2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Biochemistry, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: April 15

Spring: November 15

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2 minimum; 3 preferred.

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from professors of science.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Applicants should have one year of Biological Science (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology); one year of General Chemistry; one year of Organic Chemistry; one year of Physics; and Mathematics through Calculus. Physical Chemistry is also desirable.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in the Biological or Chemical sciences is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: the applicant's interest in Temple's Biochemistry program, research goals, future career goals, and academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Acceptance by Temple University requires submission of verbal, quantitative, and analytical GRE scores. GRE scores below the 50th percentile are outside the norm set by the Graduate School and no individual score in the verbal, quantitative, or analytical sections should be below that level.

The GRE Subject Exam in Chemistry or Biology is required.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 650 paper-based, 280 computer-based, or 114 internet-based.

Advanced Standing:

Students who enter the Ph.D. program in Biochemistry may be considered for advanced standing, based on the successful completion of graduate level courses in the biological sciences or chemistry with grades of "B" or better. The Graduate Admissions Committee will make the recommendation on a case-by-case basis as the application is reviewed. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 24.

Test Waivers:

Upon review of the student's background by the Graduate Admissions Committee, applicants with high levels of performance in one or more areas can gain favorable consideration for an application that is otherwise outside the acceptance matrix.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 36

Required Courses:

The Department of Biochemistry participates in the "Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences" at the Temple University School of Medicine, as described on the School of Medicine graduate studies website.  The program requires Ph.D. and M.S. students to take a defined set of courses over the first two years:

    • 2 courses from the "Foundations of Biosciences Series" comprising either a basic or advanced biochemistry course and a course on molecular and cell biology.
    • 2 courses comprising Scientific Communication and Scientific Integrity.
    • 2 courses from the "Integrated Biosciences Series" from the following list:

      Molecular Approaches to Research

      Principles of Physiology

      Principles of Pharmacology

      Principles of Organ Pathology

      Principles of Genetics

      Principles of Development

      Cancer Biology

      Host-Pathogen Interactions

      Cell Structure and Function

      Proteins and Enzymes


Students of Biochemistry are required to take "Proteins and Enzymes."  In addition, all students will take the following required courses:

Biochemistry 523, 502, 534, 508-511, 505-506, 550

In addition to the Biochemistry core courses, all students are required to successfully complete a total of five courses, each of which must be at least 2 credits. These courses are chosen from among advanced topics courses offered by the Department of Biochemistry, advanced topics courses offered by the Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences, and courses offered by the graduate programs in Anatomy and Cell Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Pathology, Physiology, and Pharmacology at the Medical School and the Department of Biology on Main Campus. The student's course of study must include one advanced topics course in Biochemistry, one advanced Chemistry course, and one Life Science course. The remaining two courses can be chosen from any of the three remaining categories with the approval of the student's advisory committee.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

Committee Report:

The student will be required to prepare a committee report outlining their research progress and schedule advisory committee meetings each semester to review the report and evaluate progress toward the degree.

Formal Research Presentations:

In addition to participation in Biochemistry Seminar (Biochemistry 505 and 506), two formal research presentations are required of candidates for the Ph.D. degree.

Outside Research Proposal:

The student will be required to prepare and defend a research proposal from an area of investigation distinct from the student's research topic.

Culminating Events:


The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should describe the context and background surrounding a particular research problem and a methodological plan for investigating the problem. The proposal is a requirement for admission to candidacy and should be submitted and approved no more than one year after completing coursework (generally in the third year in the program).


The Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry is a research degree. Research training begins with Introduction to Research Methodology (Biochemistry 508-511) in the first year of the graduate program and continues with the selection of a dissertation research advisor and development of an original research project. Dissertation research involves meaningful, critical thinking and the execution of ideas in the laboratory through the use of the scientific method. Dissertation research conducted by the student should be an original contribution to scientific knowledge. The quality of the student's Ph.D. dissertation research should be equivalent to that found in reputable biochemical journals.

