grad-biochemistry-phd

Biochemistry is the study of biological molecules, their roles in the cell, and the chemistry of their reactions in living systems. The Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) is the merged graduate program between the Department of Biochemistry (in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences) and the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry (in the School of Medicine and Public Health). The program trains the next generation of biochemists and prepares them for 21st Century challenges in science. IPiB offers a Ph.D. degree with a major in biochemistry. Although an M.S. degree is officially offered, students are not admitted for a terminal master's degree.

From atoms and cells to plants and animals, biochemistry research in IPiB is at the forefront of modern science. We are home to around 100 graduate students and 54 world-class faculty pursuing cutting-edge research in all areas of biochemistry, including: cell and developmental biology, chemical biology, endocrinology, enzymology, immunology, metabolism, molecular genetics, molecular medicine, physical biochemistry and biophysics, quantitative biology, structural biology, systems and synthetic biology, and virology. The program teaches critical thinking skills, applicable to a wide range of professional fields that students pursue after graduation.

The size and breadth of IPiB provide unique opportunities for graduate students who want to pursue a degree in one of the top biochemistry graduate programs in the nation. Our modern facilities are filled with labs carrying out groundbreaking research in a collaborative, friendly, and inspirational atmosphere. Welcome to IPiB and we hope that you can share our enthusiasm for the biochemical sciences!

Dual Degrees

The program participates with the School of Medicine and Public Health in offering a joint program for students wishing to complete both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. The basic prerequisites and degree requirements for the Ph.D. in the M.D./Ph.D. program are identical to those for the major in biochemistry with two exceptions: M.D./Ph.D students complete one semester of graduate teaching assistance (instead of two), and students' M.D. coursework counts toward three credits of biological sciences breadth (a total of six breadth credits is required, leaving the student to fulfill at least three credits of physical or quantitative breadth). For the prerequisites and degree requirements for the M.D. degree, as well as the online application form, see Medical Scientist Training Program.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

To qualify for admission to IPiB, an applicant must complete a bachelor's degree at a recognized, accredited college or university. The basic background for graduate study in biochemistry ordinarily would be provided by an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, chemistry, physics, or in one of the biological or medical sciences. The Admission Committee assesses a candidate’s potential for success in the IPiB program by taking all aspects of their application into consideration. Most successful applicants have completed a rigorous undergraduate curriculum that includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. Most have also had a substantive laboratory experience that demonstrates commitment and talent for research. The applicant's undergraduate grade point average must be at least 3.0 (4.0 scale). For more information, please visit the Prospective Students tab on the IPiB website.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

IPiB students receive a full stipend ($29,000 for 2019-20), as well as tuition remission and comprehensive health insurance. The stipends take the form of traineeships, research assistantships, or fellowships, and are guaranteed for all IPiB Ph.D. candidates in good academic standing. IPiB also assists its graduate students with outstanding academic records in competing for University or national awards.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 54 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 42 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement All coursework must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.

Language Requirements n/a
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements Doctoral students must complete IPiB’s required coursework plus a minimum of 6 credits of approved breadth coursework in the physical, biological, and/or quantitative sciences. Students who opt for the Option A (focused) doctoral minor must complete IPiB’s required coursework, the minor requirements of the minor program, and a minimum of 6 credits of approved breadth coursework in the physical, biological, and/or quantitative sciences.

Required Courses

Program Course Requirements
BIOCHEM/​BMOLCHEM  701 Professional Responsibility (taken Fall of first year)1
BIOCHEM 719 From Atoms to Molecules (taken Fall of first year)3
BMOLCHEM 720 Experimental Design and Paradigms in Cellular Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (taken Spring of first year)3
BIOCHEM 721 Biochemical Communication (taken Fall of second year)2
BIOCHEM 990 Research1-12
Breadth Requirements
Students must complete a minimum of two additional graduate level (600 or above or that carry the graduate attribute) didactic or laboratory courses in order to fulfill their breadth requirements, and a minimum of 6 total credits is required. Courses must be chosen from at least 2 of the following categories: physical sciences, biological sciences, or quantitative sciences. One-credit seminars do not count toward the breadth requirements.
Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism
Computational Modeling of Biological Systems
Biology of Viruses
Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function
Mathematical Methods for Structural Biology
Mathematical Methods for Systems Biology
Prokaryotic Molecular Biology
Advanced Nutrition: Intermediary Metabolism of Macronutrients
Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
Plant Biochemistry
Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals
Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms
Molecular Control of Metabolism and Metabolic Disease
Biophysical Chemistry
Chemical Biology
Advanced Topics (Membrane Protein Structure and Function (Advanced) )
Methods and Technologies for Protein Characterization
Microbiology at Atomic Resolution

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

For well-prepared advanced students, the Program may accept up to 6 credits of prior graduate coursework from other institutions towards the minimum graduate degree credit and minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. The minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the graduate degree.

UW–Madison University Special

No credits taken as a University Special student are allowed to count toward the graduate degree.

Probation

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Every graduate student must have an IPiB faculty thesis advisor. The thesis advisor advises the student about coursework, supervises the student's research, and acts as a mentor to the student through the student’s graduate career. The thesis advisor must approve the student's coursework before registration for a given semester and must also approve any subsequent changes to it.

