Independent research is emphasized in the Structural Biology curriculum. The student chooses an adviser to work with by the end of the first year and matriculates into the department of that adviser. It is expected that coursework diminishes during the second year and that laboratory research is initiated on a problem which will become the student's thesis project. Students must successfully pass the comprehensive examinations or equivalent in their department by the end of the second year and are expected to concentrate on research after that. Participation in seminars and teaching are the remaining non-research activities expected of the student. A committee is appointed by the adviser in consultation with the student to monitor the student's progress at least annually. Research on an original problem developed with the adviser constitutes the basis of the student's thesis, and it is expected that this research will be published in peer reviewed scientific journals and/or presented at professional meetings. Approval of the thesis and oral examination by the student's advisory committee are the final requisites for awarding of degree.

Required Courses

A small number of required courses are supplemented with electives to be approved by the Structural Biology faculty during the student's first year. Laboratory research rotations during the first year are intended to provide research experience in different areas, and to assist the student in choosing an adviser and area of specialization. The following are the required and elective courses from which a student would compose a curriculum.

Semester 1
BIOC503 - Biochemistry & Cellular & Molecular Biology I
Semester 2
BIOC504 - Biochemistry & Cellular & Molecular Biology II
BIOC602 - Physical Properties of Macromolecules (Departmental Research Seminar)
Elective Courses: (other choices are possible with approval)
BIOC601 - Membranes & Lipids
BIOC604/691 Enzymology and Bioorganic Chemistry
BIS513-514 - Mathematical Statistics
CHE606 - Methods of Structural Determination in Organic Chemistry
CHE635 - Spectrochemical Analysis
MBG606 - Molecular Biology
MIC507 - Techniques for Molecular Biology & Genetics
MEDC620 - Enzymology and Biorganic Chemistry for Medicinal Chemists
MEDC630 - Theoretical Methods in Drug Design
MEDC641 - Survey of Molecular Modelling Methods
MEDC670 - Advanced Molecular Modelling

Visit VCU's Graduate School.