Skip to main content

Biochemistry M.S./Ph.D. Requirements

Expand All

  1. Selection of Major Professor
    Each student is required to select, by mutual agreement, a primary, secondary or jointly appointed member of the faculty of the Division of Biochemistry as a thesis or dissertation advisor (major professor) who, with the thesis (M.S. Plan I), study (M.S. Plan II), or dissertation (Ph.D.) committee, will supervise the student’s graduate studies. This faculty member will chair the committee. A faculty advisor should be selected by the end of the first long semester (Fall or Spring) but in no case later than the end of the 2nd long semester of residence in the program.

    The Chair of the student’s committee shall be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member with primary or secondary appointment or voting privileges in the Biochemistry Division of the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. A student may also choose a faculty member from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry who does not hold any appointment in the Division of Biochemistry provided that, as with any Biochemistry candidate, the student meets all the requirements of the Biochemistry graduate program, including those on committee composition, course work and the biochemistry comprehensive and oral qualifying examinations.

  2. Selection of Committee
    In consultation with the major professor, the student shall select, by mutual agreement, faculty members to serve on the thesis, study, or dissertation committee. The committee should be chosen within the 30 day period following selection of the advisor, but in no case after the end of the 2nd long semester of residence. Failure to meet this requirement may result in dismissal from the program. The membership of this committee is subject to approval by the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, the Chair of the Department and Dean of the college. The major functions of this committee are to approve a program of studies for the student, to administer the necessary oral qualifying examinations and final examinations, and to evaluate the student’s progress. 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 suitable substitute. The appointment to committees of faculty members from other institutions as the outside member is encouraged.

  3. Composition of Committee
    A Master’s Thesis (Plan I) or Study (Plan II) Committee shall consist of at least three members. These shall include the major professor, one other member from the Division including emeritus faculty, and one member who shall be from outside the Department of Biology & Biochemistry. Research faculty may not chair the committee but may serve on the committee in addition to the core of three committee members who must be tenured or tenure-track faculty.

    A Doctoral Dissertation Committee shall consist of at least four members. These shall include the major professor, one other member of the Division including emeritus faculty, one member who may belong to any Division within the department, and one member who shall be from outside the Department of Biology & Biochemistry. At least one-half of the committee must be composed of tenured or tenure-track faculty members with primary appointments in the Division of Biochemistry. Research faculty may not chair the committee but may serve on the committee in addition to the core of four committee members who must be tenured or tenure-track faculty.

    For the purpose of establishing a Thesis, Study, or Dissertation Committee, a Biology & Biochemistry faculty member holding a secondary appointment in the Division of Biochemistry shall be considered to be from outside the Division. A faculty member with joint appointment in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry is considered as an external member, unless (s)he chairs the committee.

  4. Research Faculty
    Research faculty with primary appointments in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry will be allowed to serve on thesis and dissertation committees and participate in all committee activities. However, they will not be allowed to vote on questions regarding student progress. For purposes of committee structure their Division affiliation will not be considered. No more than one research faculty member can serve on a thesis or dissertation committee.

Faculty with primary appointments in the Biochemistry Division are currently S. Bark, T. Bawa, J. Briggs, G. Fox, R. Fox, M. Fujita, X. Gao, P. Gunaratne, Y. Liu, R. Schwartz, M. Sen, M. Umetani, Y. Wang, Z. Weihua, W. Widger, and H.-Y. Yeo. Emeritus faculty include J. Eichberg and S.-C. Tu.

Prior to each committee meeting the student will be responsible for obtaining appropriate forms to document the meeting. These will be filled out by the major professor and committee members as appropriate. The student will then be responsible for delivering the appropriate forms to the graduate advisory office to insure that accurate records of progress are in place. Students should also provide committee members with a copy of the previous meeting report prior to the meeting.

