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Biochemistry Doctoral Program

Ph.D. program

South Dakota State University's Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.  To be formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, a student must pass a comprehensive examination based on critical assessment of the recent biochemistry literature as well as student knowledge commensurate with successful completion of CHEM 548, CHEM 705, BIOS 662 and BIOS 665.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 student's 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.

Students can either pick a research advisor at SDSU or do transitional research with Sanford Research in Sioux Falls.

Research facilities

The Department is home to multiple state of the art fluorescence microscopes for the analysis of biochemical reactions involving purified molecules and within living cells.  These instruments including spinning disk confocal microscope, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, targeted photo-bleaching, instrumentation for ensemble and single molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) experiments and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and optogenetics capabilities.  The department also houses cell/tissue culture facilities, large-and small-scale protein purification equipment and biophysical characterization capabilities including an Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.  Campus computer facilities (including a Beowulf supercomputer cluster) are readily available.  Individual groups maintain their own system for molecular modeling, word processing or data manipulation.  Direct, on-line computer access to chemical and biochemical literature databases such as Chemical Abstracts and Web of Science are provided by the Department.


Biochemistry Core Courses

  • BIOS 662: Advanced Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • BIOS 665: Cell Biology
  • CHEM 548: Biophysical Chemistry
  • CHEM 705: Principles of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 760: Laboratory Rotations in Biochemistry
  • CHEM 790: Seminar
  • CHEM 898D: Dissertation - PhD
  • GSR 601: Research Regulations Compliance


Biochemistry Electives

  • 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


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