University Requirements

Learn more about the biochemistry and molecular biology program at Michigan Tech. For international students, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a designated STEM program.


Course requirements are designed to ensure that all students have a firm understanding of the fundamentals of biochemistry and molecular biology, including the principles underlying biochemical structure, biochemical dynamics, molecular biology, genomics, and biotechnology. These principles will be covered in three core courses: BMB6010, BMB6020 and BMB6030. The set of core courses will be offered annually; this ensures that students will be able to complete the core courses and be prepared to take the qualifying examinations during their second year.

Required Core Courses

Three 6000-level courses (3 credits each), a seminar course (BMB6040; 1 credit), and doctoral research (BMB6990) will form the core of the curriculum for the BMB doctoral program.

The three core courses, which are developed and team taught by the BMB core faculty, provide the necessary background in the areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, including genomics and biotechnology:

  • BMB6010—Advanced Biochemistry,
  • BMB6020—Advanced Molecular Biology, and
  • BMB6030—Modern BMB techniques.

One of the following graduate seminar courses can be substituted for BMB6040:

  • BL5503 (Biological Sciences),
  • CH5900 (Chemistry), or
  • FW6800 (Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences).

In addition to the core course credits listed above, students may be required to take other courses to provide the breadth and depth necessary for graduate research, depending on their academic background. The necessary courses will be suggested by the student’s advisor in consultation with the advisory committee. The courses may be at the 3000-, 4000-, 5000-, or 6000-level. Students conducting research will enroll in BMB6990. Students will need a total of 60 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree or 30 credits beyond a master’s degree as per Graduate School requirements. The minimum requirement for a student to graduate with BMB degree is 20 credits of BMB6990 and 10 credits of required core courses.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is required by the Graduate School. Learn more about Responsible Conduct of Research training.

Home Department

Every BMB student has a home department, where their advisor is located, and is strongly encouraged to attend this department’s orientation. The rules and regulations of the home department with reference to research and teaching (graduate teaching assistants) have to be followed.

Qualifying Examination

Each student must pass a written qualifying exam followed by an oral exam no later than the end of the second year of graduate study. This examination will cover topics studied in the core courses (BMB6010, BMB6020, and BMB6030). The purpose of the examination is to determine the student’s mastery of knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology and the ability to apply this knowledge.

Each examination will be written by a committee of four faculty members who have been involved in teaching BMB6010, BMB6020, and BMB6030. The committee will grade the qualifying exam and conduct the oral examination. On the basis of the student’s performance, the committee will decide whether or not each student passes; a student will pass if a majority of committee members vote in the affirmative. Students who do not pass the examination will be allowed a second attempt. Failure to pass the qualifying examination in two attempts will result in dismissal from the PhD program.

Advisory Committee

A student’s advisory committee will consist of at least four members of the graduate faculty. At least one of these faculty members will be from outside the student's administrative home department or school. Three members of the advisory committee are required to be BMB faculty.

Proposal Defense

The student will present a proposal followed by an oral defense of the research plan to the advisory committee. The proposal should be submitted within one year of successfully completing the qualifying examinations and no later than the completion of the third year in the PhD program. The student's advisory committee must unanimously agree that the research plan is acceptable.

Doctoral Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

The research conducted by the student will be presented to the advisory committee as a written dissertation. An oral presentation of that dissertation will be made following the completion of the written work. The dissertation is acceptable if the advisor and at least two of the remaining three members of the advisory committee concur on its acceptance.