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Cell and Molecular Biology Degree Track Requirements

Table of Contents

  1. Thesis or Dissertation Committee
  2. Course Requirements
  3. Graduate Student Rotations
  4. First Year Evaluation
  5. Committee Meetings
  6. Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
  7. Thesis and Dissertation Research
  8. Special Considerations
  9. College and University Requirements
  10. Recommended Time Tables
  11. Graduate Level Courses Offered
  12. Interinstitutional Agreements

PROGRAM IN BIOLOGY: CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY DEGREE TRACK
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY
Degree Requirements for Master's and Doctoral Degrees

  • MASTER of SCIENCE PLAN I
  • MASTER of SCIENCE PLAN II
  • DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY

A. Thesis or Dissertation Committee

  1. Major Professor
    During the first year, each student is required to select, by mutual agreement, a major professor who, with the thesis (M.S.), or dissertation (Ph.D.) committee, will supervise the student's graduate studies and serve as chair of the student's thesis or dissertation committee. The Chair of the student's committee shall be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. If a student wishes to work jointly with more than one professor, an understanding as to which is primarily responsible for supervision of the student's graduate studies should be reached. The major professor does not need to be a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) Division.
  2. Thesis or Dissertation Committee
    In consultation with the major professor the student shall select, by mutual agreement, faculty members to serve on the thesis (MS plan I) or dissertation (Ph.D.) committee (students seeking a MS plan II are not required to form a committee). The membership of this committee is subject to approval by the chairman of the department and dean of the college. The major functions of this committee are to guide and monitor the student's progress and to insure quality by administering the qualifying and final examinations. In the event that a member of the committee leaves the University or is not available for an examination or thesis/dissertation defense, the committee and student can recommend a substitute. The appointment to committees of faculty members from other institutions is encouraged. The composition of the committees shall be as follows:
    1. A master's thesis committee shall consist of at least three members. These shall include the major professor, and one member who shall be from outside of the CMB Division. At least half of the committee members must have their primary appointment in the CMB Division. Research faculty may serve on the committee in addition to the core of three committee members who are tenured or tenure-track faculty.
    2. A doctoral dissertation committee shall consist of at least four members. These shall include the major professor and at least one member who shall be from outside of the Department. At least two of the committee members must have their primary appointment in the CMB Division. Research faculty may serve on the committee in addition to the core of four committee members who are tenured or tenure-track faculty.

Faculty with primary appointments in the Cell and Molecular Biology Division: S-H. Chung, B. Dauwalder, A. Delcour, S. Dryer, A. Eskin, D. Frigo, J-A. Gustafsson, P. Jurtshuk, S. Khurana, C-Y. Lin, M. Rea, G. Roman, A. Sater, M. Warner, D. Wells, C. Williams, X.S. Zhang and J. Ziburkus

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B. Course Requirements

  1. M.S. Students
    All M.S. students are required to successfully complete the following courses at the first opportunity, generally in the first semester for students entering in the fall and in the second semester for students entering in the spring.
    • BIOL6371: Molecular Genetics
    • BIOL6307: Advanced Cell Biology

    In addition all M.S. students are required to successfully complete at least one seminar course per year (either fall or spring semester). The departmental seminar (BIOL 6110) does not apply to this requirement. M.S. Plan I students must successfully complete at least one other graduate level course and Plan II students three other graduate level courses, to be decided in conjunction with the student's thesis committee. M.S. Plan I and Plan II students may petition the Division graduate committee (DGC) for modification of required courses, but a minimum of 8 and 14 hours of formal (letter-graded) graduate lecture courses are required for the M.S. Plan I and Plan II degrees, respectively.

    The minimum semester hour requirement for graduation is 30 and 36 hours for the M.S. Plan I and M.S. Plan II degrees, respectively.

  2. Ph.D. Students
    All Ph.D. students are required to successfully complete the following courses at the first opportunity, generally in the first semester for students entering in the fall and in the second semester for students entering in the spring.
    • BIOL6371: Molecular Genetics
    • BIOL6307: Advanced Cell Biology

    In addition, all Ph.D. students are required to successfully complete at least one formal Seminar course per year (either fall or spring semester). The departmental seminar (BIOL 6110) does not apply to this requirement. Ph.D. students must successfully complete at least three other formal graduate level lecture courses (2-3 credit hours each) to be decided in conjunction with the student's dissertation committee. Ph.D. students may petition the DGC for modification of required courses.

