Note For the Current Academic Year:
Incoming PhD students should refer to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences section of this catalog. The following information is intended for incoming MS students, current MS and current PhD students. Questions about the future plans should be directed to the program director.
Biochemistry: Admission Requirements
Students are admitted only in the fall semester. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. Application review begins in early winter and the number of doctoral stipends is limited. Applications for admission to the program will be evaluated by the Graduate Program Committee of the Division of Biochemistry and, in special cases, the Graduate College Council. Applicants are encouraged to visit Rush University for an interview. Consideration for admission will include overall academic record, results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), letters of recommendation and especially interview results. Students must meet all Graduate College requirements. Medical students seeking an MS or PhD in Biochemistry must take a leave of absence from medical school and be formally accepted to the applicable program in The Graduate College.
Transfer students with an advanced degree in science may, upon the recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee, be admitted to the graduate program in biochemistry with advanced standing. The extent of advanced credit will be determined by the Graduate Program Committee on an individual basis through its credentials subcommittee. All advanced level entrants are urged to see the credentials subcommittee before matriculation.
Minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Program include a bachelor’s degree in any scientific discipline with a minimum grade point average (GPA) and GRE scores as defined by The Graduate College. More specific departmental course requirements are as follows: one year of general chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, one semester or quarter of analytical chemistry or physical chemistry, one year of general biology, one year of molecular, cellular or advanced biology, mathematics through calculus and one year of physics. At least one semester of biochemistry is highly recommended but not required. Students may be accepted with less than the minimum course requirements upon special action of the Graduate Program Committee, which may waive such requirements or require that the deficiency be rectified during the student’s first year of graduate study.
Biochemistry: Tuition Waivers/Stipends
The Graduate College determines tuition for full-time graduate students; however, tuition has historically been waived for students in a PhD program. Students in an MS program pay tuition. Most PhD students receive a research scholarship (stipend), while MS students do not. The research scholarship awarded to PhD students is a privilege, which is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress on the part of the student. No special application for this stipend need be made; the applicant must merely indicate in his or her cover letter that such a stipend is desired. Additional financial aid, including loans, is available through the Rush University Office of Student Financial Aid. It should be noted that the student is expected to be a full-time student. Part-time jobs are highly discouraged. The advisor (who will then inform the Director of Graduate Education in writing) must approve any special circumstances that necessitate a part-time job. It is intended that graduate students receive their stipends from the Division of Biochemistry until the student has passed his or her Preliminary Examination and, at the end of the first academic year, has selected a permanent advisor. From that time on, it will be the obligation of the student’s advisor to provide the student with financial support, including a stipend, from his or her extramural research funds as the student can now devote more time to research.
The research scholarship (stipend) is awarded to students for a period of five years with the understanding that they will devote their full time to graduate study activities and that they will make satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree. “Satisfactory progress” includes, but is not limited to, pursuit of the prescribed didactic course program, identification of a research advisor by the end of the second semester, passing the Preliminary Examination in the fall of their second academic year, presenting a research proposal by the end of the second academic year as specified by Departmental Rules and Regulations, and pursuing research activities toward the student’s dissertation with due diligence and effort. The Graduate College has mandated that the PhD must be awarded within seven years following matriculation. However, the Division of Biochemistry will enforce a five-year deadline, but will allow extensions that are justified and approved by the Graduate Program Committee.
Biochemistry: Research Interests
Members of the Division of Biochemistry’s faculty conduct a broad range of extramurally funded research activities. Many faculty members focus their research efforts on cartilage tissues, synovial joints and arthritic diseases. A strong interaction exists between practicing clinicians and members of the Division of Biochemistry, and sometimes leads to a full consolidation of research programs. The diverse interests of the faculty provide investigative expertise in the areas of connective tissue biochemistry, etiology of arthritis, animal models of arthritis, joint imaging, regulation of gene expression, cytokines and growth factors, signal transduction, biomechanics, tribology, musculoskeletal cell biology, cancer cell biology, cell membrane and lipid biochemistry and the application of clinical biochemistry to medical problems. Some of these research programs are joint efforts with other departments, giving the student an opportunity to interact with investigators in other disciplines as well as with clinicians and physician scientists. The departmental laboratories are fully equipped with instrumentation required for modern research in biochemistry, tissue culture and molecular biology.
Semester Hours Required
Total credit hours required for full-time student status and for graduation are determined by The Graduate College. The student must check with the Office of the Registrar before anticipated graduation as to whether or not all formal Graduate College requirements have been met.
Total Hours of Required Coursework, less BCH-595 hours: 45
A full-time student registers for a minimum of 12, 10, or 9 credit hours each semester depending on the semester. Credit hours not allocated to formal courses are made up by BCH 699 Biochemistry Doctoral Research for PhD students or BCH 598 Biochemistry Master Research for MS students. A student, however, should register for at least one BCH 699 or BCH 598 credit each semester even though the student may not have begun their laboratory research. A student not taking any formal courses must register for enough hours in BCH 699 of BCH 598 to be a full-time student. The 7 elective hours may be selected from other courses offered by the Division of Biochemistry or from coursework offered by other divisions, including those of other universities. Electives can be taken only after consultation with the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Education and final approval by the Director. Most required courses taken by the student must carry a letter grade (“A,” “B,” “C” or “F”); however, BCH 698 Introduction to Research, BCH 598 Biochemistry Master’s Research, BCH 699 Biochemistry Doctoral Research and some BCH 595 Journal Club credits are taken for a pass/no pass grade. Students must obtain a grade of “B” or better in BCH 571 , which is considered the biochemistry core course. Elective courses may be taken for a letter grade or a pass/no pass grade. Graduate students must maintain at least a “B” average (3.0) to remain in good academic standing in The Graduate College. The Department’s seminar program and the weekly workshops are to be considered as part of a student’s research experience. Attendance at seminars is mandatory throughout the entire graduate study at Rush. Attendance at the workshops is highly recommended since these sessions can greatly help a student prepare for and conduct their dissertation work. Since many of the themes presented at the workshops relate to dissertation projects, students may be queried as to their knowledge of seminar and workshop presentations at their Preliminary examination or “Dissertation Progress Meetings.”