Master's Program in Biochemistry

The application deadline for Fall 2023 admission is April 15, 2023.

Master's Program

The Department of Biological Chemistry offers one-year Master's Programs designed to broadly train tomorrow’s leaders in biomedical sciences. Our trainees are well prepared for employment in industry, or matriculation into elite graduate or medical programs. Two tracks of study are offered, depending upon the goals and interests of the students. 

Master's Program in Biochemistry-Research Track:  This one-year (two-semester) program of didactic coursework in biochemistry includes an intensive research experience and a written thesis. This program is intended for individuals seeking to increase their skills and research experience for employment opportunities, or for application to highly competitive Ph.D. or medical professional degree programs. Research track students are encouraged to begin work in their mentor’s laboratory prior to the beginning of Fall term, particularly if they will be applying to graduate schools during the Master’s program.

The intensive research experience is a key feature of the research-track. Our faculty members conduct research at the cutting edge of modern biochemistry and molecular biology. Current areas of research include structural biology, protein biochemistry, enzyme reaction mechanisms, molecular genetics, signal transduction, neurobiology, cell and developmental biology, and bioinformatics. Students match with faculty research advisors after advisement by the directors and by mutual consent with the faculty, either before arrival on campus or immediately thereafter. The capstone of the research experience is the thesis dissertation. The thesis is expected to be a synthesis of scholarly background and discussion of the research project, in addition to an original experimental or theoretical contribution to the field. A committee composed of the research advisor and two additional graduate faculty members will evaluate the thesis. Upon their positive assessment, including any required modifications, the student will be eligible to be awarded the Master’s degree.

Master's Program in Biochemistry-Coursework Track: This one-year (two-semester) program of didactic coursework in biochemistry and related fields is designed for students who plan to attend medical, dental, veterinary, law, or other professional programs. Students on this track take two semesters of rigorous, graduate-level, coursework. In addition, students will conduct a mentored literature review in a selected area of interest, working one-on-one with a research faculty, and culminating in a scholarly review article. Students on this track are exposed to an impressive array of modern research topics and methodologies through seminar programs, a critical analysis course, and interactions with our faculty, and are well prepared to succeed in professional programs.

Explore our website and apply to the Master's Program in Biochemistry. Contact our Program Administrator Beth Goodwin ( or our M.S. Program Directors Dr. Michael Uhler ( or Dr. Debra Thompson ( if you have additional questions.


Coursework in both tracks consists of required and elective components. To maintain academic standing, advance to the second semester of the program, and to be awarded the M.S. degree, a B- or better is required in all coursework.  Students experiencing difficulty in any course should contact the Master's Program Directors early in the term and tutors can be identified to assist the M.S. students.

Admission and Application


Completion of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university (before matriculation into the master’s program)
GPA of 3.0 (minimum)
GREs are optional

Students should have taken an undergraduate biochemistry course and should have a passion for understanding life processes at a molecular level.

Financial Aid and Support

Students in the master’s program self-fund the costs associated with this program, including tuition, fees and health insurance.  Tuition costs for the 2021–2022 academic year (two-terms) were approximately $25,000 for in-state students and $51,000 for out-of-state students.  Information about the cost of attendance is available from the Financial Aid Department. Information about fellowship opportunities for master’s students is available from the Rackham Graduate School.  Applications received by January 15th will be considered for these fellowships.

How To Apply

Applicants should submit the Rackham online application. In addition to the online application itself, college transcripts, academic and personal statements, and 3 letters of recommendation are required. GREs are optional. International applicants, whose native language is not English, are required to submit official TOEFL scores directly from ETS. The application deadline is April 15, but earlier application is advised starting in December or January.