The student should prepare and submit a program of studies to the Graduate Advisor and his/her thesis, study, or dissertation committee within 60 days after choosing an advisor but in no case later than the end of the 2nd long semester of residence. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program. The program of studies must be approved at a meeting of the student’s thesis, study, or dissertation committee. The written program consists of:

  1. A title page with spaces for appropriate approval signatures;
  2. A short biographical sketch and a brief statement of the student’s career goals;
  3. A list of the science and mathematics courses (both undergraduate and graduate) taken by the individual and the grades obtained;
  4. A statement of the degree objective and a list of the courses the student plans to take to fulfill the course requirements for this degree;
  5. A statement verifying that the student has completed required safety courses (radiation, chemical, and biological safety);
  6. A brief statement of the research project, not more than one page in length, for M.S. Plan I and Ph.D. candidates or a study proposal for M.S. Plan II candidates. Any specialized safety considerations pertaining to the proposed work should be described;
  7. A schedule for completion of the various degree requirements, especially the examinations;
  8. A copy of the Program of Studies furnished to each committee member. Changes in the program of studies shall be in written form and must be approved by the thesis, study, or dissertation committee. The original signed copy shall be deposited in the student’s file in the department office;
  9. An updated program of studies should be distributed to each committee member before each subsequent committee meeting.
  1. Total Semester Hours
    The minimum semester hour requirements, per University policy, are:
    • M.S. (Plan I) - 30 semester credit hours
    • M.S. (Plan II) - 36 semester credit hours
    • Ph.D. - 54 semester credit hours

    These hour requirements should be met by the time the student has had sufficient time in residence in the program to meet all the requirements for graduation.

  2. Specific Course Requirements
    All students must fulfill the core course requirements for the intended degree as described below.
    1. M.S. Plan I core requirement (16 hours)
      • Graduate Biochemistry series: BCHS 6226, 6227, 6228 and 6229;
      • BCHS 6230 and 6231: Graduate Biochemistry Lab Rotation I and II, respectively;
      • Four additional hours in formal graduate courses offered by the Division of Biochemistry.
    2. M.S. Plan II core requirement (20 hours)
      • Graduate Biochemistry series: BCHS 6226, 6227, 6228 and 6229;
      • BCHS 6230 and 6231: Graduate Biochemistry Lab Rotation I and II, respectively;
      • Eight additional hours in formal graduate courses, of which at least four hours must be in courses offered by the Division of Biochemistry.
    3. Ph.D. core requirement (20 hours)
      • Graduate Biochemistry series: BCHS 6226, 6227, 6228 and 6229;
      • BCHS 6230 and 6231: Graduate Biochemistry Lab Rotation I and II, respectively;
      • Eight additional hours in formal graduate courses, of which at least four hours must be in courses offered by the Division of Biochemistry.
  3. Course limitations for all graduate degrees in Biochemistry
    For the purpose of fulfilling the above core course requirements, the following courses are not acceptable:
    • BCHS 6113: Graduate Seminar
    • BCHS 6125: Seminar in Nucleic Acids
    • BCHS 6X98: Special Problems
    • BCHS 6X99: Master’s Thesis
    • BCHS 8X98: Doctoral Research
    • BCHS 8X99: Doctoral Dissertation
  4. Seminar requirements
    Graduate students are required to enroll in BCHS 6113: Graduate Biochemistry Seminar every long semester until they pass the oral qualifying examination. Thereafter, they are required to enroll in a seminar course at least once per academic year beginning with the long semester after the oral qualifying examination is passed. Any one credit hour seminar course offered by the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, subject to approval by the student’s Major Advisor, will meet this requirement.
  5. Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Courses
    All students should avoid enrolling in Doctoral Dissertation or Master’s Thesis courses until the semester in which they will graduate. Instead they should enroll in the appropriate number of Special Problems and/or Doctoral Research hours needed to meet enrollment requirements. MS Plan II students in particular do not enroll for Master’s Thesis hours.
  6. Course Transfers
    In general, a maximum of six approved credit hours for the M.S. degrees and a maximum of 8 approved credit hours for the Ph.D. degree may be transferred from another institution with an acceptable academic ranking. The student must have received a grade of B or better in any course for which transfer credit is requested. In addition, a Master’s degree with thesis can be used to waive up to 2 credit hours of non-BCHS elective courses. Transfer credit will typically not be given for the required courses; BCHS 6226, 6227, 6228 and 6229. Transfer credit may be requested or offered at the time of admission to the program according to the recommendations of the Biochemistry members of the Graduate Committee and with approval of the Biochemistry Division Policy Leader. Alternatively, transfer credit may be requested at the Program of Studies Meeting, subject to approval by the Committee and the Biochemistry Division Policy Leader. Such transfer credit can be formal in that, after approval of an appropriate petition, it appears on a student’s UH record. Alternatively, transfer credit may be informal subject to the approval of the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs in which case it will not show up on the student’s UH record. In no case can transfer credit exceed the limits set forth by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the University of Houston.
  7. Limitation on Undergraduate Courses
    No undergraduate courses may apply toward the graduate degrees.
  8. Coursework Performance Requirements
    Per University regulations, graduate students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in all course work attempted for graduate credit to be considered in good standing. Students not in good standing cannot receive a graduate degree, can be declared ineligible for support as a Graduate Assistant (TA or RA), and will be ineligible for the Graduate Tuition Fellowship. 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.
  9. Rotation Requirements (BCHS 6230 and 6231)
    Graduate students are required to enroll in two laboratory rotation courses during their first year of study. The first rotation must be with a tenured or tenure track faculty member whose primary appointment is in the Biochemistry Division. The second rotation can be with any tenured or tenure track faculty member in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. The second rotation can also be done with tenured or tenure track faculty from other Departments that have a joint appointment in the Biochemistry Division. Rotations with research faculty will not satisfy the rotation course requirement. Each rotation course is to last seven weeks. The first rotation should begin at the beginning of the student’s first long semester in the program. The second rotation should be started no later than the first week of the student’s 2nd semester in the program and preferably beginning in the eighth week of the first semester. The student will submit a short report describing the purpose and experimental findings at the end of each course. This report and the student’s participation will be evaluated by the faculty member with whom the laboratory rotation was conducted. The head of the laboratory where the rotation was done will then forward a grade to the instructor of record who will coordinate the course. Any exceptions to the rotation policy must be approved by the faculty member who is coordinating the course.
  10. 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 count towards the student’s course requirements. Students who wish to take courses outside the Department need the approval of their thesis or dissertation committee and the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs in order to receive credit in their degree program. 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 Advisor 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 Graduate School.
  1. General Considerations
    Each student whose degree 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 Requirements and Other Regulations
    As appropriate to their research objectives and as required by University policy, students must attend and pass courses offered by Environmental Safety to assure familiarity with handling of radioactive materials and chemical disposal. Research involving human subjects must be submitted to and approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. Likewise, use of animals and recombinant DNA must be approved by appropriate University of Houston committees.
  3. Research Seminar
    Each M.S. Plan I and Ph.D. candidate shall present a formal research seminar to the department which discusses the student’s significant research accomplishments. The seminar shall be presented immediately prior to the final defense on the day of the defense.
  4. Nature of Thesis or Dissertation
    The thesis submitted by an M.S. Plan I candidate must give evidence of ability to conduct an independent and original investigation on a defined research problem. 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 biochemical sciences. Satisfactory completion of the dissertation shall include a demonstration that the candidate is able to organize data and express research findings in writing in an acceptable manner.

