University General Course Catalog 2015-2016 
    Sep 22, 2020  

Biochemistry, M.S.

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I. Contact Information

John Cushman, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director
(775) 784-6031

Mailing Address:

University of Nevada, Reno
Department of Biochemistry, Mail Stop 0200
1664 North Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557-0330

II. Brief Introduction

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), offers a challenging and broad-based graduate program of research and course studies leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. in biochemistry. 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 areas represented by the faculty have the common theme of understanding the structures and roles of macromolecules in complex biological systems. Students benefit from exposure to faculty members appointed in both the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR) and the School of Medicine as well as the Desert Research Institute. Faculty interests cover a wide range of disciplines in the biomedical sciences and life sciences. Each faculty member directs an active research program and is dedicated to training postdoctoral associates and doctoral- and master’s-level graduate students as well as undergraduate students.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

The academic environment is lively and highly interactive, as represented by a series of diverse, interdisciplinary seminar programs 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, thesis or 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 or master’s research projects are selected by the student in consultation with a major dissertation or thesis advisor and an advisory committee. The program, which is designed to prepare students for careers in research and/or teaching, emphasizes a cooperative, personal working environment between students and members of the faculty.

Assessment information for the master’s and doctoral programs is available on the University Assessment site.

IV. Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission to the program must meet the Graduate School’s admission criteria, as well as certain additional requirements in chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Students who have not taken courses in molecular biology, molecular biophysics, or metabolic regulation, but who meet the remaining requirements, might be admitted to the program with the expectation that such remedial coursework will be completed within the first year of graduate study (see program requirements below). A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or 3.0 is required for admission to the master’s or Ph.D. programs, respectively. A combined Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test score of 300 or greater is also required as part of the application. Interested students should submit copies of their official undergraduate and graduate school transcripts directly from the institutions previously attended to the University of Nevada, Reno. For students for whom English is their second language, a competitive TOEFL® examination score is also required for admission (computer based = 180 or iBT® internet based = 64) and eligibility for graduate assistantships (computer based = 213 or iBT® internet based = 79). Applicants who are applying must also submit GRE (and TOEFL) scores, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose as part of the online application process. All accepted students are automatically granted a graduate or teaching assistantship during the first year. To ensure full consideration, applications for fall admission should be completed by January 15. There is a $90 nonrefundable graduate program application fee. 

V. Program Requirements

a. Course Requirement

For the M.S. degree, a program of study with a minimum of 30 units is required, which includes a minimum of 24 units in course work and up to 6 thesis units. 

The curriculum includes a core of molecular genetics, cell biology, protein structure/function, biostatistics, and ethics courses and electives in biochemistry, functional genomics, bioinformatics and other life and physical sciences. Students develop a program of study that satisfies the program requirements and is consistent with their interests in consultation with their advisor and graduate committee. Each student’s program of study must be approved by the Program Director. Students participate in a variety of mentoring and educational experiences, including first-year research rotations, seminars, colloquia, and a yearly interdisciplinary molecular biosciences program retreat. All degree candidates present a final seminar on their dissertation research and provide an oral defense of their work.

b. Elective Requirement

The courses included in the program of study depend upon the student’s past experience, current interests, and future career goals.  Courses must be selected in collaboration with the student’s research advisor and advisory committee.  The student’s program of study must be approved by the Program Director.

c. Thesis

VI. Total Units (30 units)

VII. Undergraduate Prerequisites

The following courses are required for students who have not taken equivalent courses as an undergraduate: BCH 605 - Molecular Biology  , BCH 613 - Molecular Biophysics  , and BCH 617 - Metabolic Regulation  .

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