    The minimum semester hour requirement for graduation is 54 hours for the Ph.D. degree.

  3. Course Transfers
    Transfer credits for electives are limited to 2 approved credits toward an MS plan I or II, and 4 approved credits toward a Ph.D. A grade of a B or better is required for transfer of course credit. Moreover, credits cannot be transferred to replace a core course without the approval of the CMB advising committee and will be limited to one 2 credit module. Students may appeal this process by submitting course information and a written statement justifying the transfer of specific course credits to the CMB Divisional Leader and the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs. Course information should include a syllabus that covers course material, and a letter from the course instructor that addresses course content and student performance. A successful appeal will require a 2/3rds majority vote by the primary CMB faculty. In no case can credit transfer exceed the limits set forth by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and the University of Houston.
  4. Scholastic Requirement
    Graduate students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all course work to be considered in good standing. Students not in good standing cannot receive a graduate degree and can be declared ineligible for support as a Graduate Assistant (IA, TA or RA). Graduate students who receive grades of C+ or lower in 12 or more semester hours of course work attempted for graduate credit are ineligible for any advanced degree at this institution. Semester hours of "U" grades in S/U-graded courses apply toward the above 12-hour total.
  5. Courses Taken Outside the Department
    • Courses that do not promote the student's academic development in Biology & Biochemistry, or do not contribute directly to the current research program of the student, will not be allowed.
    • Students who wish to take courses outside the Department need the approval of their thesis or dissertation committee.
    • Students may not pursue another degree program concurrently with a M.S. or Ph.D. in Biology and Biochemistry
    • Students taking approved courses at other institutions need to notify the Graduate coordinator prior to the start of the semester in order for the appropriate paperwork to be processed in time by the Registrar's Office and the Office of Graduate and professional Studies.

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C. Graduate Student Rotations

The CMB faculty requires that all graduate students enrolled in Ph.D. and M.S. Plan 1 degree programs complete at least two rotations in research labs during the first year, and prior to selection of the Major professor. Laboratory rotations are an indispensable feature of a successful graduate education in biological research. Spending time in different research labs provides students with a first-hand exposure to new and diverse areas of scientific inquiry. Students are encouraged to take this opportunity to learn new experimental approaches and techniques. The ability to think broadly and approach a question from different directions is a defining characteristic of a successful modern biologist, and lab rotations help to develop this skill. In addition, lab rotations are opportunities for acquiring personal contacts, and learning about your prospective Major professor and his/her laboratory.

As a graduate student, you will be part of a larger community of researchers within our Department. By developing contacts within this community you will identify faculty members who may serve on your graduate committee and meet other graduate students who can provide scientific insight and technical expertise.

Rotations also aid in the selection of the Major professor, who will serve as mentor and principal research advisor; this choice is one of the most important career decisions for a professional scientist. In choosing a Major professor, the student is selecting not only a most influential scientific personality, but also the general topic of research, the model organism of study, a specific battery of research techniques, a portfolio of professional contacts, and a cadre of co-workers with whom the student will spend many hundreds of hours over several years.

For these and other reasons, the faculty of CMB requires a minimum of two rotations for their graduate students. Rotation periods are flexible, but must last at least six weeks. At the end of each rotation, students will submit a short report to their rotation advisor, which will include the initial goals, the procedures used and techniques learned, and the results achieved. A written evaluation of each rotation will be completed by the rotation advisor and submitted to the DGC.

Rotation reports and evaluations must be submitted to the DGC before the next rotation can begin.

Any exceptions to the rotation policy must be approved by the DGC.

Exemption from a second rotation may be granted by petition to the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, and will require justification and approval by the student's advisor. If a student has applied to our Graduate Program with the explicit goal of working with a specific advisor and does not wish to carry out a second rotation, he or she may request an exception, outlining the rationale for declining the second rotation. This request must be accompanied by a letter from the prospective Major professor explaining why the decision not to participate in a second research rotation is in the best interest of the student. M.S. Plan II students are not required to complete rotations.

D. First Year Evaluation

At the end of the second semester in residence (not counting summers) all students will undergo a first Year evaluation administered by the DGC. A positive evaluation must be received for the student to remain in good standing. The evaluation will consider the student's progress and take into account the following:

  • Courses taken and grades.
  • Seminar class performance.
  • Attendance at departmental seminars.
  • Reports from rotation advisors.
  • Student's acceptance into a research lab.
  • Other information as required by the DGC.