A Ph.D. thesis committee is composed of at least four graduate University faculty members, including the thesis advisor. The thesis committee is empowered by the Program to advise the student about certification, administer the preliminary examination, oversee annual progress reports, approve thesis composition, and conduct the final Ph.D. examination.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

12 credits in Fall and Spring semesters and 2 credits in Summer semesters for non-dissertators; 3 credits in Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters for dissertators

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences: Grievance Policy
 

In the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), any student who feels unfairly treated by a member of the CALS faculty or staff has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing. Some complaints may arise from misunderstandings or communication breakdowns and be easily resolved; others may require formal action. Complaints may concern any matter of perceived unfairness.

To ensure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect the rights of both the person complaining and the person at whom the complaint is directed, the following procedures are used in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies.

  1. The student should first talk with the person at whom the complaint is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. Others may be resolved by established departmental procedures.
  2. If the student is unsatisfied, and the complaint involves any unit outside CALS, the student should seek the advice of the dean or director of that unit to determine how to proceed.
    1. If the complaint involves an academic department in CALS the student should proceed in accordance with item 3 below.
    2. If the grievance involves a unit in CALS that is not an academic department, the student should proceed in accordance with item 4 below.
  3. The student should contact the department’s grievance advisor within 120 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment. The departmental administrator can provide this person’s name. The grievance advisor will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint, in discussions with the student and the person at whom the complaint is directed.
    1. If informal mediation fails, the student can submit the grievance in writing to the grievance advisor within 10 working days of the date the student is informed of the failure of the mediation attempt by the grievance advisor. The grievance advisor will provide a copy to the person at whom the grievance is directed.
    2. The grievance advisor will refer the complaint to a department committee that will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, providing a copy to the student. Either party may request a hearing before the committee. The grievance advisor will provide both parties a written decision within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the written complaint.
    3. If the grievance involves the department chairperson, the grievance advisor or a member of the grievance committee, these persons may not participate in the review.
    4. If not satisfied with departmental action, either party has 10 working days from the date of notification of the departmental committee action to file a written appeal to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. A subcommittee of this committee will make a preliminary judgement as to whether the case merits further investigation and review. If the subcommittee unanimously determines that the case does not merit further investigation and review, its decision is final. If one or more members of the subcommittee determine that the case does merit further investigation and review, the subcommittee will investigate and seek to resolve the dispute through mediation. If this mediation attempt fails, the subcommittee will bring the case to the full committee. The committee may seek additional information from the parties or hold a hearing. The committee will present a written recommendation to the dean who will provide a final decision within 20 working days of receipt of the committee recommendation.
  4. If the alleged unfair treatment occurs in a CALS unit that is not an academic department, the student should, within 120 calendar days of the alleged incident, take his/her grievance directly to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The dean will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint. If this mediation attempt does not succeed the student may file a written complaint with the dean who will refer it to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. The committee will seek a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, subsequently following other steps delineated in item 3d above.

Other

All students, both US and international, receive an annual stipend and tuition remission for the duration of their studies, provided satisfactory progress is made toward their degree. Comprehensive medical coverage is also offered. In addition, some of our students are supported on fellowships or training grants. Students are chosen based on criteria specified by the different training grants.

Students may matriculate only in the fall semester, and a master's degree is not offered as a terminal degree.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Gain a broad understanding of the biochemical principles that underlie all biological processes.
  2. Become aware of the current limitations of the state of understanding of this discipline and the strategies that are required to advance the field.
  3. Formulate and design new approaches that extend and apply biochemical principles beyond their current boundaries.
  4. Conduct independent research using a diverse breadth of biochemical processes.
  5. Think critically to address research challenges using a broad range of the theories, research methods, and approaches to scientific inquiry.
  6. Collaborate with investigators within the program, university, and beyond since current and future advances in the biomolecular sciences demand interdisciplinary skills.
  7. Foster professional and ethical conduct in the sciences, including but not limited to: exposition of the scientific method; ethical design of experimental protocols; reproducibility in science; professional behavior in industrial, government, and academic settings; documentation of scientific results; communication to other scientists and the public; peer review; and confidentiality.
  8. Develop communications skills that enable the articulation of research to fellow scientists and non-scientists.
  9. Explore career development opportunities in industry, government and academia to realize professional goals and paths.
  10. Develop teaching and mentoring skills in both lecture and laboratory settings.

Faculty: Professors B. Fox (Chair, Department of Biochemistry), Kiley (Chair, Department of Biomolecular Chemistry), Amasino, Attie, Audhya, Bednarek, Brow, Buller, Butcher, Cantor, Cavagnero, Coon, Cox, Coyle, Craciun, Craig, Denu, Engin, C. Fox, Friesen, Gellman, Grant, Harrison, Henzler-Wildman, Holden, Hoskins, Hull, Keck, Kimble, Kirchdoerfer, Landick, Lewis, Lim, Martin, Merrins, Mosher, Ntambi, Palmenberg, Pike, Ralph, Raman, Rayment, Record, Rienstra, Romero, Senes, Sheets, Simcox, Sussman, Venturelli, Weeks, Wickens, Wildonger, Wright