Molecular Biosciences Graduate Programs

The department offers the Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Arts in biochemistry and biophysics; microbiology; and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Programs in neurobiology and genetics also allow a research focus. Graduate students may pursue degree tracks in the disciplines of their choice but may also be involved in collaborative research. New students should confer with the graduate coordinator to plan a first-semester schedule. Until the student chooses a permanent advisor, the graduate coordinator advises him or her.

The department has established a level of enrollment appropriate for normal progress (course work and research effort) toward an advanced degree. These credit-hour requirements may exceed, but not fall below, minimum Graduate Studies requirements. A student must enroll full-time in residence for at least two regular academic-year semesters after the first year of graduate study. Nine credit hours constitute full-time enrollment. If the student holds a half-time research or teaching assistantship, 6 hours constitute full-time enrollment. The department expects graduate students who have not yet passed the comprehensive orals examination (including those with half-time assistantships) to enroll in at least 9 hours each semester and 3 hours each summer session. After passing the comprehensive oral examination, a doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled, including summer sessions, until all degree requirements are completed. For the first 18 hours of post-comprehensive enrollment, the doctoral candidate must take a minimum of 6 hours a semester and 3 hours a summer session.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships are available. GTAs are appointed on a semester basis. GRAs are appointed on a semester, academic-year, or calendar-year basis.

During the first 2 semesters, a new Ph.D. graduate student follows a rotation schedule through 3 research laboratories. This program acquaints each student with the research conducted by each faculty member. Students then choose a home lab. This decision must be mutually agreed on with the major professor. Each graduate student must teach for at least 2 semesters.

(The B.S. degree in molecular biosciences is offered on the KU Edwards Campus.)

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

The department adheres to minimum admission requirements. The number of new students accepted each year depends largely on availability of laboratory space, financial resources, grants, and the number of students leaving the program. The department maintains a full enrollment.

The department's website has information about application procedures and a link for applying directly online. A completed application file must include

  1. An application form and fee;
  2. 1 copy of all academic transcripts (international students must provide 1 copy in English and 1 in the native language);
  3. A résumé (1 to 2 pages);
  4. General Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE must have been taken within 2 years of the initial semester);
  5. Internet-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (iBT) or IELTS scores for international students;
  6. 3 recommendation letters; and
  7. A statement of aims (1 to 2 pages)describing the applicant’s interests and professional goals.

All files must be complete and received in the department by December 15 each year. First consideration is given to those who meet this deadline. Applicants are informed of decisions in early March.

All supporting documentation should be uploaded online when you apply. If this is not possible, please send documentation to:

The University of Kansas
Department of Molecular Biosciences
Haworth Hall
1200 Sunnyside Ave., Room 2034
Lawrence, KS 66045-7566

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Biochemistry and Biophysics

General Requirements for All Ph.D. Students

All general requirements must be fulfilled. Refer to each discipline for specific course requirements. General requirements include

  1. At least 3 individual laboratory rotations during the first two semesters of graduate study;
  2. Enrollment every semester in BIOL 701 Topics in: Molecular Biosciences Seminar;
  3. Completion of the following courses: BIOL 804 Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences, BIOL 807 Graduate Molecular Biosciences, and BIOL 818 Techniques in Molecular Biosciences;
  4. A Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by completion of BIOL 818) and a Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by BIOL 804);
  5. A minimum of 2 semesters of graduate teaching;
  6. A graduate committee established before the beginning of the fall semester of the second year;
  7. A minimum of 1 annual graduate committee meeting;
  8. A written preliminary examination in the form of a research proposal completed by the end of the spring semester of the second year of graduate study (BIOL 925);
  9. A comprehensive oral examination held no later than October 1 of the fall semester of the third year of graduate study (successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree);
  10. A dissertation based on original research presented to the dissertation examination committee for evaluation and presented and defended in a formal public lecture; and
  11. Completion of the degree in 7 years.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

First-year Curriculum for All Students

First-year courses include:

BIOL 701Topics in: _____ (Molecular Biosciences Seminar. Enrollment required every semester)1-3
BIOL 804Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences1
BIOL 807Graduate Molecular Biosciences6
BIOL 818Techniques in Molecular Biosciences2
BIOL 985Advanced Study (fall and spring semester)1-10

Specific Ph.D. Requirements: Biochemistry and Biophysics

BIOL 750Advanced Biochemistry3
BIOL 901Graduate Seminar in Biochemistry and Biophysics (one semester)1
BIOL 918Modern Biochemical and Biophysical Methods4
BIOL 952Introduction to Molecular Modeling3

The graduate committee may recommend that additional courses be taken.