Each student is required to take a comprehensive written examination, which is intended to test mastery of the principles which underlie the biochemical sciences. The examination will be offered within three weeks of the end of the student’s second long semester. The examination will be prepared and administered by a member of the Division of Biochemistry core faculty designated by the Biochemistry Policy Leader. A grade of 70% or better will be considered passing. Students who fail the examination will be offered a single second chance. Depending on circumstances this may be a completely new examination or a selection of topics.

Before the end of their second year in the program each student pursuing a M.S. Plan I degree or the PhD degree will present their research plan and progress to their committee in detail. Based on the results of this meeting M.S. Plan I students will be advised as to what further progress is required before they can prepare and defend their thesis. Students pursuing the Ph.D. will be either approved to prepare their research proposal for the oral qualifying examination or required to hold a second research meeting within six months for reconsideration.

At the end of each long semester, the progress of all students enrolled in the Biochemistry graduate programs that have not yet advanced to candidacy will be evaluated. A positive evaluation must be received for a student to remain in good standing. Students that are not in good standing may lose eligibility for tuition fellowships, fee waivers, and/or teaching assistantships. In addition, they will face possible dismissal from the program.

The evaluation will consider the student’s progress based upon:

  1. Courses taken and grades;
  2. Performance as a TA (when information is provided by teaching faculty);
  3. Grades from rotation advisors and reports if any;
  4. The student’s acceptance into a research laboratory (major professor chosen);
  5. The formation of a thesis, study, or dissertation committee as consistent with the student’s program;
  6. Passing score on the comprehensive examination;
  7. Results of Initial Research Meeting with their committee;
  8. The timeliness of completion of the various requirements (see Section M);
  9. Other information as may be required.

The evaluation committee will consist of the Division of Biochemistry Policy Leader and the Biochemistry Division’s members of the Graduate Committee. At the committee’s discretion, students whose performance is in question may be asked to meet with the committee in person. Students that are found to not be in good standing will be reported to the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs and the Departmental Chair for possible punitive action.

