COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Daily Updates and ResourcesCOVID Resources
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is proud to offer programs that lead to M.S., Ph.D. and dual M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Our robust, comprehensive programs prepare students for successful careers as independent investigators and teachers in academia, government and biotechnology.
At the core of each degree program is an independent research project, conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Student research projects can be developed in a broad range of areas related to biochemistry and cell and molecular biology, including:
For students in VCU’s Premedical Graduate Sciences Certificate Program (CERT) interested in pursuing a master’s degree in biochemistry, please contact Dr. Kordula: firstname.lastname@example.org
The VCU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a strong record of training and research. Graduate students have received numerous fellowships from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Heart Association. Faculty members are well-funded by national and international agencies and foundations for their research and training endeavors.
Our students have won international, national and state awards for their research excellence. They have also traveled throughout the U.S. and the world presenting their work at prestigious conferences.
Other highlights of our program include:
Ph.D. students enter doctoral training via the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal. Under the guidance of an academic advisor, students select and complete three 10-week research rotations. By the end of the year, students choose faculty mentors and then transition to the Biochemistry Ph.D. program. Graduate program director Dr. Tomasz Kordula initially serves as an advisor, and then is replaced by a permanent mentor.
The student and advisor are expected to choose a tentative dissertation project by the start of the second year’s fall semester. The student and the advisor then select a graduate advisory committee, which is chaired by the advisor and consists of five members, two of whom are from outside the department. The committee assists the student in determining their course plan, helps in the finalization of a dissertation project and, eventually, approves the dissertation and conducts the comprehensive and final examinations.
M.S. students are admitted by the graduate program director. For students enrolled in the M.S. program, the advisory committee consists of a minimum of three faculty members, with one from outside the department.
Opportunities in biochemistry and molecular biology continue to be excellent, as evidenced by the success of our graduates in building careers after graduating. Graduates have entered postdoctoral programs at leading universities and research institutes, and found employment opportunities in government, industrial, private and academic institutes in the U.S. and overseas.
Universities rely on skilled biochemists and molecular biologists to conduct research and to teach medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, graduate and undergraduate students. The pharmaceutical and chemical industries employ large numbers of biochemists and molecular biologists to develop new and improved medications and chemicals for their utility and safety. Government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and other agencies of the U.S. Public Health Service also employ biochemists and molecular biologists to conduct basic research, approve new medications, provide leadership for future research directions and evaluate proposals for new formulations and laws.
Our graduates have gone on to fill prestigious roles in academia, government and the private sector and many are leaders in their chosen fields nationally and internationally.
All doctoral students in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program have their tuition paid and receive a nationally competitive stipend and health insurance throughout their education in this department. Admittance through the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal provides the first two years of financial support through the School of Medicine. In the following years, Ph.D. students are provided stipends through the advisor’s grants. We also strongly encourage students to apply for individual extramural predoctoral fellowships where applicable. Our students have had excellent success earning their own fellowship, including from the NIH, the Department of Defense and foundations such as the American Heart Association.
No special application for financial aid is necessary.
Students in the M.S. program will not receive financial aid through the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Information and forms for financial aid are available for M.S. students through the School of Medicine's Office of Financial Aid.
Urban life with a small-town feel
We encourage our students and researchers to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and Richmond is a wonderful place to engage in that well-rounded lifestyle. As the capital of Virginia since 1779, Richmond attracts students, faculty and staff from around the globe. The city’s location affords easy day trips to destinations like Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge Mountains, among others.
As a mid-sized city with a metropolitan population of 1.3 million, Richmond provides stimulating activities while maintaining its intimate feel and unique vibe. Vibrant neighborhoods offer distinct, diverse experiences, with no shortage of art galleries, museums, music venues, restaurants, breweries and parks. For the outdoor enthusiast, you can’t beat the offerings in the city’s riverfront parks and urban wilderness areas such as white-water rafting, hiking, mountain biking and festivals.Learn more about our community