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E. Committee Meetings

All students must form and meet with their thesis/dissertation committee no later than the third semester following admission (not counting summer sessions). For Ph. D. students, the first meeting will focus on the qualifying exam topic. For M.S. students, the first committee meeting will focus on their research plan. After passing their qualifying exam, Ph. D. students must meet with their committee during their 5th semester (not counting summer sessions) to discuss their research plan. In addition, all students must convene a meeting of their committee, at which a majority of the members are present, at least once per calendar year to discuss their progress until graduation.

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F. Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

The Cell and Molecular Biology Division requires graduate students to pass a qualifying exam in their second year.  This exam serves to develop and reinforce the skills required for developing experimental programs to test hypotheses and to communicate scientific ideas in a concise manner.  Students unable to successfully demonstrate these skills will fail the examination and will not remain as doctoral candidates in the program.  The exam has three components: 1) a written thesis proposal, 2) an exam to test general foundational knowledge that is necessary for a successful career in cell and molecular biology research, and 3) an oral defense of the written proposal. Details on these three sections are found below.  The dissertation committee will evaluate the student's performance.  At any point during these three exam components, the committee may decide that the student has an unconditional pass and can move on to the next component; a conditional pass in which the student needs to go back and make improvements before moving on or that the student needs to take extra coursework; or in rare situations, the student has failed without recourse. 

Written Proposal

The student will prepare a written thesis proposal based on their planned research.  This proposal will be written as either an NIH F31 proposal or an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG).  During the student's first committee meeting, the format will be decided by the committee.  The formatting guidelines for both are found below, and will be strictly enforced. 

The dissertation committee will read the document and indicate to the committee chair within a two-week period whether the proposal is defendable as is, if it would be defendable with some specified rewriting, or is unacceptable.  The committee chair will communicate these results to the student.  Proposals deemed unacceptable will result in a failure of the qualifying exam.  

NIH F31 format: In this format, the student will write a proposal based on their planned research using the specific aims page and the research strategy section formats from an F31 proposal.  This document will be limited to 7 pages, single spaced 0.5" margins and 11 pt Georgia, Palatino Linotype, Helvetica or Arial fonts. 

I. Specific Aims (maximum 1 page): The purpose of this page is to concisely indicate the general hypothesis, the rationale, the specific hypotheses and predictions to be tested.  The aims will also be listed with a brief description of the tasks to be undertaken.  Two or more specific aims need to be developed.  At least one of the specific aims must be fully independent of anything that the student's mentor has ever proposed in a grant application, it must be plausible, directly related to the other aims and the overall program, and, in the best case, something the student would actually carry out as part of their dissertation research.

II. Research Strategy (maximum 6 pages):

A. Significance (suggested length 0.5 to 1 page):  Describe and justify the question to be addressed.  Use this section to indicate the importance of the research question.  Explain what is needed for the field to progress.  Then explain how the proposed research will meet this need.  

B. Approach (suggested length 5 to 5.5 pages):  The purpose of this section is to clearly describe how you will test the central hypothesis by providing for each aim an overall rationale and strategy for the proposed work.  The experimental approach will also be explained, which will include methodology and how the data will be analyzed and interpreted.  Lastly, potential problems and alternative strategies should be indicated.  An introductory section and a final synthesis paragraph are recommended.  

NSF DDIG Format:  Similar to the F31 format, the student will write a proposal based on their planned thesis research, but in the format of a DDIG proposal, which will include a project summary and a project description.  This document is limited to 9 pages, single spaced with 1" margins.  Times New Roman, and Computer Modern Family of Fonts are allowed at 11 points or larger.  Alternatively, Arial or Palatino Linotype may be used at a font size of 10 points or larger. 

I. Project Summary (maximum 1 page): This section must contain an overview of the proposed research, including a concise description of the question, the general hypothesis, and the aims to be tested. At least one of the specific aims must be fully independent of anything that the student's mentor has ever proposed in a grant application, it must be plausible, directly related to the other aims and the overall program, and, in the best case, something the student would actually carry out as part of their dissertation research. This section should also include a section that describes the intellectual merit of the proposed research.  The intellectual merit will address the importance of the proposed research to advancing knowledge by overcome existing barriers, technical or conceptual, in the specific field of study, or more generally over several fields of research.

