Skip to main content

Biochemistry Ph.D. Program

Course Work

A student in the biochemistry doctoral program must earn 90 credits (60 with prior earned M.S. degree). Of that, a minimum of 24 credits are in course work, with the remaining credits in dissertation research. Three of the 24 credits are seminars. The biochemistry core courses (see list below) are required.

Biochemistry Core Courses

  • BIOS 662: Advanced Molecular Biology (First of a two-course sequence)
  • BIOL 743: Advanced Cell Biology (Second of the two-course sequence)
  • CHEM 548: Biophysical Chemistry
  • CHEM 705: Principles of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 760: Laboratory Rotations in Biochemistry
  • CHEM 790: Seminar
  • CHEM 898D: Dissertation - Ph.D.
  • GSR 601: Research Regulations Compliance

Additional Credits are from elective courses. Examples of elective courses are listed below.

Biochemistry Elective Courses

  • MICR 539: Medical/Veterinary Immunology
  • BIOS 663: Advanced Concepts in Infectious Disease
  • BIOS 664: Molecular Plant Physiology
  • BIOS 645: Microimaging Techniques
  • BIOS 645L: Microimaging Techniques Lab
  • BIOS 792: Epigenetics
  • CHEM 703: Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • CHEM 706: Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 736: Chromatography and Separations
  • CHEM 766: Biochemistry II
  • CHEM 781: Bioorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 791: Principles of Biophysical Microscopy
  • CHEM 792:
    • Systems Biology and Pathway Modeling
    • Macromolecular Structural Determination
    • Biochemical Methods
    • Systems Biology
    • Biochemical Approaches
    • Molecular Basis of Ped. Disease
    • Redox Biology
    • Neurochemistry
    • Protein Trafficking
    • Flow cytometry
    • Antibody Production
  • PS 792: Regulatory RNA
  • STAT 541: Statistical Methods II
  • Lab Rotations

Additional Information

A student is guided in doctoral work by a faculty advisor and an advisory committee. After completing lab rotations (CHEM 760), usually in the first semester, the student selects a member of the department biochemistry graduate faculty as academic advisor. Early in the student’s program, the faculty advisor assists the student in forming a Faculty Advisor Committee consisting three members of the department faculty including the faculty advisor and a graduate faculty representative appointed by the Graduate School. The faculty advisor, in collaboration with the Faculty Advisor Committee, provides guidance, advice and assistance as the student completes required tasks and proceeds through the graduate program.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry collaborates with Sanford Health, Sioux Falls in biochemistry research. Graduate students pursuing the biochemistry Ph.D. may elect to choose a Sanford Research scientist as faculty advisor.

To be formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, a student must pass a comprehensive exam based on critical assessment of the recent biochemistry literature as well as student knowledge commensurate with successful completion of the core courses. The exam will be offered twice annually (end of Fall Semester, end of Spring/beginning of Summer Semester) and students are allowed two attempts to successfully complete. Students must successfully pass the exam by the end of their second year in the program in order to continue.

After admission to candidacy the primary activity throughout the remainder of the graduate student's program is completion of the proposed research objectives. The degree requirements are completed when the written dissertation is defended before the faculty advisory committee. For a student entering with a bachelor's degree, it will typically take four to five years to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. program.