  1. General Considerations
    The Division of Biochemistry shall consider a student to be a candidate for the PhD degree after successful completion of oral qualifying examination. In order to be eligible to take the oral examination the student must have completed all prior requirements. This includes selection of a committee, completion of a program of studies, completion of all required courses, passing of the written comprehensive examination and favorable recommendation from their most recent research meeting with their committee.
  2. Oral Qualifying Examination
    Each Ph.D. student in the program must take the oral qualifying examination prior to the end of their second full year in residency. Failure to do so will result in automatic dismissal from the PhD program. The qualifying examination shall be administered by the student’s dissertation committee. The examination shall consist of a written research proposal followed by an oral examination. Prior to scheduling of the oral examination, the student will prepare a written proposal directly related to the research they are conducting. This proposal will be circulated in hard and electronic copy to each committee member at least one month before the planned meeting. Based on response from the committee members the advisor will determine if the proposal is ready for oral presentation or requires revision prior to scheduling of the oral examination.

    During the oral examination, students will be asked to present and defend their proposal as well as to demonstrate a broad-based understanding of their field. If a student does not pass the examination he/she may, at the discretion of the dissertation committee, be allowed to retake the examination before the end of their 5th long semester. Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. shall not occur until a student has written a research proposal and successfully defended it before his/her dissertation committee. Details of the proposal format and expectations are provided in sections 3-5 below.

  3. Purpose of the Research Proposal
    A student should demonstrate in the research proposal and its defense that he/she:
    1. understands fundamental concepts of biochemistry and has gained detailed knowledge of a body of scientific literature and the ability to critically evaluate it;
    2. is able to formulate specific, plausible and testable hypotheses;
    3. is able to design controlled experiments that distinguish among competing hypotheses;
    4. is familiar with available biochemical technologies;
    5. understands the theory underlying the proposed techniques;
    6. is able to communicate about science orally and in writing.
  4. Proposal Subject
    The proposed research should either test a novel hypothesis (or series of related hypotheses) that is consistent with published data or constitute a novel experimental test of an existing hypothesis. The topic should be based on the student’s dissertation research project. At least one of the specific aims should be entirely the thought of the student. The student must avoid detailed copying of text and figures from the major professor’s proposals or published papers as this constitutes plagiarism.
  5. Proposal Format
    The format of the proposal should be essentially that of an NIH fellowship proposal. The proposal may not exceed 10 single spaced pages, with a font no smaller than 10 point and margins no smaller than 2 cm. The proposal should include the following sections:
    1. The Abstract (no more than 1/2 page) should briefly outline the hypothesis to be tested, the overall experimental strategy, and the significance of the proposed research.
    2. The Specific Aims (less than 1 page) section should state the hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested and briefly describe the experimental strategies to be used.
    3. The Background and Significance (1-3 pages) section should provide sufficient background that every member of the dissertation committee can understand the significance of the proposed research, but it should not include an exhaustive review of the literature. It should state concisely how the research contributes to understanding of the specific issues under investigation, and how this relates to larger issues in the field. If alternative approaches to the problem exist, the choice of approach should be justified. Describe how the proposed research improves upon previously published research.
    4. The Research Design and Methods (5-7 pages) section should describe relevant preliminary results, the proposed experiments, and how the results will be interpreted. The following issues (at least) should be addressed in this section: control experiments that exclude trivial explanations of the results; numbers of observations required and the statistical methods to be used; relevant characteristics of specialized methods and reagents; interpretations of the predicted outcomes; plausible alternative outcomes and their implications; potential technical difficulties and alternative strategies; other issues that may be relevant to specific projects. Minor experimental details (e.g. buffer concentrations) are not required.
    5. The Literature Cited (1-2 pages) section should include at least the name of the first author, title, book or journal, volume and page numbers, and year of publication of all literature cited in the proposal. The references should be organized alphabetically by author or by number In order of occurrence in the text. All publications listed should be cited in the text, either by author and year or by number.
  6. Examination Evaluation
    In order for a student to pass the examination, an affirmative vote by the major professor and no more than one negative vote by the other committee members must be recorded. Students may be approved for either M.S. Plan I only, or M.S. Plan I and the Ph.D. Students Passing the examination at either level will be considered as having completed the study proposal requirement for the M.S. Plan II degree.
  7. Reexamination
    If the student fails either part of the examination (fails to submit a satisfactory written proposal or fails the oral examination), his/her dissertation committee shall recommend a future course of action. This may include: remedial course work, repetition of the examination or termination of the student from the Ph.D. degree program. Such recommendation shall be given verbally, normally by the major professor, immediately after the examination and followed by a written notification within one week. Any recommended action must be completed before the end of the student’s 5th semester in the program. Failure to do this shall result in mandatory dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, all students should meet periodically with their Dissertation Committee to discuss research progress on a yearly basis, per College policy.

