Jul 20, 2024  
2018-19 Graduate Catalog 
2018-19 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Molecular Biosciences, Ph.D.

Jason R. Jessen, Program Director
(615) 898-2060

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Molecular Biosciences is an interdisciplinary program in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences that includes faculty from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematical Sciences. It is a rigorous, research-oriented course of study that aims to help students develop an understanding of cellular function and biological mechanisms at a molecular scale.

All students in the program will be expected to complete a minimum of two consecutive semesters of full-time study in residence at MTSU. Only full-time students will be admitted.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences program is based on a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s qualifications, including

  1. an earned bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited university or college in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or a closely related subject. In addition, the following undergraduate courses are specifically recommended:
    1. six semesters of a combination of general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry courses, including some laboratory coursework;
    2. two semesters of general/inorganic chemistry and at least one semester of organic chemistry, which should include a laboratory component;
    3. two semesters of physics;
    4. one semester of calculus.

NOTE: Students who lack any component of these minimum course requirements will be asked to remedy their deficiency or demonstrate competency in these areas.

  1. an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken. Successful applicants typically have a minimum 3.50 GPA in their graduate work or a minimum 3.00 GPA when entering with a bachelor’s degree.
  2. acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  3. letters of recommendation that address the applicant’s potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences.

NOTE: International students must also meet the College of Graduate Studies requirement for proof of English language proficiency. This may be accomplished by submission of TOEFL, UMELI, or IELTS scores that meet the college’s requirements or by successful completion of level 112 of ELS coursework.

Applicants who do not meet these minimums but whose application materials indicate high potential for success may be admitted conditionally. Such students must meet the conditions of their admission in the time stated to remain in the program of study.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application deadline: The application deadline is January 31 for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships for the following Fall. Late applications may be considered, but financial support is not guaranteed.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php).
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work.
  3. submit official scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing measures of the GRE that indicate potential for success in the Molecular Biosciences program. The GRE is an important measure and is given significant consideration in the admissions review process. Successful applicants typically have scores on the Verbal and Quantitative measure above the 50th percentile for persons intending graduate study in science with a combined score that exceeds 297 (current scale) or 1,000 (former scale).
  4. provide letters of recommendation from at least three professors or professionals that address the applicant’s potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. in the Molecular Biosciences program.
  5. submit a one- to two-page statement explaining why he/she is seeking a Ph.D. degree, listing areas of research interest, and indicating three professors in the program whose research he/she finds intriguing. Faculty research interests can be found at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/mbsphd/.

Degree Requirements

Students entering with a master’s degree in a science discipline may have up to 16 graduate hours of previous coursework applied after determination that the content of the courses is directly equivalent to existing courses in the Molecular Biosciences curriculum.

Candidate must

  1. complete 65 post-baccalaureate semester hours (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. make at least two research presentations at regional, national, or international meetings as the lead author or coauthor;
  3. be lead author or make significant contribution as coauthor of two articles published, in press, or under review in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals;
  4. in collaboration with an MTSU faculty member serving as principal investigator, make a significant contribution to the development of at least one external grant proposal;
  5. complete a dissertation and successfully defend it in the final oral examination.

Curriculum: Molecular Biosciences

 Candidate must complete 65 hours in the following course of study:

Electives (9 hours)

Each student, in consultation with his/her advisor and committee, will select at least 9 hours of elective coursework from at least two of the rubrics represented below. Other courses not listed below may be substituted with approval of the student’s advisor and committee.

Directed Research (16 hours)

Dissertation (16 hours)

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan with the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the semester in which candidate intends to graduate.