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Programs/Education » Masters Program


One-Year Masters Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology



A two-semester post-baccalaureate program designed to enrich and improve credentials of graduates to apply for admission to medical, dental or other healthcare-related profession programs.

Program Overview


This is a two-semester non-thesis program for the study of biochemistry- and molecular biology-related courses leading to a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


The program is primarily designed to enrich and improve academic credentials of graduates. Our distinctive program emphasizes student development in four areas (coursework, experiential learning, presentation skills, and personal growth), and allows students to broaden and strengthen their academic foundation for further intellectual development, such as gaining entrance into medical-, dental- or health profession-related schools.


The core curriculum emphasizes clinical applications of biochemistry and molecular knowledge. Required courses include Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry and Human Medical Metabolic Biochemistry which are equivalent to Tulane’s first-year medical biochemistry course, Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship Seminar which provides students with a unique opportunity to experience Medicine Grand Rounds from the biochemical, molecular and clinical perspectives, and the Department Seminar series exposing students to novel research in the field of biochemistry.

All students benefit from several other biochemistry- or molecular biology-related courses. Program electives range from more medically-related courses such as Chromosomal Instability and Cancer, Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease, and Signal Transduction and Hormone Action to more research-related courses such as Research Methods in Biochemistry, Graduate-level Biochemistry, and Biomedical Statistics and Data Analysis. Additionally, the program has reciprocal relationships with certain courses in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Students may elect to take Graduate Medical Microbiology, Medical Immunology, and Biochemistry Workshop – a journal club style course designed to strengthen writing and presentations skills.

All courses are taught within the Tulane School of Medicine by full time faculty.



Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Master of Science degree program should have a baccalaureate degree. In general, applicants should have a minimum GPA (3.5), and either MCAT (28), DATS (19). However, applicants with credentials slightly lower than the above are also encouraged to apply.

We also look for students with a strong background in chemistry and biology: Students who have taken such courses as Organic Chemistry, Molecular or Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, etc.  Excellent letters of recommendation are also important. Lab research experience, though not required, is valuable for our consideration of application.


Degree Requirements

Students must take 30 credit hours of course work during the fall and spring semesters to complete the requirements for the degree. Additionally, students are required to take the NBME Shelf Exam in Biochemistry as a culminating experience.  Although not thesis based, this degree does involve several written assignments and oral presentations as part of the required course work. No research is required. Therefore, this is considered a "non-thesis" degree.

Program Calendar

The Masters of Science degree program curriculum is designed for completion within two semesters. Classes begin in August or January. No courses are taken during the summer sessions.


Program Curriculum (30 credit hours):

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours from the courses listed below. 


Required Courses:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (GBCH-6020-01 fall & spring semesters, M 12:00-1:00, 1 credit hour/semester, course director: Hee-Won Park)  Students are required to attend and participate in the seminars given by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Students are also required to write a one-page summary describing the content and significance of each seminar.

Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship (GBCH-7540-01, fall semester, M-Th various, F 1:00-2:00 discussion session; GBCH-7550-01 spring, M-Th various, F 1:00-2:00 discussion session, 3 credit hour/semester, course director, Hua Lu & course co-director, Hee-Won Park)  Students are required to actively attend each of the Grand Rounds offered by either the Department of Medicine (W) or the Department of Pediatrics (Th) and to give a one-page report post Grand Round. This report will summarize clinical and research topics, background knowledge, major experimental/diagnostic/therapeutic approaches discussed, key results, conclusions and significances of the studies presented in each Grand Round, as well as some critiques on the Grand Round. A one-hour discussion section on Friday will follow the seminars. Grades are based on participation and reports.

Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry (GBCH-7500-01, fall semester, TTh 9:30-11:00 optional study session, 3:30-5:00 lecture/discussion session, 5 credit hours, course director: David Franklin)  The objectives and content of the Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular structure and function, and the manner by which cellular processes are normally integrated and regulated.  This course stresses both the normal cellular function, and why disease states occur if normal cellular processes are disrupted. This is a medical school course. 

Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease (GBCH-7520-01, spring semester, TTh 9:30-11:00 optional study session, 3:30-5:00 lecture/discussion sessions, 5 credit hours, course director: David Franklin)  The objectives and content of the Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic pathways involving the four major metabolic compounds: carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides; and the manner by which metabolism is normally integrated and regulated.  This course stresses both the normal metabolic function, and why disease states occur if normal metabolic processes are disrupted. This is a medical school course.


Elective Courses:

Biochemistry Workshop (BMSP-7100-01, fall semester, F 10:30-12:00 / BMSP-7110-01, spring semester, F 9:00-10:30 am, 1-3 credit hours/semester, course director: Zachary Pursell)  Students work in teams to present a seminar to the class on a selected research paper approved by the course instructor. Student teams will explain the topic background and specific hypothesis being tested, describe in detail the experimental design and results, and discuss the conclusions reached and whether or not they were justified. The student audience is expected to participate in class discussion following the presentation. In addition, each student is required to write a one-page summary explaining the hypothesis, content and significance of the findings for each presented paper.

Chromosomal Instability and Cancer (GBCH-7180-01, fall semester, MTh 1:00-3:00, 4 credit hours, course director: Arthur Lustig)  This is an analytical reading course in which students must present and critique data from papers that cover specified topics in molecular genetics.  The student is exposed both to the topic of interest (genomic instability) and the basic cellular processes in biochemical genetic terms.  Each pair of lectures will review a concept and then analyze how defects in the process lead to the disease state.  Three "supertopics" will be covered: 1) Chromosomal Elements; 2) DNA Damage; 3) Cell Cycle.  This course also provides students many of the concepts of molecular genetics.  Exams consist of a critique of a specific paper.