  1. General Considerations
    Each student must submit and defend the thesis/dissertation when it is in final form. Although any member of the University community may attend the final examination, the Thesis, Study, or Dissertation Committee has sole responsibility in deciding whether or not the examination is passed. Per College policies, any decision regarding the outcome of the defense (either pass or fail) requires full committee approval. If the committee cannot reach a consensus, then the committee chair should request an independent review of the thesis or dissertation by both the Department Chair and the Graduate Chair, or their designees. If the committee includes a research faculty member, he/she can participate in discussion but will not be allowed to vote.
  2. M.S. Plan I
    The candidate must defend a thesis. The examination will emphasize research achievements. In addition, competence in the candidate’s field of research will be expected.
  3. M.S. Plan II
    The candidate shall present and defend a formal report to the study committee. The candidate will critically evaluate and summarize a problem of biochemical interest and will be expected to be knowledgeable of contemporary methods and concepts in the biochemical sciences. A student that has passed the oral qualifying examination will be considered to have satisfied this requirement.
  4. Ph.D.
    The candidate must defend a dissertation. The examination will emphasize research achievements. In addition, competence in the candidate’s field of research and the biochemical sciences in general will be expected. A candidate who has passed the oral portion of the Ph.D candidacy examination, demonstrated satisfactory progress in research, and completed the formal course requirements for the Master’s Plan II may, upon the approval of the dissertation committee, be granted the M.S. Plan II degree.
  1. Change of Degree Objective
    A student who wishes to change from an M.S. Plan I to a Ph.D. degree objective before the completion of the M.S. degree must reapply for admission into the Ph.D. program. The request must be supported, in writing, by the student’s major advisor. Upon admission, the petitioner shall be subject to all the requirements relevant to the Ph.D. degree plan. If the deadlines for the Ph.D. qualifying examination that would apply had the student entered the program as a Ph.D. candidate have passed, deadlines for the completion of this examination shall be established by the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Committee at the time approval is granted.
  2. Off-Site Research Towards a Degree
    A candidate employed full-time in a research capacity in the immediate Houston area can petition that 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 of Biochemistry. The above supervisor normally is expected to hold a professional appointment in a scientific or educational institution. Such a situation normally requires that support and/or laboratory space is not available for the student within the Division of Biochemistry.

    The supporting petition requires approval of the employer or supervisor, the Division, and the College. A program of studies must be submitted with the petition. The intent of a thesis or dissertation is not changed. The need to demonstrate the ability to carry out individual research still exists. This may require a modification of the student’s responsibilities to the student’s employer. Professional ethics dictates that the student and the student’s committee should make certain that the employer understands and accepts this adjustment before petitioning.

  3. Return of Former Students
    A former student who left the graduate program prior to the completion of all degree requirements will need to reapply to the program and receive approval of the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Committee and the Division of Biochemistry Graduate Committee. Such students shall be subject to any other restrictions imposed by the College or University on students who have ceased to be enrolled.
Requirement Degree Fall admit* Spring admit
Finish Rotation 1 All Semester 1** (end of 7th week after 1st day of classes) Semester 1 (end of 7th week after 1st day of classes)
Finish Rotation 2 All Semester 1 (end of Final examination period) Semester 1 (end of Final examination period)
Choose advisor All Semester 1 (before end) Semester 1 (before end)
Form committee All Semester 2 (before January 30) Summer before Semester 2 (before June 30)
Program of studies meeting All Semester 2 (before January 30) Summer before Semester 2 (before June 30)
Comprehensive exam All Summer after Semester 2 (3rd week of June) After Semester 2 (2nd week of December)
Initial research meeting M.S. I / Ph.D. Semester 3 Semester 3
Qualifying examination
Proposal submission Ph.D. Semester 4 Semester 4
Oral exam Ph.D. Semester 4 (before end) Semester 4 (before end)
Additional research meetings All As appropriate As appropriate

* A student admitted in the Summer will follow the same timetable as students admitted in the Fall.

