The Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) Master of Science Program
The Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology offers a graduate program for the Master of Science degree. This ~1.5 year MS program is designed to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, biotechnology, or further advanced studies in health and life sciences. Our pool of faculty represents diverse research interests spanning biochemistry, genetics, cell, molecular, and structural biology. In the five years since its inception in 2010, 51 students have completed the MS in Science degree. Of these, 21 have gone on to Ph.D programs at excellent institutions including Johns Hopkins, the University of Indiana, Stony Brook, Cornell and New York University. Four students are in medical/dental/vet school, including Harvard Medical school and Columbia Dental school. Eight students are working as laboratory technicians at places such as Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor, Rockefeller University and Washington University at St. Louis. Two students have science related jobs and one student is a patent lawyer for biological properties.
Students will be exposed to biochemistry and molecular biology related research activities, including theory and practice culminating with the MS degree. Core concepts and skills are taught through a series of required core courses, with the remaining coursework consisting of advanced electives and special topics courses selected in consultation with the student's advisory committee. A total of at least 30 graduate credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater are required for the MS degree. Of this, 24 credits must be earned in core courses in biochemistry, cellular biology, and molecular genetics as well as courses aimed at exposing students to laboratory research, literature-based research, and advanced methods in biochemistry and cell biology. The remaining 6 credits may be selected from elective courses, special seminar courses, and courses in experimental design, data analysis and laboratory techniques.
Flexibility exists to suit individual student needs and career ambitions. Both research-based and literature-based thesis options are available, and can be completed by full-time students in three semesters. Part-time options are available, although it is expected that all students will complete the degree within a three-year period. All students are required to complete a one semester 4 credit research practicum, in which students will be introduced to modern biochemical and cell biological research techniques through participation in ongoing research in the laboratory of a Biochemistry and Cell Biology or associated faculty member. For the MS degree, at least 2 additional credits of research performed in a laboratory or on critical evaluation of current literature are also required and these studies will form the basis of a written and orally defended MS.
Your primary advisor for the first year will be the Director of the Program. The Director will meet with you prior to the initial registration for the purposes of planning specific course requirements and helping you decide on laboratory in which to complete your research practicum. The Director will meet with you during each semester to monitor your progress and plan the remaining curriculum.
The Graduate School (www.grad.sunysb.edu) requires on-line application submission, including letters of recommendation. At The Graduate School website you will find an Admissions link to the on-line Application form.
Applications are considered year-round, but all prospective MS students (international and USA) must apply by April 15 for admission to start in the following Fall quarter.
Most students accepted into the BCB MS program have BS or BA degree in a life science related field, with an average of B or better in their undergraduate course work. Research experience in the life sciences is not required but will be considered as a positive indicator that may mitigate a deficiency in the academic record. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission, although a strong performance on this exam can be a positive indicator.
Pre-requisites: Mathematics through one year of calculus, chemistry (including organic chemistry and laboratory), general physics, and one year of biology (including laboratory). It is highly recommended that students will have taken two semesters of biochemistry, and one semester each of genetics, cell biology, physical chemistry, and English composition. Students accepted into the program without a pre-requisite may be asked to take the appropriate upper level undergraduate course prior to undertaking specific graduate level courses.
Personal Statement: What would you consider your special qualifications to be? What do you propose to do with your advanced degree, professionally? Discuss briefly your experience in biochemistry and cell biology outside the classroom.
Letter of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from people who can evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate work and independent research.
International Students: A proficiency in the English language is required. If your native or primary language is not English, you must take an English proficiency test. To be considered for admission, an applicant must present an acceptable score on the TOEFL or IELTS test. IELTS: Overall score of 6.5 with no subsection below 6. TOEFL: Paper-based test: 550; computer based test: 213; or Internet-based test: 90. Under special circumstances, lower scores may be considered.
Core Curriculum (24 credits):
- MCB 503 Molecular Genetics (Fall, 3 credits)
- MCB 520 Graduate Biochemistry I (Fall, 3 credits)
- MCB 656 Cell Biology (Spring, 4 credits)
- BCB 551 Introduction to Research in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Integrity in Science (Fall, 2 credits)
- BCB 552 Advanced Laboratory Methods in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, 3 credits)
- BCB 559 MS Research Practicum in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, Spring & Summer, 0-4 credits)
- BCB 599 MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall, Spring & Summer, 0 – 6 credits)
- MCB 601 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Fall, 1 credit)
- MCB 602 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Spring, 1 credit)
- MCB 601 or 602 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology (1 credit, may be repeated for elective)
- BCB 559 MS Research Practicum in Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Fall or Spring, may be repeated for elective, 4 credits)
- BIO 558 Biological Basis of Human Evolution and Behavior (Fall, Spring & Summer)
- BME 501 Engineering Principles in Cell, Tissue, and Organ Systems (3 credits)
- BME 503 Cell and Molecular Imaging (3 credits)
- BME 572 Biomolecular Analysis (3 credits)
- BME 606 Drug Gene Delivery (Fall alternate years, 3 credits)
- BSB 515 Computational Methods in Biochemistry and Structural Biology (1 credit)
- CHE 535 Introduction to Computational Structural Biology and Drug Design (0-3 credits)
- CHE 541 Biomolecular Structure and Analysis (3 credits)
- HBP 533 Immunology (3 credits)
- HBY 530 Cellular Physiology and Biophysics ( 4 credits)
- MCB 517 Membrane Biochemistry (1 credit)
- MCB 529 Organelle Development (Fall alternate years, 3 credits)
- MCB 657 Principles of Development (3 credits)
- BEE 552 Biometry (3 credits)
- BGE 510 Graduate Genetics (3 credits)
- BME 509 Fundamentals of the Bioscience Industry (3 credits)
- BSB 512 Introduction to Structural Biology (2 credits)
- BSB 580 Advanced Structural Biology (1 credit)
- CHE 536 Molecular Modeling of Biological Molecules (0-3 credits)
- CHE 542 Chemical Biology (3 credits)
- HBM 522 Biology of Cancer ( 1 credit)
- HBP 531 General Pathology (3 credits)
- HBY 565 Mathematical Models of Physiological and Biophysical Systems (3 credits)
CHE 559/AMS 537 - Biological Dynamics & NetworksHBH 550 Statistics in Life Sciences
- HBH 550 Statistics in Life Sciences
(Summer and intermittent electives)
- AMS 533 Numerical Methods and Algorithms in Computational Biology (3 credits)
- AMS 537 Dynamic Models of Gene Regulation and Biological Pattern Formation (3 credits)
SAMPLE PROGRAM OF STUDY – LITERATURE-BASED THESIS OPTION (30 Credits)
The literature-based thesis option requires 30 credits comprised of 24 credits in core courses, including 4 credits of MS Research practicum, 2 credits of MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and 6 elective credits. This option requires completion of a written, literature-based project. The following is a suggested plan of study for students with two full-time semesters at the G1 level (12 credits per semester) and a third and final full-time semester at the G2 level (6-9 credits).
SAMPLE PROGRAM OF STUDY – RESEARCH-BASED THESIS OPTION (30 Credits)
The research-based thesis option requires 30 credits comprised of 24 credits in core courses, at least 2 credits of MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in addition to the Research Practicum course included in the core curriculum, and 6 elective credits. The following is a suggested plan of study for students with two full-time semesters at the G1 level (12 credits per semester) and a third and final full-time semester at the G2 level (6-9 credits). The thesis option requires an MS thesis on research conducted in the laboratory of Biochemistry and Cell Biology faculty, in the research laboratories of faculty from other Departments at Stony Brook and at Brookhaven National Laboratory, or through research internships under the guidance of approved mentors at local biotechnology firms.
|Fall I||MCB 520 Graduate Biochemistry||3|
|BCB 551 Introduction to Research in Biochemistry and Cell Biology||2|
|BCB 552 Advanced Laboratory Methods in Biochemistry and Cell Biology||3|
|MCB 601 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology||1|
|Elective (e.g. BME 503 Cell and Molecular Imaging (3 credits), BIO 558 Biological Basis of Human Evolution and Behavior), or combination of 1 credit electives such as BSB 515 Computational Methods in Biochemistry and Structural Biology, MCB 517 Membrane Biochemistry)||3|
|Spring I||MCB 656 Cell Biology||4|
|BCB 559 MS Research Practicum in Biochemistry and Cell Biology||4|
|MCB 602 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology||1|
|Elective (e.g., and BSB 512 Introduction to Structural Biology)||3|
|Fall II||MCB 503 Molecular Genetics||3|
|BCB 599 MS Thesis in Biochemistry and Cell Biology||2|
|MCB 601 Colloquium in Molecular and Cellular Biology||1|
|Total 1, 2||6|
1. Note G2 international students must enroll for 9 credits in to maintain full-time student status for immigration purposes.
2. G2 students employed in a Stony Brook on-campus job must enroll for 9 credits to maintain full-time student status.
310 Life Sciences Building
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5215
Administrative Specialist & BCB MS Graduate Program Coordinator
Stony Brook University
450 Life Sciences Building
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5215
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
|Michael Airola||Structural biology of lipid modifying enzymes|
|Paul M. Bingham||Genetic control of development and gene expression in animals|
|Deborah Brown||Cholesterol/sphingolipid-rich domains in membrane signaling|
|Vitaly Citovsky||Nuclear targeting and intercellular communication in plants|
|Neta Dean||Glycosylation; fungal pathogenesis|
|Dale G. Deutsch||Marijuana; molecular neurobiology of anandamide|
|French, Jarrod B.||Structure, function and mechanism of proteins and protein complexes involved in human nucleotide metabolism.|
|J. Peter Gergen||Gene expression and development in Drosophila|
|Steven Glynn||Structure and mechanism of protein-unfolding machines in mitochondria|
|Hannun, Yusuf A||Bioactive lipids in cancer pathogenesis and therapeutics.
|Bernadette C. Holdener||Genetic regulation of early mammalian development|
|Nancy Hollingsworth||Meiotic synapsis, recombination, and segregation in yeast|
|Martin Kaczocha||Role of fatty acid binding proteins in pain, inflammation, and related pathophysiologies: Endocannabinoid pharmacology and development of novel therapeutics|
|Wali Karzai||Structure and function of RNA-binding proteins and biochemical studies of the SmpB•tmRNA quality control system|
|Levy, Sasha||Evolutionary dynamics, network dynamics, yeast genomics, high-throughput technology development|
|Erwin London||Membrane protein structure/translocation/folding|
|Ed Luk||Chromosome biology and genome regulation|
|Harvard Lyman||Photocontrol of chloroplast development|
|Benjamin Martin||Stem cell maintenance and differentiation, Developmental mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis|
|M. Mahmood Hussain||Regulation of lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis by micro RNAs and circadian rhytms|
|David Q. Matus||Evolutionary, cell and developmental biological approaches to studying nematode uterine-vuval attachment and morphogenesis|
|Aaron Neiman||Vesicle trafficking and membrane/cytoskeletal interactions|
|Sheppard, Keith||Director of Science Education, Associate Professor, Three areas of science education - all with the fundamental aim of improving the teaching and learning of science at every level of education.|
|Sanford Simon||Extracellular degradation by neutrophil proteases|
|Steven Smith||Structure and function of membrane proteins|
|Gerald H. Thomsen||Growth factors /signal transduction in early vertebrate development|
|Lonnie Wollmuth||Synapses that use glutamate as a neurotransmitter|
Department of Chemistry
|Elizabeth Boon||Nitric oxide signaling in bacteria.|
|Isaac Carrico||Site-specific protein labeling; glycoproteins.|
|Carlos Simmerling||Development of tools for efficient and simulation of chemical systems and using them to study the structure and dynamics of molecules involved in biological processes.|
|Peter Tonge||Spectroscopic insights into enzyme mechanisms and structure|
Department of Pathology
|Adam P. Rosebrock||Regulation of central carbon metabolism underlying cell growth and division.|
|Richard R. Kew||Leukocyte chemotaxis/inflammation|
|Kenneth Shroyer||Cancer biomarkers as diagnostic adjuncts in cervical pathology and cytopathology; cervical cancer and HPV|
Department of Pharmacological Sciences
|Bogenhagen, Daniel||Mitochondrial DNA; DNA repair|
|Holly Colognato||Extracellular matrix in the brain; roles during development and during neurodegeneration.|
|Michael A. Frohman||Early mammalian development; gene regulation|
|Miguel Garcia-Diaz||Mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression/Mechanisms of DNA synthesis and repair|
|Masaaki Moriya||Cellular responses to DNA damage.|
|Markus Seeliger||Molecular Mechanism of Protein Kinase and Ubiquitin Ligase signaling in Cancer and Aging|
|Ken-Ichi Takemaru||Wnt Signaling in Development and Disease|
|Styliani-Anna Tsirka||Neuronal-microglial interactions in the central nervous system|
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
|Mark Bowen||Single molecule spectroscopy; Coordination of post-synaptic glutamate receptor signaling by the MAGUK family of scaffolds|
|W. Todd Miller||Tyrosine phosphorylation and signal transduction|
|Hsien-yu Wang||Signal transduction and development.|
|Thomas White||Molecular biology and physiology of gap junction channels|
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the application deadline?
