Biochemistry - Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Biochemistry doctoral degree is part of the campus-wide, interdisciplinary Molecular Biosciences graduate program. Students benefit from exposure to faculty members appointed in both the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources (CABNR) and the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). The aim of the graduate program is to train scientists for critical analysis and solution of biochemical problems at the molecular level.

The diverse research expertise of our faculty has the common theme of understanding the structures and roles of macromolecules in complex biological systems. Students have an opportunity for multidisciplinary interactions with graduate students and faculty members in related departments, including the Departments of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology, Physiology and Anatomy, Microbiology and Immunology, and Pharmacology and Cell Biology. The academic environment is lively and highly interactive, as represented by a diverse, interdisciplinary seminar program sponsored in conjunction with other related departments.

The program of study includes lecture courses, laboratory rotations, journal club presentations and discussion groups, a qualifying written and oral examination, dissertation research, and one or more semesters of teaching experience. First-year students take a core curriculum and gain research experience by rotating through student-selected research laboratories. Laboratory rotations facilitate the choice of a dissertation advisor.

Doctoral research projects are selected by the student in consultation with a major dissertation advisor and an advisory committee. The requirements for the doctorate are generally completed in four to five years. The program, which is designed to prepare students for careers in research and/or teaching, emphasizes a cooperative, personal working environment among students and members of the faculty.

Career prospects are bright for someone trained in the molecular life sciences. Projections for the next 20 years indicate that there will be thousands of unfulfilled science and engineering jobs. A large fraction of that shortage will be in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. Areas of career choices include:

  • Agriculture or crop genetic engineering
  • DNA forensics
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Functional genomics
  • Systems biology and bioinformatics
  • Biotechnology
  • Toxicology
  • Clinical chemistry
  • Plant pathology
  • Animal science

Visit the Molecular Biosciences graduate program and find out how to apply.