MS Curriculum

MS In Biochemistry

Students take a full load of courses, participate in seminars, and engage in research. Students typically enroll in three courses for each of four semesters.

The program can be completed in three or four semesters and requires 36 credit hours of which at least 12 hours must be letter graded. There are two required courses:  Introduction to Biochemistry: From Molecules To Medical Science (BIOC 407) and Molecular Biology (BIOC 408). Students complete their degrees with elective courses in biochemistry and other subjects, seminars, original research, and a comprehensive exam. Coursework in the program is organized in optional Experimental Biotechnology Track and Focus Areas (see below).

Most students participate in original research. Students work with faculty mentors in the Biochemistry program. They can also choose from over 200 faculty mentors at CWRU School of Medicine and our affiliated hospitals. This opportunity is excellent preparation for students who wish to pursue a PhD degree; strong students may be permitted to transfer to our PhD program.

The degree can be completed with either full- or part-time study. Part-time study is convenient for research assistants in CWRU biomedical science laboratories. Please contact us for details.

Focus Areas

The program offers tremendous flexibility for research and coursework, with only two required courses. To help guide students in their studies, we have created optional focus areas, which are suggested course programs in areas of interest.  These focus areas leave room in student schedules for research and electives.

Molecular Structure and Function

BIOC 412 Proteins and Enzymes 3
BIOC 415 Biological Membranes and Their Proteins 3
BIOC 434 Structural Biology 3
BIOC 501 Biochemical and Cellular Techniques for Biotechnology


Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease

BIOC 410 Microbial Physiology and Therapeutic Opportunities 3
BIOC 411 Antimicrobial Therapies and Resistance 3
BIOC 412 Proteins and Enzymes 3
BIOC 501 Biochemical and Cellular Techniques for Biotechnology


Cancer Biology

BIOC 450 Molecular Basis of Cancer 3
BIOC 453 Biochemical Pathways in Cancer Therapeutics 3
BIOC 460 Advanced Technologies for Cancer Research 3
BIOC 501 Biochemical and Cellular Technologies for Biotechnology 3


Experimental Biotechnology Track

The program has an optional track in Experimental Biotechnology, which prepares students for employment opportunities in biotechnology, as researchers in academia or the biotechnology industry. This sequence of lecture and laboratory courses covers techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology and laboratory skills that are important in biotechnology.

We provide students with hands-on experience at the bench in recombinant protein production, mammalian cell culture, molecular and cell biology, and mass spectrometry. We also cover experimental design and documentation of experiments, and professional skills and knowledge.

The track requires six courses in addition to BIOC 407 and 408:

  • BIOC 500  Biotechnology Laboratory: Molecular Biology Basics 
  • BIOC 501  Biochemical and Cellular Techniques for Biotechnology
  • BIOC 502A Biotechnology Laboratory: Molecular Biology and Biochemical Techniques  
  • BIOC 502B Biotechnology Laboratory: Eukaryotic Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • BIOC 502C Biotechnology Laboratory: Mass Spectrometry Techniques
  • BIOC 511  Practice and Professionalism in Biotechnology

BIOC 500-502 form a sequence that introduces common techniques used in biochemistry labs and gives students hands-on experience and training in structured teaching labs. BIOC 511 covers issues of practice in academic and industrial labs. These courses may be taken in the first or second years.

The completion of the track is recorded on the student's transcript.