** Semesters refer to Fall and Spring (not Summer).

Failure to take oral exam before the end of Semester 4 will result in automatic termination from the Ph.D. program.

  • BCHS 6113: Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences Seminar
    Prerequisite: graduate standing. May be repeated for credit. Seminars presented by students, faculty, or outside speakers on current research or current biochemical literature.
  • BCHS 6X98: Special Problems
    Prerequisites: consent of instructor and approval of chair.
  • BCHS 6201: Methods in Molecular Biology
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 and BIOL 4320 or BCHS 4306 or equivalents or consent of instructor. 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
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3304 or equivalent and consent of instructor. Principles and methods for the evaluation of enzyme reaction mechanisms, established and newly developed biochemical, biophysical, and molecular biological approaches.
  • BCHS 6204: Elements of Protein Structure
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3304 or equivalent and consent of instructor. 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.
  • BCHS 6205: Cell Signaling
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 or equivalent and consent of instructor. Biochemistry of cellular responses to environmental signals at the molecular level.
  • BCHS 6206: Molecular Modeling of Biological Macromolecules
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3304 and CHEM 4370 or equivalents or consent of instructor. 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
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 or equivalent and consent of instructor. 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
    Prerequisite: BCHS 3304. 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
    Prerequisites: BIOL 3401 and BIOL 4320 or BCHS 4306 or equivalents or consent of instructor. Mechanisms of transposition and recombination by DNA elements.
  • BCHS 6211: Advanced Microbial Genetics
    Prerequisites: BIOL 3401 and BIOL 4320 or BCHS 4306 or equivalents or consent of instructor. Topics in bacterial and yeast genetics.
  • BCHS 6216: Biological Membranes (Also BIOL 6213)
    Prerequisites: consent of instructor. Structure, metabolism, and biochemical interactions of membrane components. Molecular mechanisms of membrane phenomena.
  • BCHS 6217: Molecular Mechanisms of Infectious Disease
    Host-pathogen interactions, including mechanisms of invasion and intracellular survival. Regulation of virulence gene expression. Host respnses and their manipulation by select pathogens. Current approaches for investigating pathogenesis, engineering bacterial toxins, and designing vaccines and antibiotics.
  • BCHS 6218: Molecular Mechanisms of Host-Pathogen Interactions
    Prerequisites: BIOL 2333 and 4374 and BCHS 3304 or equivalents or consent of instructor. Pathogen molecular mimicry, host response modulation, and design and construction of vaccines. Contemporary approaches for experimental investigation of host-pathogen interactions.
  • BCHS 6219: Cell Biology of Disease and Immunity
    Prerequisites: BIOL 2333 and 4374 and BCHS 3304 or equivalents or consent of instructor. Fundamental cellular processes in disease and immunity, including current experimental techniques. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of exploitation of host functions by microbial pathogens. Cellular and mucosal immunity.
  • BCHS 6226: Enzyme Catalysis and Kinetics
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 or equivalent and graduate standing or consent of instructor. Principles of enzymatic catalysis. Methods and principles of enzyme kinetic kinetic analysis.
  • BCHS 6227: Membranes and Signal Transduction
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 or equivalent and graduate standing or consent of instructor. Membrane biochemistry: metabolism, properties, and structures of membrane lipids; biochemistry of membrane proteins; structure and composition; physical techniques for study; lateral and transverse asymmetry; electrophysiological properties; permeability and partitioning; pores, channels, and transporters; signal tranduction.
  • BCHS 6228: Advanced Nucleic Acids
    Prerequisites: BCHS 4306 and graduate standing or consent of instructor. Nucleic acid structure, function, and interactions with proteins.
  • BCHS 6229: Protein Structure and Function
    BCHS 3305 or equivalent and graduate standing or consent of instructor. Protein structure/function relationships as exemplified in current structural biology literature.
  • BCHS 6230: Graduate Biochemistry Laboratory Rotation I
    Prerequisites: BCHS 3305 and BCHS 3201or consent of instructor. Instruction in contemporary concepts and research methodology in several areas of biochemistry.
  • BCHS 6231: Graduate Biochemistry Laboratory Rotation II
    Prerequisites: BCHS 6230. Instruction in contemporary concepts and research methodology in several areas of biochemistry.
  • BCHS 6X99: Master’s Thesis
  • BCHS 8X98: Doctoral Research
  • BCHS 8X99: Doctoral Dissertation

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.