Microbiology

General Requirements for All Ph.D. Students

All general requirements must be fulfilled. Refer to each discipline for specific course requirements. General requirements include

  1. At least 3 individual laboratory rotations during the first two semesters of graduate study;
  2. Enrollment every semester in BIOL 701 Topics in: Molecular Biosciences Seminar;
  3. Completion of the following courses: BIOL 804 Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences, BIOL 807 Graduate Molecular Biosciences, and BIOL 818 Techniques in Molecular Biosciences;
  4. A Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by completion of BIOL 818) and a Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by BIOL 804);
  5. A minimum of 2 semesters of graduate teaching;
  6. A graduate committee established before the beginning of the fall semester of the second year;
  7. A minimum of 1 annual graduate committee meeting;
  8. A written preliminary examination in the form of a research proposal completed by the end of the spring semester of the second year of graduate study (BIOL 925);
  9. A comprehensive oral examination held no later than October 1 of the fall semester of the third year of graduate study (successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree);
  10. A dissertation based on original research presented to the dissertation examination committee for evaluation and presented and defended in a formal public lecture; and
  11. Completion of the degree in 7 years.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

First-year Curriculum for All Students

First-year courses include:

BIOL 701Topics in: _____ (Molecular Biosciences Seminar. Enrollment required every semester)1-3
BIOL 804Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences1
BIOL 807Graduate Molecular Biosciences6
BIOL 818Techniques in Molecular Biosciences2
BIOL 985Advanced Study (fall and spring semester)1-10

Specific Ph.D. Requirements: Microbiology

Select at least four of the following five graduate courses:
Advanced Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Mechanisms of Host-Parasite Relationships
Advanced Bacterial Physiology
Advanced Molecular Virology
Advanced Molecular Genetics

The graduate committee may recommend that additional courses be taken.

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

General Requirements for All Ph.D. Students

All general requirements must be fulfilled. Refer to each discipline for specific course requirements. General requirements include

  1. At least 3 individual laboratory rotations during the first two semesters of graduate study;
  2. Enrollment every semester in BIOL 701 Topics in: Molecular Biosciences Seminar;
  3. Completion of the following courses: BIOL 804 Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences, BIOL 807 Graduate Molecular Biosciences, and BIOL 818 Techniques in Molecular Biosciences;
  4. A Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by completion of BIOL 818) and a Responsible Scholarship requirement (satisfied by BIOL 804);
  5. A minimum of 2 semesters of graduate teaching;
  6. A graduate committee established before the beginning of the fall semester of the second year;
  7. A minimum of 1 annual graduate committee meeting;
  8. A written preliminary examination in the form of a research proposal completed by the end of the spring semester of the second year of graduate study (BIOL 925);
  9. A comprehensive oral examination held no later than October 1 of the fall semester of the third year of graduate study (successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree);
  10. A dissertation based on original research presented to the dissertation examination committee for evaluation and presented and defended in a formal public lecture; and
  11. Completion of the degree in 7 years.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

First-year Curriculum for All Students

First-year courses include:

BIOL 701Topics in: _____ (Molecular Biosciences Seminar. Enrollment required every semester)1-3
BIOL 804Scientific Integrity: Molecular Biosciences1
BIOL 807Graduate Molecular Biosciences6
BIOL 818Techniques in Molecular Biosciences2
BIOL 985Advanced Study (fall and spring semester)1-10

Specific Ph.D. Requirements: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

BIOL 752Cell Biology3
BIOL 755Mechanisms of Development3
BIOL 753Advanced Genetics3
or BIOL 772 Gene Expression

The graduate committee may recommend that additional courses be taken.