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Accelerated Bachelors/Masters of Science Degree

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The Department of Biochemistry offers a route to earn a Master of Science in the Life Sciences (MSLFS) for students currently enrolled in our B.S. program in the form of an accelerated B.S./M.S. degree combination. 

The accelerated M.S. degree gives students the ability to engage in substantial M.S. research with a faculty mentor, while completing the M.S. at the end of year 5. The department works closely on career planning with each B.S./M.S. student by making travel support to scientific conferences available, and guiding student in completion of an NIH-style Individual Personal Development Plan.

  • Completion of a B.S and M.S in Biochemistry in 5 years
  • Free tuition during the final year (year 5) of the M.S. degree (Year 4, the final year of B.S., is paid for by the student)
  • A $31,404 stipend in the final year of the M.S. degree

Requirements to apply

  • Must have an expected overall GPA of 3.0 or higher upon graduation with a B.S in Biochemistry
  • Must have taken or be taking BCHM 4115 in the fall of their junior year, receiving a B or better grade by the December 15th application date
  • Must already actively be performing research (no later than the fall semester of their junior year) in the laboratory of a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry that is willing to mentor them during their M.S. degree

How to apply

The first step for admission to the program is to fill out a pre-inquiry form and send it to our Graduate Program Chair, Justin Lemkul (, Engel Hall 106-A), to see if you meet the requirements described above. Dr. Lemkul will then encourage students who fit our program to submit an official application to the Graduate School through Virginia Tech’s online system by December 15th of student’s Junior year.  Students will be admitted under a competitive process and notified of the admission decision by April of the spring semester.

The application to the Graduate School includes the following documents:

  • A scanned copy or pdf version of college transcripts (an official copy to be sent to the Graduate School after the issuance of an offer of admission in late April of the Junior year) 
  • The names, affiliations, and email addresses of three references (the applicant to request the letters to be submitted directly by the references online) 
  • A statement of motivation and career objectives 
  • A résumé that includes experience and qualifications
  • Completion of the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree and Course Designation Form, which is to be returned to our Academic Program Coordinator, Lisa Jones (, Engel Hall Room 101A). 

What to expect during the pursuit of your B.S/M.S. degree

In the first semester of their accelerated program (Fall of senior year), the selected students will enroll in the courses that will be used for meeting the requirement for the M.S. degree as outlined in our Graduate Handbook. 

Since most Biochemistry students complete the B.S. in Biochemistry in four years, and take ~20 elective credit hours in year 4, most B.S./M.S. students begin taking graduate courses in year 4. 12 credits can be double-counted towards the B.S. and M.S. degrees (up to 6 credits at the 4000 level; the rest from graduate-level coursework). For each of these courses, the grade must be at least B, and these courses must not be taken on a pass-fail basis.

Upon acceptance, the student will form a graduate advisory committee with the aid of their faculty mentor one semester prior to completion of their senior year or their first year in the graduate program (typically December) and this committee will continue to advise the student through the graduation with an M.S. degree.

Students will follow the requirements stipulated for the Master of Science in Life Sciences (MSLFS) degree from the Department of Biochemistry. Review the MSLFS Program Curriculum found here.

Every MSLFS student enters the program with the expectation that they will complete a thesis describing the results of an original research project. However, if circumstances dictate that completing a thesis is not feasible, the student may be allowed to graduate without submission of a formal thesis and will result in a non-thesis master’s degree designation. This option is only available with the agreement of the Major Professor and Advisory Committee.