M.S. Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MS-Biochem)

Overview of the Program

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology offers an MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MS-Biochem), which emphasizes core concepts of biochemistry and molecular biology as applied to biomedical sciences and biotechnology. A basic science program targeted to students interested in pursuing academic, medical, or biotech industry research careers, the MS-Biochem program has incorporated a significant number of "hands on" laboratory component in several courses to develop expertise in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, biotechnology core concepts and skills. Another feature is the well-organized internship program that culminates in students presenting their research at tri-annual poster presentation sessions. The four-credit internships are performed with research mentors in various GUMC laboratories on campus or off campus in government agencies such as NIH and FDA as well as the MD Biotechnology Industry corridor. Graduates from MS-Biochem program seek careers primarily in academic, government, or biotechnology research and most transition to Ph.D., M.D.,D.D.S, J.D. or M.B.A programs.
  • Preparation for academic, medical, or biotech industry research careers
  • Basic science program with "hands on" laboratory components
  • Elective courses from Medical Center and University Graduate Programs in Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Tumor Biology and Neuroscience
  • Internships with research mentors in various GUMC laboratories, government agencies and biotechnology companies
  • Flexibility to pursue full-time and part-time studies; Fall and Spring enrollment options
  • On a full-time basis, students can complete the requirements in one academic year (9 to 12 months). Part time: 2.5 years.

Apply for the MS-Biochem Program Here

Key Faculty

All program core and elective courses are taught by full time Georgetown University faculty at Georgetown University Medical Center, as well as adjunct faculty.


The standard courses for the one-year program (30 credits) are outlined below. MS-Biochem students are required to complete the core courses (19 credits), which are supplemented by elective courses (11 credits). Elective courses can be chosen to complement the core curriculum and the research internship, and can be selected from the department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology or other GUMC departments, MS-Biotech program, or from the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Pre-approved electives are chosen from areas of concentration including Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Tumor Biology and Neuroscience. If there is a course of particular interest to a student that does not appear on the curriculum elective list, he/she can submit a request to the Program Director to designate the course as an approved elective. The list of required core courses and the pre-approved GUMC electives (credits, semester offered) is shown below.

Required Courses: 19 Credits

Required Core Courses (11 credits) CR/SEM
BCHB-513 Core Concepts of Biochemistry 4F
or BCHB-511 Fundamentals of Biochemistry 4F
BCHB-507/508 Laboratory Applications of Biotechnology 3B
BCHB-526 Core Methods of Biotechnology 3B
or BCHB-528 Core Methods of Molecular Biology 3F
BCHB-514,515 Introduction to Bioinformatics 1B

Required Advanced Lecture/Lab (2 credits) CR/SEM
BCHB-536 Applic. of Cell Culture in Biotech & Medicine 2S
or BCHB-529 Biotech-based Human Diagnostics 2S
or BCHB-535 Programmed Cell Death 2F
or BCHB-537 Fermentation & Bioprocessing 2B

Required GUMC Ethics course (2 credits) CR/SEM
PHAR-534 Ethical Issues in Scientific Research 2B
NSCI-532 Skills & Ethics for Scientists 2S

Required Internship (4 credits) CR/SEM
BCHB-910 Biochemistry and Mol. &Cell Biol Internship 4F,S,SU

Mandatory Non-credit Courses CR/SEM
BCHB-539 Basic Radiation and Lab Safety 0
BCHB-554 Research Ethics & Integrity 0
BCHB-590 Introduction to Internship 0

Elective Courses: 11 Credits

Biomedical Concentration CR/SEM
BCHB-540 Molecular Basis of Carcinogenesis 3S
BCHB-525 Immunobiotechnology 2S
BCHB-522 Drug Target and Design 1S
BCHB-516 Molecular Medicine 2B
BCHB-601 Topics in Biochemistry and Mol Biology 2F
BCHB-503/504 Biochemistry Journal Club 1B
PBIO-529 Human Nutrition & Health 2S
PBIO-537 Sex Differences: Physiology/Pathophysiology 2F
BIST-501 Introductory Biostatistics: Exp Des/Analysis 3F

Bioinformatics Concentration CR/SEM
BCHB-571 Genomic Sequence Analysis 1F
BCHB-572 Protein Sequence Analysis 2F
BCHB-591 Biomedical Informatics 3F
BCHB-541 Structural Biology 2B
BCHB-596 Clinical Metabolomics 1S
BCHB-582 Proteomics: Mass Spectrometry 1S
BCHB-581 Transcriptomics: Microarray Analysis 1S
BCHB-583 Systems Biology: Pathways & Networks 1
BCHB-594 Translational Bioinformatics 3S

Biotechnology Concentration CR/SEM
BCHB-509 Introduction to the Biotechnology Industry 3F
BCHB-510 Entrepreneurial Biotechnology 3B
BCHB-533 Emerging Biotechnology Concepts 2S
BCHB-512 International Biotechnology 1S
BCHB-534 Environmental Biotechnology 2B
BCHB-527 Food Biotechnology 2S
BCHB-562 Biotechnology and World Food Production 2F
BCHB-545 Essentials of Programmed Cell Death 1F
BCHB-564 Essentials of Environmental Biotech 1B

Cell Biology Concentration CR/SEM
CBIO-539 Molecular Cell Biology 4S
CBIO-562 Molecular Cell Biology- In Depth 2S

Microbiology Concentration CR/SEM
MICB-524 Emerging Diseases: Past Prologue 2S
MICB-550 Bioterrorism: Related Diseases 2S
MICB-619 Biology/Biochem of Viruses 3
MICB-551 Biohaz Threat Agents/Emerging Infect Diseases 1F

Tumor Biology Concentration CR/SEM
TBIO-584 Intro to Tumor Biology 1F
TBIO-525 Cancer Genetics 3F
TBIO-571 Pathologic Basis of Cancer 2S
TBIO-513/514 Clinical Conf on Breast Cancer 1B
TBIO-543 Clinical Survey of Human Cancer 1F
TBIO-535 Cancer Pharmacology I 2S
TBIO-522 Epigenetics 3F

Neuroscience Concentration CR/SEM
NSCI-502 Advances in Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience 2F
NSCI-534/533 Neurobiology of Disease 2S
NSCI-558 Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration 3F
NSCI-527 Brain Networks & Cognition 2S

Semester: F - Fall Only; S - Spring Only; B - Fall & Spring; SU - Summer

Class Profile

Class size
Fall 08 - Spring 09 - 22
Fall 09 - Spring 10 - 35
Fall 10 - Spring 11 - 38
Fall 11 - Spring 12 - 39
Average GPA
Fall 08 - Spring 09 - 3.47
Fall 09 - Spring 10 - 3.57
Fall 10 - Spring 11 - 3.71
International student population (percentage)
Fall 08 - Spring 09 - 08/22 = 36%
Fall 09 - Spring 10 - 11/35 = 31%
Fall 10 - Spring 11 - 14/38 = 37%

Career Placement

The MS-BCHB program provides career counseling in academic, medical, or biotech industry research careers, or transition to various advanced degree programs (Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S, M.D.-Ph.D, J.D., M.B.A programs) or positions in academic science.