The Academic Standards Committee will appoint a temporary advisory committee for each incoming student. This committee will meet twice a year with the student to establish an academic program and to ascertain the nature of the student's research interests. The student will select a Dissertation Advisor by the end of the second semester of the first year. The provisional advisory committee will then be dissolved and a permanent advisory committee will be appointed. The permanent advisory committee is responsible for the review of the student's research and academic progress twice yearly. The committee will decide when the student is permitted to give the first and final research seminars and will also determine whether the content of the student's research is sufficient for the Ph.D. dissertation.

The Final Examination Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and demonstration of competence within the field of the dissertation and related areas. The Examining Committee is appointed by the Academic Standards Committee and consists of seven faculty members, including the Dissertation Advisor, a member of one of the Department of Biochemistry's Graduate Committees, a faculty member from another department, and an external examiner from outside the university. The student has the right to select one member of the Final Examination Committee.

If a student desires a change in research advisor, or a research advisor desires to be relieved of responsibility to a student, the matter will be brought before a review committee. The review committee will consist of the student's advisory committee and the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and will be chaired by the Director of the Graduate Program. Any decision may be appealed to the Academic Standards Committee.

The student will submit the dissertation in complete form not less than one calendar month prior to the date of the Final Examination. The dissertation must have been read and approved by the doctoral advisor prior to distribution. The student should confirm a time and date for the dissertation defense with the Advisory Committee and the Director of the Graduate Program at least 10 days before the defense is to be scheduled.

After the student has arranged the time, date, and room for the dissertation defense, the Announcement of Dissertation Defense is completed and forwarded to the Office of the Graduate School, Main Campus, and the Office of Graduate Studies at the Health Sciences Campus at least 10 working days before the defense. Announcements of the defense are sent to the chairpersons of all basic science departments and notices are posted.

The Committee will evaluate the quality of the dissertation research and the student's ability to express (both in writing and orally) her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Committee will vote to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation and question/answer period.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Biochemistry
School of Medicine
3420 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Department Contacts:


Charles T. Grubmeyer, Ph.D.


Program Coordinator:

Parkson Lee-Gau Chong, Ph.D.


Graduate Chairperson:

Dianne R. Soprano, Ph.D.


E. Premkumar Reddy, Ph.D.


About the Program

The Department of Biochemistry offers full-time day programs of study leading to the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The graduate program is designed to provide training in the theory and practice of biochemistry and molecular biology for eventual service in research and teaching positions. The program is aimed at broad training in the various major areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, with in-depth training in one area of specialization. Students are given opportunities for instruction in diverse laboratory techniques through a series of lecture and laboratory courses, and experimental research, under the guidance of a faculty member.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Through permission of the advisory committee, elective courses not offered on the Health Sciences Campus may be taken at other campuses.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Biochemistry
School of Medicine
3420 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Interdisciplinary Study:

Members of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, the Specialized Center for Thrombosis Research, and the Center for Substance Abuse Research who hold academic appointments in the Department of Biochemistry also participate in the graduate training program.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



The "Insider's Guide to the Colleges" ranked the Department of Biochemistry as nationally acknowledged and "one of the best in the country."


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Specialized graduate training is available in the fields of enzymology, structure and biosynthesis of membranes, biochemical regulation of metabolism and of cell division, biochemical mechanisms of blood coagulation, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, physical chemistry and kinetics, mechanisms of hormone action, nucleic acid and protein synthesis, and regulation of gene expression. Also, multidisciplinary instruction is available in the fields of molecular biology, chemical carcinogenesis, tumor enzymology, and the biochemistry of aging.

Job Placement:

The graduate faculty has designed a well-balanced program that can be individually tailored to fully prepare each student for a career in academic or industrial biochemistry or related fields. The graduate program is designed to provide training in the theory and practice of Biochemistry for eventual placement in research and teaching positions.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students may enroll in some courses with permission from the course instructor and approval from the Office of Graduate Studies, School of Medicine.

Financing Opportunities

Exceptionally qualified students who apply to the program may be nominated for Presidential, University, and Future Faculty Fellowships, which carry 4 years of support.  In order to be nominated for these awards, prospective students must submit all application materials to the department by January 15.

Research Assistantships are also available. Research Assistants are expected to devote full-time effort in the laboratory of their faculty research advisor to research pertaining to their dissertation project. An assistantship application is not required because candidates admitted to the program generally receive a stipend or work study support plus tuition remission.

Updated 2.9.06