Graduate Biochemistry (GBCH-6010-01, fall semester, WF, 8:30-10:30, 4 credit hours, course director: William Wimley)  The course objectives are to provide graduate level exposure to basic Biochemistry, including the structure and function of proteins, membranes and lipids, the basis of enzyme function and metabolic cycles, glycoconjugate biochemistry, and DNA/RNA structure and function. Grades are assigned based on three exams given over the semester.

Graduate Medical Microbiology (MIIM-7500-01, fall semester, MWF 3:00-4:00, 4 credit hours, course director: Lucia Freytag) This course is designed to introduce graduate students to bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens that are the etiological agents of the most significant infectious diseases worldwide. The course will focus on the basic mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis with emphasis on the host-microbe interactions and the most recent advances on therapeutic and prophylactic treatments to combat these diseases. Important historical discoveries along with current scientific strategies to study the molecular basis of virulence will be discussed, and recent high impact publications will be assigned for reading and discussion.

Signal Transduction and Hormone Action (GBCH-7570-01, spring semester, F 3:00-5:00, 2 credit hours, course director: Brian G. Rowan) Current molecular mechanisms for cellular signal transduction pathways and hormone action including membrane receptors and downstream pathways, second messenger systems, receptor-ion channels, kinase/phosphatases, extracellular matrix signaling, signaling and cell death, Wnt signaling pathways and nuclear receptor signaling.

Medical Immunology (MIIM-7600-01, spring semester, days/times TBA*, 2 credits, course director: James McLachlan) This course is designed to provide a basis of terminology relevant to the basic concepts of immunology. It commences with the important components (cell, tissues; antibodies; immunoglobulins) involved in host defense against infectious agents. Introductory lectures serve to describe and differentiate between natural defense (innate) mechanisms and adaptive immunity mediated by functional B and T lymphocytes and their products. Subsequently, cellular interactions, especially the differentiation of helper T cells subsets and the production of relevant cytokines, will be described. This will include the mechanisms of T cell activation and regulation. Finally, clinical immunology will be discussed: autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases; hypersensitivity reactions, including atopic disorders and asthma; mechanisms of transplant rejection; and immunodeficiency disorders. *This course will be held in a condensed format in May 2015.

Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease (GBCH-4060-01, spring semester, W 2:00-3:00, 1 credit hour, course co-directors: Samir El-Dahr and Zubaida Saifudeen)  The objectives and content of the course provide the student with an understanding of the pathophysiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of pediatric diseases. This course will link clinical aspects of pediatric diseases to basic science mechanisms and instruct the student on how to apply basic science information in the clinic.

Masters Research Methods in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Independent Study, fall & spring, TBA with PI and course director, 2 credit hours (approx 6+ hrs/week lab time), course director: Yu-Teh Li)Each student will work in a laboratory to learn how different methods are used to carry out research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At the end of the semester, the student is required to write a 2-3-page paper describing the principal of the methods and the results of the work. The grade will be based on the feedback of the laboratory PI and report.


Tuition

Full-time tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year is $23,500 to be paid on a two-semester basis ($11,750 per semester). This is a discounted rate from Tulane's regular tuition of $23,163 per semester. No tuition waivers or stipends are available for this program. Information on the possibility of financial aid loans can be found at the Tulane University Office of Financial Aid website at http://www.finaidhsc.tulane.edu/.  Students will also be charged the following estimated fees on a per semester basis: Academic Support Services ($400 max.), Student Activities ($120), Reily Recreation Center ($150), and Student Health Services ($320).


Application Process

The application for admission to the Master of Science degree program should be submitted to the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received and applicants will be admitted on a competitive basis. Therefore early submission of applications is highly encouraged.

1) To apply to the program, an online application must be filled out which can be accessed at http://www.biomedicalsciences.tulane.edu  (click where it says "Apply to the BMS graduate program" at the bottom of the page) 

NOTE: Several PhD and MS programs at Tulane use this application service. Be careful to indicate that you are applying for a MASTERS degree with BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. You may also wish to send an email to Dr. David S. Franklin (program director, franklin@tulane.edu) or Dr. William Wimley (program co-director, wwimley@tulane.edu) to notify us that you have submitted an online application to our program.

In addition to the online application, you must also submit ALL of the following items:

2) An application fee of $50.00 payable online to Tulane University at the time your application is submitted.  This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. 

3) MCAT or DAT scores must be reported on the application. If reporting MCAT scores, students must include their 16 digit VERIFICATION CODE from the AAMC website. GRE scores will be verified through the ETS. International students must also have official TOEFL scores sent, and all application materials must be in English.

4) An OFFICIAL transcript from EACH college or university attended.

5) Three letters of recommendation from professors, preferably from your science classes. A link is provided on the website above. In lieu of letters of recommendation that have been prepared specifically for this application, recommendations on file from undergraduate career development offices may be submitted, but we need more than a single summary letter.  This year you may submit letters online through CollegeNet. The BMS website should explain this procedure.

For the last two items, have your registrar and professors send the official transcripts and letters directly to the following address:

Attention: Master's Applications
c/o Kristy Askam Catlin
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, #8543 / SL-43
Tulane University School of Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

The spring 2015 application process is currently open and closes on December 30, 2014.
The fall 2015 application process opens on October 1, 2014 and closes on July 31, 2015

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for the spring and fall semesters. ALL application materials must be received before the closing date. (see above) Although there are application deadlines for each cohort, because we work on a rolling admissions basis there is no guarantee that there will be openings in the class up until the deadlines.  


For questions regarding the program, please contact Dr. David S. Franklin (program director, franklin@tulane.edu) or Dr. William Wimley (program co-director, wwimley@tulane.edu).

For administrative questions (online application, tuition, etc.): bms@tulane.edu 



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu