biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology, as well as any remedial work recommended by the department.

Core Curriculum

Biochemistry

  • Kinetics and Thermodynamics
  • Structure, Function & Metabolism of Biological Molecules
  • Molecular Biology

  • DNA Replication
  • Gene Expression
  • Virology
  • Cell Biology

  • Membrane Biochemistry
  • Cytoskeleton & Extracellular Matrix
  • Glycobiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • During this year you will also complete lab rotations. This will afford you the opportunity to experience first-hand the broad range of research offered. At this time, you will select a thesis adviser, a mentor who will provide on-going support as you work on your thesis.

    Early selection of an adviser is encouraged. The wide diversity of interests among the UAB Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics faculty virtually assures you finding someone with mutual interests.

    Year 2

    You, your adviser and your thesis committee will discuss and formulate your curriculum after completion of the first year. During this second year, you will take specialized courses that will aid in your thesis research. Advanced courses are available on contemporary topics such as advanced molecular genetics, developmental biology, NMR, physical biochemistry, molecular structure and function, crystallography, computer modeling, and enzymology.

    Each semester you will also participate in a journal club. Here you will present for discussion recently published articles from scientific journals. Participants review and critique these articles, thus developing their analytical and communication skills.

    Your adviser and graduate committee will work together to tailor a curriculum to match your needs and interests.

    Following Years:

    You must pass a qualifying examination that includes an oral defense of your thesis proposal. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination and necessary advanced coursework, you are advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

    In addition to aggressively pursuing your research objectives in the laboratory, you will complete your advanced course requirements, attend national and international meetings in specialized areas of interest, and participate in seminars.

    The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon successful defense of your dissertation, including an oral presentation of your original scientific investigations and a written dissertation which demonstrates your ability to carry out creative and significant research.



    The reputation of UAB is first rate in the biomedical science community. The fact that I did my graduate work there enabled me to continue my career in one of the top research laboratories in the world after graduation.