II. Project description (maximum 8 pages): This section should include a brief overview of the dissertation project including its scientific significance and experimental approach.  It should next provide a detailed description of each question(s) to be addressed, details on experimental design, expected results, analysis and interpretation of these results.  The committee will expect to see a description of potential problems and alternative strategies for each aim.

Exam of General Knowledge

The purpose of this portion of the qualifying exam is to test and reinforce the students' foundation for research in advanced cellular and molecular biology that they acquired over their first year in the program.  The exam will be composed of a series of three take-home essay questions that the student will receive within a week of turning in their written proposal.  The student will have a minimum of two weeks to work on these questions and provide the committee their answers.  

Each member of the student's thesis committee, except for the student's mentor, will generate an essay question that relates to fields supportive of and/or peripheral to the student's main thesis work.  For example, a student proposing genomic analysis of gene expression may be asked questions related to transcriptional regulation.  A proposal dealing with behavioral neurobiology may be asked questions related to synaptic function and plasticity.  Cancer biologists may be asked questions related to cell differentiation.  In case there are four committee members, the committee will select three questions.  Each committee member will read and grade the essay.  Grades will be assigned as, high pass, pass, needs remedial work, or fail based on agreement of all committee members.  If the grade is "needs remedial work", the committee will decide what that work will be. Solutions may include but are not limited to extra coursework, writing a review paper, or retaking the written exam with new questions. 

Oral Defense of Proposal

The research proposal will be defended at a meeting of all dissertation committee members.  The oral defense cannot proceed if a member is not in attendance.  Under extraordinary circumstances, a committee member may be allowed to attend the oral defense through video conferencing, which may include skype.  The student will give a succinct (approximately 30 minutes) oral presentation of the proposal. The committee will question the student during and after the presentation.  In general, the presentation followed by questioning will last for approximately 2 hours.  The questions will cover specifics of the proposal, information in the student's general area of study, general knowledge of molecular and cellular biology, problem-solving abilities, and other areas as determined by the dissertation committee.  The committee will use this oral defense to probe the student's conceptual and technical understanding of the proposed experiments.  The committee will frequently continue to ask the student questions until they reach the end of the student's understanding.   

Due Dates for Qualifying Exam Components

Component Fall Matriculation Spring Matriculation
1st Committee Meeting November 1st, 2nd year April 1st, 2nd year
Written Proposal February 1st, 2nd year September 1st, 2nd year
Exam of General Knowledge February 21st, 2nd year September 21st, 2nd year
Oral Defense of Proposal April 1st, 2nd year November 1st, 2nd year

Students that do not complete all three qualifying exam components by the end of their second year shall receive an unsatisfactory grade for their research hours for that second semester of their second year. The student will continue to receive an unsatisfactory grade for research hours for every following semester until they complete the exam or change degree plans to a Masters in Science.  A student that accumulates a total of 12 credits of unsatisfactory grades in courses and research hours will be automatically dismissed from the University.

Students who are given the option to retake the qualifying exam, but are unable to reschedule or retake in the second semester of their second year will be given a grade of incomplete for their research hours.  The grade will be changed to an "S" or "U" depending on whether the student retakes or does not retake the exam in the following academic session (summer or spring semester). Every effort should be made for the student to retake the exam by the end of their second year in the program.  If prolonged absence of a committee member would make it impossible for a student to meet this requirement, that committee member will be replaced.

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G. Thesis or Dissertation Research

  1. General Considerations.
    Each student whose objective is the M.S. Plan I or Ph.D. degree is expected to commence graduate research as soon as possible. It should be recognized that research is an integral component of the degree requirements and that failure to maintain an adequate program of research constitutes unsatisfactory progress toward a degree.
  2. Safety
    Each student must read a book on laboratory Safety (copies are available in the department Office) and state in the program of studies that this has been done. As appropriate to their research objectives, students must attend and pass courses offered by the University's Environmental and Physical Safety Department to assure familiarity with handling of radioactive materials and disposal of chemicals. Research involving human subjects must be submitted to and approved by the Committee or the Protection of Human Subjects. Likewise, use of animals and recombinant DNA must be approved by appropriate University of Houston committees.

