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Graduate Programs

Daniel Slade and Ariana Umaña

In our Graduate Programs, students obtain world-class research training and develop analytical skills, including big data analytics.

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 Graduate students will learn how to present their research to general and specialized audiences as well as write and publish their results. Our programs are designed to develop professionals, leaders, and innovators. Graduates from our programs are very successful in securing jobs in the biotechnology and healthcare industries, law firms, and academia, just to name a few. 

We highly encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply to our graduate programs. The Department of Biochemistry offers a Graduate Program Application Fee Waiver for eligible prospective students. The list of criteria can be found here. GRE scores are no longer required to apply, but are optional, if you wish to include your score in your application. 

Our department offers three graduate programs: an Accelerated Bachelors/Masters of Science program, a Masters of Science in Life Science program, and a Ph.D. program. Read more about each program and their requirements, curricula, and admissions processes.

A quick glance at our Accelerated B.S./M.S. Program

  • Receive your Bachelors and Masters of Science in Biochemistry in 5 years
  • Only current Virginia Tech biochemistry students can apply
  • Free tuition during the final year (year 5) of the M.S. degree
  • $4k stipend in the final year of the M.S. degree
  • Application deadline: January 15

A quick glance at our M.S. Program

  • Receive your Masters of Science in Life Sciences in 2 years (average)
  • $4K stipend annual stipend and tuition scholarship 
  • Students interested in earning a Masters degree need to contact a faculty sponsor directly about application and admissions
  • Application Deadline: January 15

A quick glance at our Ph.D. Program

  • Receive your Ph.D. in 4-5 years
  • Fellowships and research assistantships available 
  • $26K stipend for the calendar year (Fall 2021)
  • Full-time enrolled Ph.D. students are eligible for a subsidy on the premium of the university-sponsored health insurance plan through Aetna
  • Application Deadline: January 15

Frequently asked questions

Ph.D. students are required to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) twice, and M.S. students will be a TA once. Timing depends on the needs of the department, but this requirement is generally fulfilled within the first two years in the program.

TA duties vary depending on the class, but include grading assignments, leading help sessions, answering student questions via email and office hours, and potentially even teaching classes.

Graduate contracts are for 12 months, and are renewed annually while a student is enrolled in the program. Funding is guaranteed for the duration of your degree program, coming either from grant support from your advisor, GTA service, or departmental funds.

Ph.D. students receive a $26k annual stipend and tuition waiver. M.S. students receive a $4k annual stipend and a tuition waiver. Students are required to pay all fees assessed by the university.

Yes! Several of our students have participated in the Graduate Teaching Scholars program offered by the college, initially serving as a TA and then taking over responsibility for teaching a class. The Graduate School also offers a Preparing the Future Professoriate certificate program.

Students spend 4-week periods in 3 labs of their choice during the fall semester, and choose a lab in late November. Students give short presentations or write brief reports on each rotation project.

Students may engage in research with a faculty mentor prior to the start of the fall semester, but these activities do not count as rotations. All rotations are completed during the academic semester.

Our graduates go on to academic positions (postdoctoral or faculty positions) and jobs in industry (private companies) or government (NIH, for example).

Yes, all students on assistantships are eligible to enroll in the university-subsidized insurance plan.

With all applicants, we are looking for prospective students who have a strong academic record and a desire to perform research. Beyond that, international applicants only need a qualifying TOEFL score (required by the Grad School).

Let’s take this opportunity to talk about competitive applications in general! We look for strong academic credentials and prefer candidates with prior research experience a clear vision of what they want to do will get noticed.

So how do you get noticed? A strong personal statement that describes your motivation for pursuing a grad degree, why you are interested in our program, and what your research interests are/who you might like to work with are key!

There are two required core courses, Protein Structure & Function and Advanced Applications in the Molecular Life Sciences. We have a wide range of electives. See our Graduate Handbook for the structure of our coursework and possible electives.