Illinois logo MCB The Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology

Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of Biochemistry offers graduate work leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Science degrees. These prepare students for positions in industrial laboratories, research institutes, and government agencies, as well as for teaching, research, and administration in colleges and universities. Graduate degrees are earned through a combination of graded courses, oral and written examinations, and independent research. In consultation with faculty advisors and based on the student's academic background, individual programs are fashioned for each student.


The department provides a comprehensive training program in biochemistry and molecular biology. We have 30 graduate faculty and nearly 100 graduate students. This enables us to provide a stimulating research environment and at the same time promotes close interactions between faculty and graduate students. The intellectual development of the individual student is fostered by a relaxed, informal atmosphere, which facilitates exposure to a variety of scientific viewpoints, and by events such as our annual research conference and seminar program at which graduate students describe their research.

Faculty research programs encompass a diverse array of research interests. Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry carry out research in the most dynamic areas of current research in biological chemistry and molecular biology: physical approaches to the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, including x-ray crystallography; genomics, enzymology; membrane biochemistry and protein-lipid interactions; protein-nucleic acid interactions; molecular biological approaches to gene organization and expression; immunology; microbial physiology, and signal transduction. The diversity of our research interests is strengthened by the established collaborations and free exchange of ideas and techniques between laboratories. Most laboratories use interdisciplinary approaches and innovative computer applications.


The Department of Biochemistry contains all of the equipment appropriate for modern biochemical research. Specialized facilities available within the department include equipment for large scale growth and processing of animal cells as well as state-of-the-art x-ray diffraction equipment. Other supporting facilities include specialized laboratories for recording infrared, ultraviolet, fluorescence, electron spin resonance, mass, nuclear magnetic resonance, circular dichroism, and optical rotatory dispersion spectra. Electronic, machine, photographic, and glass-blowing shops are also available. Both the School of MCB and campus house a wide array of research facilities and support services.

Admission Process

Biochemistry is part of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) at the University of Illinois. For graduate studies in Biochemistry apply directly to the MCB Graduate Program. Once admitted into MCB, you can choose from available laboratories run by Biochemistry faculty members and others in MCB. During your first semester, you rotate through three laboratories in order to learn experimental techniques and the information you need to choose a research project. You will select a research adviser and formally join the graduate program by the spring semester of your first year.

Financial Support

All students accepted into the Ph.D. program receive year-round financial support through fellowships, traineeships, or graduate assistantships, which provide a generous stipend as well as a full tuition and partial fee waiver. The Biochemistry Department guarantees financial support to all students as long as they are making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Students are also encouraged to apply for extramural predoctoral fellowships for which they may be eligible (NSF, Howard Hughes, Ford Foundation, and other fellowships, foreign government scholarships, and so on). M.S. candidates do not normally receive financial support from the department.

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