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    Jul 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, PhD

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Faculty research interests in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) reflect the broad nature of this discipline, including biochemistry, molecular genetics, systems biology, developmental biology, cell biology, metabolism, and organism interactions with the environment in microbial, plant and animal systems. A specially tailored degree plan is determined in consultation with the student’s major advisor and graduate committee members. Research laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art growth facilities and instrumentation for in-depth study of functional genomics, gene discovery, metabolomics, protein/nucleic acid structure and function, and molecular and cellular imaging. Visit for more information on the research interests of the BMB faculty. Information on degree requirements follows the program descriptions.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology is a research program of 72 hours of graduate credit at the 5000 and 6000 course level beyond the bachelor’s degree or 42 hours beyond the master’s degree, including 9–12 hour dissertation.

Biochemistry and molecular biology graduate core

The PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) is designed to provide a broad, graduate-level foundation, followed by advanced study and research to foster professional specialization. Students are required to successfully complete a minimum of six BMB courses across the disciplines of biochemistry, molecular genetics, cell biology and BMB tools (a minimum of one course in each discipline, and two additional courses) in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Supporting elective courses may be in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics as the advisory committee deems appropriate. Contact the department for further details on qualifying courses. Students must enroll in BIOL 5860  at least once per year for the duration of their degree.

Doctoral degree requirements and procedures

  1. During the second long term/semester, the student, in consultation with the major professor, selects an advisory committee of four other faculty members, three of whom must be from the department faculty. The fourth may be from another UNT department, the Federation of North Texas Area Universities or another university if the member is granted adjunct status in the department. Additional members may be added to the committee as long as the majority of the committee members are faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. A copy of the form designating the committee should be filed with the graduate advising secretary before the student’s third long term/semester.

  2. Before registering for the third long term/semester, the student, major professor and advisory committee prepare a formal degree plan of the courses to be taken by the student, including the language or tool- subject requirement. The degree plan consists of 72 hours for students having only a bachelor’s degree, including a minimum of 12 hours of foundation and 6 hours of advanced/electives courses, and 12 hours of dissertation. Only 6 hours of special problems (6900-6910) may be counted towards the degree plan. The number of individual research (6940) hours counted toward the degree plan is determined by the major professor and advisory committee. A copy of the degree plan, signed by all committee members, should be submitted to the graduate advising secretary before the student’s third long term/semester. All course work must be at the 5000 and 6000 levels. Doctoral students may not receive graduate credit for any undergraduate course by taking the course under a 5000- or 6000-level designation, such as special problems. Undergraduate courses, except those which meet with graduate courses, are considered to be for the correction of deficiencies and are not included in the graduate degree plan hours.

  3. Doctoral students may take written and oral candidacy examinations only after completing a minimum of four (equivalent to 12 hours) of foundation courses and two (equivalent to 6 hours) advanced courses. Oral examinations may be taken only after the student has passed all written examinations. All exams must be completed within one month, and must be completed by the end of the fifth long semester. The manner and form of the written and oral candidacy examinations are determined by the major professor, who is chair of the student’s advisory committee, and the committee members. The examining professor sets guidelines for administration of written examinations. The student is responsible for scheduling rooms for the examinations.

  4. Before registering for the fifth long semester, a formal research proposal, outlining current progress and objectives to complete the dissertation should be submitted and defended to the major professor and advisory committee for approval.

  5. Students may not register for dissertation hours (6950) until all formal courses (excluding seminar), candidacy exams and the research proposal are complete and approved, and documentation is filed with the graduate advising secretary. PhD candidates should be actively writing their dissertations while taking dissertation hours. Once registered for dissertation, the student must maintain continuous enrollment in at least 3 hours of 6950 during each long semester until the dissertation is submitted to the graduate school. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment may invalidate previous 6950 credit or result in the student being dismissed from the degree program, unless granted an official leave of absence by the dean of the Toulouse Graduate School. If the student uses university facilities or faculty time or both during one or both summer terms/semesters, the student must also enroll for a minimum of 3 hours of 6950 during the summer.

  6. Following approval by the major professor, a draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the defense of the dissertation and final examination.

  7. A formal seminar based on the dissertation must be presented by the student during the student’s final term/semester. The candidate must schedule a room for and publicly advertise the seminar and defense. Directly following the seminar, the candidate defends the dissertation in a final oral examination conducted by the major professor and advisory committee.

  8. The candidate is responsible for completing all requirements and meeting all deadlines for graduation within the time specified by the graduate school.

  9. A final copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences main office either bound or on disk in .pdf format.


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