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Biochemistry of Health and Disease (BHAD) Program Details

Master of Science (MS) Program

The first year of this two-year MS program involves rigorous coursework providing a broad foundation in biomedical sciences. This serves as a framework for advanced biochemical studies scheduled during the second year. There are two tracks within this degree: thesis and non-thesis. The non-thesis degree program requires writing a literature review paper, and the thesis-based degree requires a hypothesis-driven research project that often leads to publications. Graduates find opportunities in industrial and academic institutions; some apply to PhD programs to continue their graduate education.

Caroline Rajiv, a recent Biochemistry MS graduate, and colleagues are the authors of "The Spliceosomal Proteins PPIH and PRPF4 Exhibit Bipartite Binding" published in Biochemical Journal (Rajiv C, Jackson SR, Cocklin S, Eisenmesser EZ, Davis T. Biochem J. 2017, 21:3689-3704).

Read about student and alumni accomplishments

PhD Program

In addition to the same rigorous course work as the MS program, the PhD program involves more intensive research components. The average duration of study for the PhD degree is five years. The PhD program trains individuals to become independent researchers and educators in related research fields. Graduates find opportunities to lead scientific investigations in industrial and/or academic settings.

Emilia Arturo, a Biochemistry PhD candidate, and colleagues, are the authors of "First structure of full-length mammalian phenylalanine hydroxylase reveals the architecture of an autoinhibited tetramer" published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Arturo EC, Gupta K, Héroux A, Stith L, Cross PJ, Parker EJ, Loll PJ, Jaffe EK. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016, 113:2394-2399).

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First Year

During the first year, both Biochemistry of Health and Disease (BHAD) PhD and MS students divide their time between coursework and lab rotations. The coursework includes the Core Curriculum and a specialized advanced topics course.

Core Curriculum

First-year students from all Biomedical Science programs participate in the year-long Core Curriculum, a set of modules designed to provide a broad foundation in the biomedical sciences and serve as a framework to support advanced coursework in more specialized areas.

Learn more about the core curriculum

Lab Rotations

Each student chooses three different laboratories in which to carry out lab rotations, which typically run August–December, January–February and March–April. These research experiences provide broad research training, and also allow students to "test-drive" potential thesis laboratories.

Second Year

At the start of the second year, students choose a thesis advisor and begin their thesis research; they will also take advanced courses.

Third Year and Beyond

After the completion of their coursework, the students focus full-time on their thesis research. Throughout their graduate career, students attend seminars and journal clubs, as well as various workshops and special events offered throughout the University.

The average duration of study for a PhD degree is approximately five and a half years; a minimum of two years of full-time study is required for the MS degree.

Learn more about the degree requirements for the BHAD MS program

Learn more about the degree requirements for the BHAD PhD program

Program-Level Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science/PhD in Biochemistry of Health and Disease program will achieve eight program-level outcomes that describe the skills, competencies and knowledge gained through completion of the program curriculum.

  • Develop technical skills in modern biochemical science research.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental biochemical processes in living systems.
  • Demonstrate ability to define the significance of scientific discovery in health and disease.
  • Evince creative and critical thinking skills by developing and testing novel hypotheses.
  • Clearly communicate scientific knowledge and discovery in written and oral formats.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, evaluating and utilizing scientific literature and other resources.
  • Exhibit the highest standards of ethics and scientific integrity.

Biochemistry of Health and Disease Program Policies and Procedures

Download the Policies and Procedures [PDF]

A graduate student in the Biochemistry program at Drexel University College of Medicine.