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Graduate Studies in Biochemistry

DEGREE PROGRAMS

The Department of Biological Sciences offers research-oriented M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biochemistry. Qualified students usually enter the Ph.D. program without first earning a M.S. degree. Requirements for the Ph.D. include appropriate coursework designed to provide broad but intensive training in biochemistry, experience in presentation of seminars and successful completion of qualifying and general examinations. The Ph.D. also requires formulation and execution of original research, as demonstrated by production of research publications and a dissertation. The M.S. requires a thesis and a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work, 24 hours of which must be in coursework. At least one-half of the minimum required credit in the M.S. program must be in courses at or above the 7000 level.

 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Graduate programs offered by the Department of Biological Sciences in the area of biochemistry prepare students for professional careers in biochemical research and teaching. Research interests within the department encompass a broad range, including cell and molecular biology, virology, plant biochemistry, enzymology, and protein, DNA, and carbohydrate molecular biophysics.

 

FACILITIES

The Department of Biological Sciences is primarily housed in the Life Sciences Building, that recently was expanded by a major addition, and Choppin Hall, which also houses the Department of Chemistry. The Laboratories are designed for conducting modern research in diverse fields including biochemistry and molecular biology; cell, organismal and integrative physiology; ecology, systematics, and evolutionary biology; plant biology; microbiology and molecular genetics. Several large facilities with technical help and state-of-art instrumentation facilitate research at LSU and include laboratories for Functional Genomics (DNA sequencers, real time PCR, Scan Array and Microarray equipment), NMR analysis and mass spectrometry (Kratos high-resolution, Finnigen tandem, and Bio-Ion Plasma Desorption time-of-flight mass spectrometers), and confocal, light and electron microscopy (in the Socolofsky Microscopy Center). Common instruments and facilities include tissue culture facilities, media preparation facilities, darkrooms, walk-in cold rooms, plant-growth chambers, animal facilities and aquatic facilities. Research support comes from the Louisiana State University Gene Probes and Expression Systems Laboratory, the Protein Facility , and the Macromolecular Computing Analysis Facility. The personnel of the Department of Experimental Statistics are available to help design experiments and analyze data.

 

The recent addition of a Beowulf cluster provides a computer system that will run at 2.1 TeraFlops, or 2.1 trillion floating-point operations per second. This would rank it among the six or seven fastest computers in the world, and second among academic institutions worldwide. An initiative in Biological Computing is a part of this new investment by the State of Louisiana.

 

Students and faculty also have access to the research collections of the Museum of Natural Science (with more than 350,000 specimens) and the LSU Herbarium (home to many specimens of land plants, lichens, and fungi) as well as many of the research facilities of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station and Louisiana Sea Grant. Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) provides support for marine/estuarine research and maintains two research vessels for offshore research and numerous smaller boats for inshore sampling. Field research by department members is conducted in numerous tropical, subtropical, temperate and high-latitude locations. Biological Sciences faculty collaborate with scientists throughout LSU including the Departments of Animal Science, Chemistry, Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Oceanography and Coastal Science, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the Audubon Sugar Institute, the Institute for Environmental Studies, Civil and Environmental and Chemical Engineering, and the School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as universities and research centers throughout the nation and world.

 

CONTACT

For more information, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Sciences. We may be reached directly at (225)578-1556 or gradoff@lsu.edu , or by mail at: Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

 

ADMISSION

Applications for graduate study are accepted at any time, but they are evaluated only after all supporting documents and credentials have been received. Applications should be initiated at least 7-9 months prior to anticipated entry. For Fall admission, we recommend applications be submitted by the end of the preceding year. By the time of admission, applicants should have earned a minimum of a baccalaureate degree with training in the areas our own undergraduates receive. These include courses in general and advanced biology (including genetics and biochemistry), inorganic and organic chemistry, calculus, introductory physics, and physical chemistry. Qualified students lacking one or two of these areas may remedy the deficiencies after admission. Applicants must score at least 1100 on the GRE (verbal plus quantitative scores, analytical is not included) and 570 (paper test), 228 (computer test) or 90 (internet test) on the TOEFL (for international students) in order to be considered for admission."  An overall GPA of at least 3.00 ("A" = 4.0) is required.

 

Application is completed by following the simple steps below:

 

1. Submit to the Graduate School (114 David Boyd Hall, LSU Baton Rouge, LA 70805): 

  • An application to the Graduate School. Electronic submission has been implemented and is recommended. Details on how to apply also are found at that site. You also may apply by submitting a completed "Application for Admission" form (available from the Department).
  • A non-refundable fee of $50.00 (U.S.) and $70.00 (nonimmigrant) and can be paid in the form of a check, money order or credit card payable to Louisiana State University.
  • Official results of the GRE (verbal, quantitative and analytical) and TOEFL (if you are a foreign applicant) sent by ETS.
  • Official transcripts from the registrar of each college or university you previously or currently attend.

 

2. Have the following sent to the Department of Biological Sciences:

  • Three letters of recommendation written by persons familiar with your academic and professional qualifications. A cover form for the letters of recommendation is available online.

 

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Teaching Assistantships and Board of Regents’ Fellowships are available from the Department. Research Assistantships are available from grant support to individual faculty members. All awards are competitive. Assistantships provide annual stipends ranging from $13,250 for M.S. candidates, and $15,250 base pay for Ph.D. students; the latter may be supplemented ($3,000) or enhanced ($5,000) to provide a higher overall stipend.

 

Outstanding Ph.D. applicants may be awarded Board of Regents’ Fellowships. These research fellowships may be renewed for up to four years, with renewal subject to annual review. Fellowships carry no teaching responsibilities beyond the one semester departmental requirement, include complete tuition waiver and an $20,000 annual stipend.

 

To be considered for support for fall matriculation, applications must be completed by the end of the year preceding the year of admission.

 

FACULTY

For a complete listing of the faculty in our Biochemistry and Molecular Biology division, visit our Faculty pages.