  3. Nature of Thesis or Dissertation
    The doctoral dissertation must provide clear documentation that the candidate possesses the ability to systematically plan and carry out research on a significant research problem which constitutes an original contribution to the field of Cell and Molecular Biology. Satisactory completion of the dissertation shall include a demonstration that the candidate is able to organize data and express research findings in writing in an accepted manner. It is an expectation that the data gathered for a doctoral dissertation will result in at least one publication in a refereed journal or other refereed medium of publication with the candidate as senior author.

    The laboratory research thesis submitted by an M.S. Plan I candidate must give evidence of the ability to conduct an independent and original investigation on a defined research problem.

    The non-laboratory thesis submitted by the M.S. Plan II candidate must provide evidence of the ability to research and critically evaluate a problem of interest to the cell and molecular biology community.

    All students will be expected to be knowledgeable of contemporary methods and concepts in cell and molecular biology.
  4. Preparation of Thesis or Dissertation
    1. Permission to write and defend the dissertation
      Ph.D. students will need to obtain formal permission to write and defend their dissertation from their dissertation committee. The “Dissertation Committee Permission Form” will need to be signed by all committee members and turned in to the Graduate Coordinator no later than the end of the semester prior to the anticipated semester of the defense. It is recommended, but not mandatory, that the student have a committee meeting at that time in order for the committee to be aware of the student progress and make final recommendations before the defense. It is expected that the student make progress towards graduation within a year of filing the form.
    2. Format
      Guidelines regarding style, number of copies, binding, etc. are available from the College of Natural Science and Mathematics Office. These standards shall serve as those of the Department.
    3. Submission
      The student is responsible for ensuring that each member of the committee has an opportunity to examine the thesis or dissertation, after approval for distribution by the major professor. The defense will generally not be held any sooner than two weeks after the distribution of a thesis or dissertation to committee members.
    4. Costs:
      The student is responsible for the fees and cost of preparing the thesis or dissertation.
  5. Submission and Defense of the Proposal
    Each student must submit and defend the thesis/dissertation when it is in final form. Part of the defense will include the presentation of a seminar open to the public. Following this seminar, a formal defense/examination will take place, which is open to any faculty member of the University community. Despite the open nature of the defense, the thesis or dissertation committee has sole responsibility in deciding whether or not the examination is passed. In order for a student to pass the examination, an affirmative vote by the major professor and no more than one negative vote by other committee members must be recorded.

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H. Special Considerations

  1. Change in Degree Plan
    A student who wishes to change from a M.S. plan I to a Ph.D. degree objective before the completion of the M.S. degree shall submit a formal petition to the DGC. If approved, the DGC will speciy parameters of the approval and the petitioner will be subject to all the requirements relevant to the Ph.D. degree plan.

    A student who wishes to change from Ph.D. to a M.S. plan I or II degree objective must submit a formal petition to the DGC. In some cases, this petition may originate from the student's dissertation committee. After consultation with all parties involved, the DGC will approve or deny the petition.

    A student who wishes to change from an M.S. plan II to a Ph.D. degree must reapply to the graduate program.
  2. Off Site Research
    A student employed full-time in a research capacity in the immediate Houston area can petition the DGC that their graduate research be carried out jointly under the supervision of the candidate's employer (or immediate supervisor) and a member of the faculty of the Division. The employer or supervisor is expected to have an academic or professional standing equivalent to a faculty position. The petition requires approval of the employer, the Division and the College. The intent of a thesis or dissertation is not changed—the need to demonstrate an ability to carry out individual research still exists. This may require a modification of the student's responsibilities to his/her employer, and professional ethics dictate that the student and the student's committee make certain that the employer understands and accepts this adjustment before petitioning.
  3. Reinstatement of a Student in Good Standing
    A former student who has left the graduate program in good standing, prior to the completion of all degree requirements may resume studies with approval of the DGC, the Department, and the College (see paragraph I below).

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I. College and University Requirements

All students in the Division of Cell and Molecular Biology must abide by any additional regulations and requirements set forth by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and the University of Houston. There are, for example, limitations on the number of years that a student may be supported as a Graduate Assistant. There are also time limitations regarding the Graduate Assistant Tuition fellowship. Students should check the Graduate and Professional Studies catalog for these regulations.

