The biochemistry program seeks excellence in teaching and research through a program tailored to the development of the individual student. The core curriculum is broad and students are expected to specialize through appropriate choice of advanced courses from the many offerings taught by faculty in their areas of research expertise. A strong seminar program involves presentations by eminent visiting scholars from around the world and by the faculty of many departments on campus. A graduate student seminar program provides further opportunity for acquiring insights into new developments in the field.
The Graduate Biochemistry Group administers granting of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry whether the research is conducted within the Department of Biochemistry or in other cooperating departments. The program of study is flexible, accommodating students with a wide range of backgrounds, including genetics, microbiology, physics, and medicine as well as the traditional chemistry, biochemistry, and biology degrees. Students are admitted to either the M.S. or the Ph.D. program based on qualifications, which include undergraduate and graduate performance, letters of recommendation, and program of study deficiencies.
Students in either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program take the two-semester, comprehensive, core biochemistry courses Biochemistry I and II and the associated laboratories, plus a one semester course in physical biochemistry. All students are expected to attend the weekly graduate student seminar and individual research group meetings. For the M.S. degree, students must complete 22 to 24 hours of course work and do research leading to a satisfactory thesis. For the Ph.D., 10 hours of biology courses are required, and advanced chemistry courses are encouraged.
Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. requires satisfactory performance in the two core biochemistry courses, and, early in the second year, preparation and defense of a research proposal on a topic selected by the student in consultation with their supervisory committee. This defense serves as the preliminary examination for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. Approximately 30 to 40 hours of course work are required for the Ph.D. in addition to research for a satisfactory dissertation. course work are required for the Ph.D. in addition to research for a satisfactory dissertation.
Bachelor of science plus master of science
A combined B.S./M.S. program provides exceptional undergraduates an opportunity to obtain both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Biochemistry in 5 years. Admission and retention in the program requires a 3.0 GPA. Students may apply after they have accumulated 45-90 hours towards the B.S. degree. Degree requirements for the M.S. are as described above, with the exception that up to 9 hours of credits obtained for the B.S. (Biochemistry I and II and associated laboratories) may be counted toward the M.S. program.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, appropriate and adequate course work, and an average of B or better in the junior and senior years or an excellent postgraduate record at another institution. Provisional admission may occur when there are limited deficiencies in undergraduate course work that can be removed by course work taken at Kansas State University or when there is uncertainty in evaluation of transcripts, as may occur in the case of international students. In the latter case, removal of the provisional status occurs upon the accumulation of 9 hours of course work with a B or better average.
Undergraduate and postgraduate credits should include analytical, organic, and physical chemistry, calculus, physics, and a semester of biology including a laboratory. Physical chemistry may be completed as part of an M.S. or Ph.D. program, but all other deficiencies must be completed without graduate credit. No foreign language is required.
All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam.
Students may apply for the concurrent B.S./M.S. program from the second semester of the sophomore year through the second semester of the junior year, when they have accumulated 45-90 credit hours toward the B.S. degree and have completed at least one semester of organic chemistry. Students may apply during the senior year with special permission from the chair of the Graduate Biochemistry Group.
The application process will be the same as for the traditional M.S. degree except that completion of the B.S. degree is not required prior to enrollment for the M.S., and the application must include a recommendation from the student’s undergraduate advisor. Minimum standards for regular admission and for retention in the program require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 in requireed math and science courses. The requirement for the Graduate Record Exam will be waived.
A minimal score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for admission to the Graduate School for any student whose national language is not English. Because beginning graduate students in biochemistry are appointed as combined teaching/research assistants, a Test of Spoken English (TSE) score of 50 of 60 is required by the Board of Regents. The test may be taken here or abroad. Students accepted into the biochemistry program usually have a TOEFL score of >620, or submit a TSE score of 50 of 60 or better with the application.