-A scanned/electronic copy of the official transcript will be used for initial review by our admissions committee. You will be required to have your official transcript sent to the Rackham Graduate School only if you are recommended for admission.
-All applicants should report their Grade Point Average (GPA) on page 5 of the online application. The GPA should be reported using a standard U.S. four point scale. Applicants who attended an institution outside the United States should convert their international average grade point to a U.S. four point GPA (for instructions see "How to Convert Grades to a U.S. GPA")

Master's Graduate Curriculum

A typical credit load is 14-15 credits per term for a minimum total of 29 credits, including 4 cognate credits, and development and completion of a written research review (Course Track) or thesis (Research Track). 

A. Biological Chemistry Required Courses:

       BIOLCHEM 655* Molecules of Life: Protein Structure, Function & Dynamics (3 Cr, F)
         For most students with advanced standing in biochemistry (e.g. biochemistry UG degree)
OR BIOLCHEM 515 Introductory Biochemistry (4 Cr, F, W)*
        *With permission of MS Program Directors

BIOLCHEM 597 Critical Analysis (3 Cr, W)
BIOLCHEM 711 Graduate Seminar (1 Cr F/ 1 Cr W)
BIOLCHEM 712 Biological Chemistry Seminar Series (1 Cr F/ 1 Cr W)
BIOLCHEM 600 Independent Research (5-6 Cr F/ 5-6 Cr W)
PIBS 503 Research Responsibility & Ethics (1 Cr, F)

Research Track

BIOLCHEM 600 Independent Study (Master’s thesis research) (5-6 Cr, F; 5-6 Cr, W)
BIOLCHEM 601 Tools of a Scientist (2 Cr, F) (optional for 2021-22)

Course Track
BIOLCHEM 601 Tools of a Scientist (1-4 Cr, F)
BIOLCHEM 603 Literature Review and Analysis (1 Cr, F; 3 Cr, W)

B. Biological Chemistry Advanced Electives (2 Credits minimum):       
         BIOLCHEM 650 Eukaryotic Gene Transcription (2 Cr, F)
         BIOLCHEM 690 Biochemical Regulatory Mechanisms (2 Cr, F)
         BIOLCHEM 713 Emerging Areas of Biochemistry (1 Cr, F)
         BIOLCHEM 528 Biology and Chemistry of Enzymes (2 Cr, W)
         BIOLCHEM 602 Protein Crystallography (3 Cr, W)
         BIOLCHEM 640 Regulatory RNA and Control of Gene Expression (2 Cr, W)
         BIOLCHEM 673 Enzyme Kinetics (3 Cr, W)
         BIOLCHEM 675 Biochemistry and Cell Biology of Membranes and Organelles (2 Cr, W)        

C. Additional Electives* (3 credits minimum):       
         BIOINF 527 Introduction to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (4 Cr, F)
         BIOINF 528 Advanced Applications of Bioinformatics (3 Cr, F)
         BIOPHYS 520 Biophysical Chemistry I (Methods and Techniques) (3 Cr, F)
         BIOSTAT 501 Introduction to Biostatistics (4 Cr, F)
         BIOSTAT 521 Applied Biostatistics (4 Cr, F) [calculus prerequisite]
         CDB 530 Cell Biology (3 Cr, F)
         CDB 581 Developmental Genetics (3 Cr, F)
         HUMGEN 541 Molecular Genetics (3 Cr, F)
         PHYSIOL 502  Human Physiology (4 Cr, F)
         BIOINF 524 Foundations in Bioinformatics & Systems Biology (3 Cr, W)  
         BIOPHYS 521 Biophysical Chemistry II (Theories) (3 Cr, W)
         CDB 550 Histology (4 Cr, W)
         CDB 582 Stem cells: Organogenesis to Regenerative Biology (3 Cr, W)
         CHEMBIO 502 Chemical Biology II  (3 Cr, W)
         MICRBIOL 504 Cellular Biotechnology (3 Cr, W)
         PATH 581 Tissue, Cellular and Molecular Basis of Disease (3 Cr, W)

**This is a partial list.  Consult your research mentor & academic advisor if you would like to take an elective course or courses not listed above.


Click HERE for a directory of Biochem Alumni.