Graduate Studies : Executive PhD

Executive PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Executive PhD
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The Executive Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is targeted toward full-time professionals working in industry or other research laboratories who are involved in research at their workplace but do not have a PhD. These individuals do not need to give up their jobs to enroll in this PhD program.

Research performed at the industrial site will serve as the dissertation research topic. The required courses will be done through distance learning technology. This program is available to professionals who are working in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and medicine. It is intended to help individuals who are seeking to either move ahead in their field or switch careers altogether. It also fulfills the lifelong learning desire of industrial professionals who wish to further their education at the graduate level.

This program provides an outstanding educational opportunity and a broad knowledge base in the various aspects of modern biochemistry and molecular biology. Individuals will gain a unique perspective on fundamental biochemical problems, resulting in more career options and increasing the likelihood that they will make important contributions to scientific progress and society.

The enrolled professional will have a mentor and dissertation committee from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a co-mentor from his/her work place. Some of the requirements of this program include that these students take the required courses, perform dissertation research, pass the qualifying exam, visit campus every year to present their research as a poster, and pass the dissertation examination.

Curriculum and Requirements

  • Admissions Application Review
  • Verification of Financial and Scholarly Support from your Place of Employment
  • Orientation for Admitted Students
  • Selection of Mentor and Dissertation Committee
  • Coursework (16 credits in first year)
  • Bi-weekly meetings with mentor to evaluate research progress
  • Qualifying Exam (second year)
  • Progress Meetings with Dissertation Committee (each 6 months)
  • Dissertation Sufficiency Meeting (after completion of 44 research credits)
  • PhD Defense (after completion of 60 research credits)

Admission Requirements for Executive PhD Program

  1. Applicant must currently be employed on a full time basis and maintain employment in an Industrial, Academic, or Government Laboratory for the duration of the program.
  2. Submit a two page proposal of PhD project to be conducted while enrolled in the program.
  3. Letter of support and agreement from employer.
  4. GRE scores taken within the last five years.
  5. Excellent academic record
  6. Strong letters of recommendation from current employer and previous mentors.

Didactic Phase
For the didactic phase of graduate training, students will participate in a set of courses chosen based on their prior experience and the research they perform in their industrial setting. Through these courses, the students obtain a broad, coherent background in basic and advanced aspects of biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, and cell biology. This material is supplemented with presentations at research journal clubs.

  • BMB 701 – Journal Club – 1 credit each semester – total 4 Credits
  • BMB 709 – Advanced Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – 3 Credits
  • BMB 710 – Advanced Topics in Biochemistry – 3 Credits
  • BMB 714 – Molecular Genetics – 2 Credits
  • BMB 715 – Structural Biology and Applications to Drug Discovery – 2 Credits
  • BMB 716 – Analysis and Prediction of Gene Regulation and Protein Function – 2 Credits
  • BMB 731 – Special Work
  • BMB 830 – Doctoral Dissertation
  • BMB 840 – Doctoral Dissertation
  • BMB 850 – Research in Residence

Participation in Research Work
The students will perform research at the institution where they are employed. They will have a co-mentor at their work places and a PhD dissertation mentor from the BMB department. This mentor selection will be based on the research interests of the student.

During August of every year, the BMB Department will host a research forum/mini-symposium in which all Executive PhD Program students will participate and present their research in the form of a poster or oral presentation. All executive students are required to be present in Miami for this research forum.

Distance Learning
The courses in the program will be taught through the distance learning platform Blackboard. The lectures will be streamed through Skype or Blackboard collaborative technology. Recorded lectures are also used.

Discussion Boards
Discussion boards will be hosted through Blackboard and will be moderated by teaching assistants. The discussion board will allow students to participate and ask questions.

Assignments are posted in the online classroom in Blackboard. Student are responsible for contacting their instructor if they have questions regarding an assignment.

Graduation Requirements for Executive BMB PhD Program
The requirements for graduation include the following:

  • Successful completion of 16 credit hours of required didactic courses at the graduate levels.
  • Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination
  • Execution of an original research project facilitated by a dissertation committee that attests to research sufficiency (minimum 44 credit hours)
  • Maximum of 12 credit hours for the fall and spring semesters and 3 credit hours for the summer semester
  • Minimum of 6 semesters in the program prior to sufficiency
  • Submission and defense of a doctoral dissertation. Students a required to submit the dissertation document within four months after sufficiency.

Stundent Handbook

Click here to download.

Students Qualifying Exam

Admission to Candidacy
QE Request Form
QE Verification Form
SACS Assessment Form

Program Contacts

Stephen Lee, PhD
Professor and Program Director
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
(305) 243-5177

Feng Gong
Professor and Associate Director
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
(305) 243-9270

Annalise Fernandez, Program Manager
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
(305) 243-8474
Fax: (305)243-3955

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