VCU Molecular Biology and Genetics
About the Program

Program of study

Ph.D. program

This program leads to a singular Ph.D. degree or one that is part of the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree. The first year of study in the Ph.D. program generally takes place under the common Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences umbrella and includes core course work, student seminars and laboratory rotations, which allow the student to experience several research areas before choosing an area of specialization. A faculty adviser must be selected by the end of the first year of study, and the student then matriculates into the adviser’s home department and MBG Curriculum. Course work during the second year of study and beyond focuses on the area of specialization.
Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. occurs after successful completion of comprehensive written and oral examinations, which are administered by the end of the second year. MBG doctoral candidates conduct independent research projects under the direction of their selected adviser. Progress is evaluated annually by a graduate advisory committee. It is expected that MBG students will present their work at scientific meetings and publish their results in peer reviewed scientific journals during the course of their graduate studies. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in the teaching activities of their selected department. The Ph.D. is awarded when a final written dissertation and oral examination are approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and all the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies have been fulfilled.

M.S. program

This program is an intensive course of study, approximately two years in length, leading to the M.S. degree. It is designed primarily to prepare students for technical careers in biotechnology in academic or industrial settings, or as preparation for further graduate study. The M.S. degree in MBG requires a total of 48 credit hours, with a minimum of 24 semester credit hours in graduate level courses, exclusive of research credits. The curriculum includes core and specialization courses, including two 10-week laboratory rotations intended to assist students in the selection of a faculty mentor. The program of study must include three semesters of directed research under the guidance of the faculty mentor, and culminates in the presentation and defense of a master’s thesis.