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J. Recommended Time Tables

Listed below are recommended timetables for the completion of a Ph.D. degree depending upon the semester entering the program. M.S. Plan I students should follow these timetables for the first two semesters, and form a thesis committee no later than their third semester (not counting summers).

Ph.D. Students Entering in the Fall

First Semester (Fall)

  • Courses
    • BIOL6307: Advanced Cell Biology
  • Begin Rotations

Second Semester (Spring)

  • Courses:
    • BIOL6371: Molecular Genetics
    • Graduate electives
    • Cell Biology Seminar
  • Continue rotations
  • Choose research lab/advisor
  • First year evaluations
Third Semester (Fall)
  • Courses:
    • Graduate electives
    • Seminar course elective
  • Meeting with dissertation committee about qualifying exam proposal and proposal approval by November 1.
  • Laboratory research

Fourth Semester (Spring)

  • Courses:
    • Electives/seminars
    • Qualifying examination
      • February 1: Proposal due to committee
      • March: Oral Examination
  • Laboratory research

Fifth Semester and Beyond

  • Courses:
    • Electives/seminars
  • Laboratory research
  • Annual meeting with committee
Ph. D. Students Entering in the Spring

First Semester (Spring)

  • Courses:
    • BIOL6371: Molecular Genetics
    • Graduate electives
    • Cell Biology Seminar Course
  • Begin rotations
Second Semester (Fall)
  • Courses:
    • BIOL6307 Advanced Cell Biology
  • Continue Rotations
  • Choose research lab/advisor
  • First year evaluations

Third Semester (Spring)

  • Courses:
    • Graduate electives
    • Seminar course elective
  • Meeting with Dissertation committee
  • Laboratory research

Fourth Semester (Fall)

  • Courses:
  • Electives/seminars
  • Meeting with dissertation committee about qualifying exam proposal by November 1
  • Laboratory research
Fifth Semester (Spring)
  • Courses:
    • Electives/seminars
  • Qualifying examination:
    • February 1: Proposal due to committee
    • March: Oral Examination
  • Laboratory research

Sixth Semester and Beyond

  • Courses:
    • Electives/seminars
  • Laboratory research
  • Annual meeting with committee

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K. Graduate Level Courses Offered

