Biochemistry — M.S., Ph.D.

Program coordinator
Penelope Duerksen-Hughes

The School of Medicine's Division of Biochemistry offers curricula leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The core curriculum provides a broad background in biochemistry-related issues and approaches. Advanced courses allow each student to fully develop an area of interest. Research strengths of the department include: cancer biology, DNA damage and repair, measurement of thyroid hormones, coagulation, neurobiology, peptide structure, vaccine development, and radiation biology.

The Master of Science degree provides content appropriate for persons preparing to teach at the secondary level or in related professional school areas; or for persons intending to pursue careers as research technicians. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare the graduate for a career in independent research and teaching in university, clinical, biotechnological, or government environments. Doctoral degree students are expected to develop creativity and independence, in addition to technical skills.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of the biomedical sciences.
  2. Students will demonstrate subject mastery in molecular, cellular, and integrative aspects of biochemistry.
  3. Students will interpret the current literature in biochemistry.
  4. Students will make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge.
  5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of scientific and professional ethics.
  6. Students will understand the process of applying for external funding.*
*

 This objective is not applicable to M.S. degree students.

In addition to Loma Linda University application requirements, the applicant must also complete the following prerequisites:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or the equivalent from an international university.
  • results of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE): A total (verbal plus quantitative) score of no less than the sum of the scores corresponding to the 50th percentile of each, with neither score less than the 35th percentile; analytical writing 4.0. GRE older than 5 years from the date of matriculation are not considered.
  • a full year of each of the following undergraduate courses:
    • general biology
    • general chemistry
    • organic chemistry
    • general physics
    • biochemistry (a minimum of one quarter/semester)

Strongly Recommended:

  • upper division biology (such as cell and molecular biology) 
  • a full year of biochemistry with labs
  • research experience
  • calculus

PLEASE NOTE: CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), pass'fail performances, and online classes are not acceptable for the sciences required courses. Additionally, science credits earned in professional schools (e.g., allied health professions, business, dentistry, nursing or pharmacy) do not fulfill requirements for admissions to the graduate program. 

The program reserves the right to decide on the equivalence of courses presented by the applicant.

A minimum of 45 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Two options, a research track and a course work track, are available. Students must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Major
BCHM ___Biochemistry speciific courses12
Seminars
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 23
Degree completion options10
Coursework track:
BCHM___
Graduate Biochemistry Elective (9 units)
Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar (1 unit)
Research track:
BCHM___
Graduate biochemistry elective (2 units)
Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar (1 unit)
Research (7 units)
Total Units45
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

May substitute with another religion course at the 500-level or greater.

Noncourse requirements

Course work track:  a comprehensive written examination over the graduate course work in lieu of preparing a thesis.

Research track:   pass an oral examination given by his/her graduate guidance committee after the thesis has been completed.

Normal time to complete the program

2 year— based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 77 units, as detailed in the table below, and must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. In addition, Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 503Biomedical Grant Writing2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Major
BCHM___Graduate Biochemistry Elective 312
Seminars
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar 22
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 43
RELR 588Personal and Family Wholeness 43
RELT 617Seminar in Religion and the Sciences 43
Research/Dissertation or Thesis
BCHM 697Research 212
IBGS 696Research Rotations 22
Total Units60
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total units required.

3

At least 2 units must be in a techniques course and 2 units in a didactic literature based course.

4

May substitute with another graduate religion course with the same prefix and numbered 500 or above.

Noncourse requirements

  • pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy.
  • successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree.

Normal time to complete the program

4 years — full-time enrollment, part-time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

Courses

BCHM 510. Fundamentals of Human Biochemistry. 2.5 Units.

Supports the organ system curriculum in the first year of medical education. Combines lectures, in-class quizzes, and case-based exercises to teach the biochemical basis for cell structure and function, emphasizing an integrated approach to the understanding of protein structure and function; intermediary metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids; and the metabolic patterns of selected tissues.

BCHM 515. Introduction to Bioinformatics. 2 Units.

Introduces bioinformatics methods and their application to biological research. Provides a conceptual understanding of the algorithms behind standard bioinformatics software, as well as practical experience in programs and databases commonly utilized in biological research.

BCHM 517. Scientific Foundations of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. 2 Units.

Provides students with an understanding and appreciation of scientific phenomena and with the ability to apply scientific methods, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in exploring, conserving, and managing their environments.

BCHM 518. Fundamentals of Human Biochemistry. 2.5 Units.

Supports the organ system curriculum in the freshman year. Provides a foundation in the nature and properties of biological molecules in the human body that can support the subsequent years of medical training and students' careers as practicing physicians. Combines lectures, in-class quizzes, and case-based exercises to teach the biochemical basis for cell structure and function, emphasizing an integrated approach to the understanding of protein structure and function; intermediary metabolism of carbohydrate, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids; and the metabolic patterns of selected tissues.

BCHM 519. Medical Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics. 4.5 Units.

Comprehensive course in biochemistry and molecular biology that establishes the biochemical basis for cell structure, emphasizes an integrated approach to the understanding of cellular metabolism, provides a biochemical/genetic/molecular basis for understanding disease, and examines the mechanisms for genetic information flow in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Course restricted to Biomedical Science Program (certificate).

BCHM 529. Fundamentals of Human Biochemistry and Genetics. 4.5 Units.

A lecture sequence for first-year medical students in biochemistry and molecular biology that establishes the biochemical basis for cell structure, emphasizes an integrated approach to the understanding of cellular metabolism, and examines the mechanisms for genetic information flow in eukaryotic cells.

BCHM 530. Biochemical Basis of Human Disease SM. 2 Units.

A series of lectures for second-year medical students designed to provide a biochemical/genetic/molecular basis for understanding human diseases.

BCHM 544. Advanced Topics in Biochemistry. 2-4 Units.

Recommended for the Ph.D. degree (2+2+2). Recent examples include proteins: modern methods of study; selected cellular events in carcinogenesis; enzyme kinetics; transgenic plants for human health.

BCHM 551. Special Problems in Biochemistry. 2-6 Units.

BCHM 697. Research. 1-10 Units.

BCHM 699. Dissertation. 1-5 Units.

BCHM 891. Biochemistry Elective. 1.5-12 Units.

Fourth-year elective that allows the student to create materials for team-based learning in the biochemical basis of human disease. Includes identifying a disorder that has clear and characteristic biochemical manifestations; as well as preparing a set of teaching notes, assessment tools, and application exercises.