Iowa Graduate Schools for Biochemistry
Most Biochemistry Graduate Schools have students spend significant time in the laboratory to explore life at the molecular level. In tandem, key topics like biostatistics, bio-organic chemistry, and molecular biology often set the stage for more focused research and study.
Biochemistry Graduate Schools: Study + Research
One of the aims of Biochemistry Graduate Schools is to help students refine expertise in areas such as genetics, drug discovery, and cancer biology. A laboratory-based science, biochemistry puts the chemistry of living organisms under a microscope.
Students in biochemistry graduate programs study at the crossroads of biology and chemistry. Through research and dynamic courses, students attempt to explain what occurs at the cellular level using chemistry concepts.
This process aims to generate new scientific insight into the biological mechanisms that affect health and disease—or, to problem solve in agriculture, the environment, medicine, engineering, or other fields.
DID YOU KNOW?
O*Net reports that 41% of Biochemists have a Doctoral degree, 32% Post-doctoral training.i
Types of Biochemistry Graduate Programs
Biochemistry Graduate Schools offer programs of study that lead to a Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). In addition to the same rigorous course work as an MS program, a PhD program often involves more intensive research components.
Study at the master’s level is good preparation for those interested in doing hands-on laboratory work. Biochemistry PhD programs could provide extra knowledge in how to plan and execute research projects.ii
Applicants to either an MS or PhD in Biochemistry program may need specific prerequisite coursework and/or prior education. GRE and MCAT scores, resume, essay, letters of recommendation and other material might need to accompany a completed application form.
Within the umbrella of graduate programs in biochemistry and molecular biology, there are many dynamic choices to consider for bio majors. Sometimes students bolster skills in related areas through a certificate program. For more in-depth study, a full degree might be more appropriate.
Explore some of the options below then look more deeply at each graduate school for biochemistry to measure its strengths and your needs.
Biochemistry vs. Biochemical Engineering
Do you hope to develop the next vaccine? Work with biofuels? Discover a new antibiotic? A MS or PhD in biochemical engineering could have students broaden their skills and knowledge of chemistry, biological sciences and chemical process engineering.
Biochemical engineers apply the concepts from cell and molecular biology and biochemistry to solve problems through engineering. They often design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare and beyond. Key topics could help students learn about new technology and modeling methods for bio-pharmaceutical production and development.
Engineering scholars could further research interests in areas such as gene therapy and computational modeling through a PhD in Biochemical Engineering. MS graduates might take away real-world knowledge for practical application in areas such as drug delivery.
Biochemistry vs. Chemistry
Are you drawn to conduct tests or design new products? Either an MS or PhD in Chemistry program might allow students to focus more in depth on biochemistry as an emphasis. At the same time, students may be required to study all other sub-disciplines of chemistry: analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.
There are also highly focused chemistry programs such as an MS in Green Chemistry, featured at partner school, Chatham University. Participants in this program delve into the design of products and methods that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Key topics could include sustainability, environmental economics, and global regulations.
Biochemistry, by contrast, is often thought of as a subfield of biology rather than of chemistry, albeit one that requires a great deal of chemistry knowledge. Consequently, students might take more courses in molecular biology and proteomics. Their focus could be on topics like heredity and DNA with an eye to develop a new treatment.
Masters in Biochemistry
Graduate schools with Masters in Biochemistry programs enable students to explore the biological processes that direct cellular functions. Curriculums might stack laboratory rotations with in-class discussions of scientific information. These rotations could be useful to test drive potential thesis labs and gain hands-on research experience.
Also, students may be required to take some compulsory courses along with their choice of electives. These may initially be foundational courses that aim to broaden knowledge in the biomedical sciences. Then, a degree plan might move to include more advanced topics and a specific biological focus.
Course names vary so make sure to look beyond the examples below to individual programs and course lists.
- Molecular Structure and Function
- Experimental Approaches to Biochemical Problems
- Scientific Writing for Biomedical Researchers: Grants and Papers
Faculty often bring to the table their own research interests and could provide mentorship to participants in these areas. For example, at some schools, active research could include protein structure/function analysis, drug discovery, mechanistic enzymology, cell signaling, and virus-host interactions.
Often a two-year program for those who undertake it full-time, Master's degree programs require that students choose between a thesis and non-thesis option. A non-thesis degree program usually requires writing a literature review paper. The thesis-based degree entails a hypothesis-driven research project that might eventually be published.
Biochemistry PhD Programs
A PhD in Biochemistry is a terminal degree. In some universities, students study modern biochemistry and molecular biology to more fully understand the life sciences at the molecular levels. An average length of study for a full-time PhD degree is approximately five and a half years, but there is some variability depending on how quickly you are able to get through the process.
Schools with PhD in Biochemistry programs focus on how to conduct independent research and educate others in related research fields. To this end, doctoral students are often introduced to laboratory research early in their course of study.
Research opportunities may depend on what the department (and its faculty) have underway. See below for some examples, then check out their program descriptions.
- Molecular Biology of Cancer
- Enzymology and DNA
- Regulation of Gene Expression
- Molecular Neurobiology
After their courses, PhD students may need to successfully pass an all-inclusive exam, then turn their attention to a final dissertation.
Why Study Biochemistry on Campus?
First off, on-campus biochemistry graduate programs are dynamic and interactive. Students generally have various faculty mentors, discuss theory with other brilliant peers, or just learn more smoothly with hands-on and in-person instruction.
Second, biochemistry schools are located in different areas that may have different possible internships, networks, and/or research opportunities. Or, you might search for a local university for biochemistry where you could take evening classes as you continue with other responsibilities.
Third, but not last is the chance to actively seek out a grad school where you could take the courses and research the topics that are meaningful to you. Make sure to read faculty bios to help you zoom in on people who have similar interests as you.
Find & Apply to Biochemistry Graduate Schools
Ready to choose a graduate school for Biochemistry? Easily take the next step with the on-page menu. Set filters for program level and/or choose a specific location. Then, apply to partner schools with the form provided.
[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-1021.00 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm#tab-4
- Ames, IAAmes, IA
Iowa State University
Students can major in biochemistry or biophysics, or in one of several interdepartmental majors.
- Iowa City, IAIowa City, IA
University of Iowa
The Biochemistry Department offers a graduate research program leading to the Ph.D. degree. State-of-the-art facilities and diverse research opportun...