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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 for students currently enrolled in our B.S. program, who earn an accelerated B.S./M.S. degree combination.

A student interested in entering the program must be in the last 12 months of their undergraduate studies with an expected overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. The complete application for admission to the program must be submitted early in the spring semester (by March 31) of the Junior year of the student through Virginia Tech’s online system. The application must include the following documents:

  1. 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)
  2. The names, affiliations, and email addresses of three references (the applicant to request the letters to be submitted directly by the references online)
  3. A statement of motivation and career objectives; a résumé that includes experience and qualifications. 

As a part of this process, the student will complete the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree and Course Designation Form.

The selection will be based on relevant academic achievements and the motivation and purpose of pursuing an M.S. degree in Biochemistry, as evident in the student’s transcripts, statement and resume, and recommendation letters. In the first semester of their accelerated program (typically the Fall of senior year or the first year in the graduate program), the selected students will enroll in the courses that will be used for meeting the requirement for the M.S. degree. Although the schedule stated above considers Fall entry to the accelerated program, an entry in the Spring semester would be considered on a case by case basis.

12 credits can be double-counted towards your undergraduate and graduate 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.

The student would approach Biochemistry faculty members to serve as their major advisor. The announcement for the program will encourage the students to select and join the advising laboratory in the Fall or Spring of the Junior Year, before formal admission to the program. The student will form a graduate advisory committee 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 (MSLS) degree from the Department of Chemistry. Review the MSLS Program Curriculum.

Every MSLS student enters the program with the expectation that they will complete a thesis, however, if circumstances dictate that completing a thesis is not feasible, the student may be allowed to graduate without submission of a formal thesis. This option is only available with the agreement of the Major Professor and Advisory Committee. 

  • Students who are engaging in a research project with a faculty mentor have the option to pursue an accelerated M.S. degree in Biochemistry.

  • The accelerated M.S. degree gives students the ability to engage in substantial M.S. research with a faculty mentor, giving them advanced career options.

  • Interested students apply to the Graduate School in their third year, after speaking with a potential faculty mentor for their research

  • B.S./M.S. students can co-count 12 credit hours of undergraduate coursework towards an M.S. degree

  • 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.

  • The program is designed so that all students complete the M.S. at the end of year 5.

  • Financial support for the 5th year is available, on a competitive basis.

  • The department works closely on career planning with each B.S./M.S. student by making travel support to scientific conferences available, and guiding students in completion of an NIH-style Individual Personal Development Plan.