Oct 04, 2023  
2020-21 Graduate Catalog 
2020-21 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Molecular Biosciences, Ph.D.

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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, Mathematical Sciences, and School of Agriculture. 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 deadlines: The application deadline is January 31 for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships for the following Fall. Applications may also be considered for Spring admission. This deadline is September 30. Late applications may also 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). Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  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.
  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 they are 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/. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential faculty mentors to find out more about their research, possible dissertation projects, and their availability to host lab rotations.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences requires completion of a minimum of 65 semester hours.

Candidate must

  1. complete a minimum of 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 the/a first or primary author (dependent upon field of study) on at least one (1) research article published or in press in a peer-reviewed journal. Review articles or book chapters do not fulfill this requirement. Articles on subject matter unrelated to the student’s field of dissertation research also do not fulfill this requirement;
  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

The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements. In addition, a maximum of 62 hours of directed research and dissertation research may be required to fulfill degree requirements.

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 with a minimum of 3 hours being 7000 level. Other courses not listed below may be substituted with approval of the student’s advisor and committee.

Directed Research and Dissertation (32-62 hours)

At least 32 hours of directed research plus dissertation research must be at completed.

NOTE: No more than 62 hours of directed research and dissertation research may be applied toward degree requirements.

Program Notes

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.

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