  • BIOL 6110: Biology Seminar. Current research topics in modern biology presented by top scientists from around the state and country.
  • BCHS 6201: Methods in Molecular Biology. Current methods and techniques in molecular biology. Bacterial host strains, expression systems, mutagenesis, DNA library construction and screening, DNA mapping and sequencing and polymerase chain reaction methods.
  • BCHS 6203: Enzyme Mechanisms. Principles and methods or the evaluation of enzyme reaction mechanisms, emphasizing established and newly developed biochemical, biophysical and molecular biological approaches.
  • BCHS 6204: Elements of Protein Structure. Taxonomy of protein structure with illustration of the common families of protein structure as well as simple protein structural motifs. Examples taken from the crystallographic and NMR literature.
  • BIOL 6204: Evolution. Advanced topics in the study of Evolution. Course content ranges from Molecular and Developmental aspects to population and ecological aspects.
  • BCHS 6205: Cell Signaling. Biochemistry of cellular responses to environmental signals at the molecular level.
  • BCHS 6206: Molecular Modeling of Biological Macromolecules. Advanced computer-based molecular modeling methods, with emphasis on their practical aspects and limitations. Individual research projects using UNIX-based Silicon Graphics computers.
  • BCHS 6208: Biochemistry of Organelles. Organization of mitochondrial and chloroplast membranes. Biochemical and biophysical aspects of electron transfer in photosynthetic organelles. Molecular organization of genes and proteins involved in biochemical energy transduction.
  • BCHS 6209: Protein Biosynthesis. Aspects of protein synthesis including ribosome structure, ribosomal RNA structure and function, translation inhibitors, identification of tRNAs, and involvement of tRNA in coding/decoding.
  • BCHS 6210: Mobile DNA and Genome fluidity. Mechanisms of transposition and recombination by DNA elements.
  • BIOL 6211: Human Genetics. Analysis of the molecular basis of human genetic disease, and strategies or the ethical, social and medical treatment of genetic defects.
  • BIOL 6213: Biological Clocks.. Molecular, cellular, and physiological aspects of biological timing mechanisms.
  • BIOL 6216: Biological Membranes. Structure, metabolism, and biochemical interactions of membrane components. Molecular mechanisms of membrane phenomena.
  • BCHS 6217: Molecular Mechanisms of Infectious Disease. Molecular and cellular aspects of host-pathogen interactions and immune response; structure and function of virulence actors. Principles of antibiotic and vaccine design.
  • BCHS 6218: Molecular Mechanisms of Host-Pathogen Interactions. Molecular basis of interactions between microbial pathogens and the host immune system. Pathogen molecular mimicry, host response modulation, and design and construction of vaccines. Contemporary approaches or experimental investigation of host-pathogen interactions.
  • BIOL 6297: 6397: Selected Topics in Biology. Topics vary, may be taken or a maximum of six semester hours.
  • BIOL 6307: Advanced Cell Biology. Topics and techniques in cell biology with emphasis on vesicular transport, cell motility, and other cellular processes.
  • BIOL 6315: Neuroscience. Molecular, cellular and behavioral principles of nervous system function, including aspects of development, learning and memory, and evolution. (together with BIOL4315)
  • BIOL 6371: Molecular Genetics. The molecular biology and genetics of bacteriophages, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes.
  • BIOL 6374: Cell Biology. Composition, organization and function of cells at the molecular level. (together with BIOL4374)
  • BIOL 6384: Developmental Biology. Cellular differentiation, growth and morphogenesis of developing biological systens. (together with BIOL4384)
  • BIOL 6424: Techniques of Animal Experimentation in Health and Disease. Ethics and techniques in the use of the common laboratory species in teaching and research.
  • BIOL 7124: Cell Biology Seminar. Presentations from the literature and discussion of current topics in cell biology. May be repeated or credit.
  • BIOL 7323: Microbiology Seminar. Discussion and literature review of contemporary topics in cell biology. May be repeated or a maximum of nine semester hours.
  • BIOL 7341: Genetics Seminar. Discussion and literature review of contemporary topics in genetics. May be repeated or credit.
  • BIOL 7374: Seminar in Developmental Biology. Discussion and literature review of contemporary topics in Developmental biology. May be repeated or credit.
  • BIOL 6199, 6299, 6399, 7399, 7699: Master's Thesis.
  • BIOL 8198, 8298, 8398, 8498, 8598: Doctoral Research.
  • BIOL 8199, 8299, 8399, 8699, 8999: Doctoral Dissertation.
  • Senior-Level (Undergraduate) Courses Offered
  • BCHS 4302: Physical Biochemistry I. Theoretical aspects and applications of physics and physical chemistry or the study of biological macromolecules. Equilibrium and Non-equilibrium methods.
  • BCHS 4303: Physical Biochemistry II. Theoretical aspects and applications of physics and physical chemistry. Non-equilibrium and spectroscopic methods.
  • BCHS 4306: Nucleic Acids. Structure, metabolism, and functions of nucleotides and nucleic acids.
  • BCHS 4307: Proteins. Structure and function of proteins.
  • BCHS 4312: Molecular Modeling of Biological Macromolecules. Computer-based molecular modeling methods, with emphasis on their practical aspects and limitations. Individual research projects using UNIX-based Silicon Graphics computers.
  • BCHS 4314: Biochemistry of Lipids and Carbohydrates. Structure, metabolism, and function of carbohydrates, glycoconjugates and simple and complex lipids.
  • BIOL 4320: Molecular Biology. Molecular processes involved in biological systems and methods or their study, including recombinant DNA techniques and other modern research applications.
  • BIOL 4323: Immunology. Structural and functional aspects of the immune system. Antigens, antibodies, and antigen-antibody and cellular reactions.
  • BIOL 4373: Microbial Physiology. The structure, growth, metabolic activities, and morphogenesis of microorganisms.
  • BIOL 3306: Evolutionary Biology. Origins and maintenance of biological diversity and the mechanisms of phenotypic change.

Note: No more than nine semester hours of senior-level courses can count toward the graduate degrees.

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L. Interinstitutional Agreements

The University of Houston has reciprocal arrangements with Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University that enable graduate students to take a limited amount of graduate-level course work at these institutions for credit. There is no payment of fees and tuition at the host institution, and a simplified enrollment procedure is used. Courses may also be taken at other institutions in the Houston area, but additional paperwork and fees may apply. The student must notify the Graduate Coordinator prior to the beginning of the semester to fill out the appropriate forms. For more information, see the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs.

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