All prospective MS students (International and USA) must apply by April 15 for admission to start in the following Fall quarter (no Spring admission is available).
What research opportunities are available?
On the website (http://www.stonybrook.edu/biochem/graduate/bcb.html ) there is a link to "People", which lists the BCB MS members & their research interests. These are potential labs in which a student may be able to pursue research. Flexibility exists and students may do research in labs outside this list as long as the project falls broadly under the category of biochemistry and cell biology.
What financial assistance or scholarships are available?
Unfortunately, we currently cannot provide financial aid. There are no tuition waivers or TA lines, though there have been part time lab assistant-ships available through Stony Brooks Undergraduate Biology Program. In general, these are not sufficient to cover tuition costs.
What opportunities are available for under-represented minority students?
Loads. For example, several of our graduate students have successfully obtained NSF Bridges to Doctorate fellowships ($30,000 for two years). For more information and opportunities, see the Center for Inclusive Education web page (http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/cie/)
If a student has a GPA lower than 3.0, is it possible for them to be admitted into the GraduateProgram?
The Admissions Committee examines all aspects of each application, and a low GPA may be mitigated by other strengths of the application. However, this cannot be determined in advance without seeing the student’s entire application.
How many BCB MS students are accepted per year?
In 2012, there were ~120 applicants and ~15 were offered admission. 14 out of the 15 accepted our offer.
Is the GRE required for admission to the BCB MS Program?
The GRE is NOT required for admission; however, a strong performance on this exam can be a positive indicator. For foreign applicants, the TOEFL is required. We do not offer “conditional” acceptance.
Can the masters program be completed in a year?
The program is designed to be completed in three (3) semesters, but it is possible to do it in two (2), with completion of the thesis over the summer. However, to do so in an accelerated manner woulddemand that you enter the program with a very strong foundation in Biochemistry & Cell Biology.
Who can I contact with general questions about the graduate program?
Contact the Graduate School. A listing of degree programs where you may find contact information is located at http://www.grad.stonybrook.edu/ (select Biochemistry & Cell Biology under the Masters program). If you are checking on the status of your application and/or materials received, log in to your Application account at https://app.applyyourself.com/?id)=sunysb-gs. You will need your pin # and password to access your information. You may also find answers to your admissions questions on the Graduate School FAQ page at http://www.grad.sunysb.edu/admissions/faq.shtml.
Here are my GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores; does this meet the program requirements?
Without seeing your entire application, we cannot tell you for certain whether or not you will be admitted. Details about the program requirements, deadlines and how to apply can be found on our webpage: http://www.stonybrook.edu/biochem/graduate/bcb.html.
What is the requirement for each part of TOEFL?
All foreign graduate students must score a minimum of 90.
Should I contact individual faculty before submitting my application?
Do not contact individual faculty before admission. There is no point because students must first apply and be admitted to the program. However, after you are admitted, we encourage you to contact faculty that you may be interested in working with.
What type of flexibility does the program have to accommodate a full time career?
The biggest potential conflict for a 9-5 job is that most of the required courses are scheduled during the day. Therefore, students that are also employed must have the job flexibility to attend these required courses. With regard to the length of the degree program, sample study programs listed on our web page are designed to be completed in three semesters, but can be stretched out up to six semesters.
I am a permanent US resident, does that mean my tuition fees will be lower than international students?
The URL that contains a current breakdown of tuition and costs for resident and out of state graduate students is: http://www.stonybrook.edu/bursar/tuition/grad.shtml
I want to re-apply to the university this year, but am unable to start a new application or edit the previous application. What do I do?
Contact ApplyYourself. There is a technical support link that you can use.
Are my GRE & TOEFL scores competitive enough for admission?
TOEFL scores may not be below 90. The Admissions Committee examines all aspects of each application, and a low GRE may be mitigated by other strengths of the application. However, this cannot be determined in advance without seeing the student’s entire application.
Can a student get admission into the masters program if they've graduated with another degree?
Yes, but preference will be given to students that have not completed an MS in another Biochemistry or related field.
I would like to apply for my MS degree in BCB and I am also interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at Stony Brook (MCB, BSB or MGM). If I were to apply to the MS program for the upcoming fall and after a semester (or full year) I decide I would like to obtain my Ph.D., would that be a doable transition? Would any of the completed MS coursework be applicable/transferable towards a PhD?
Our BCB MS students take the same courses that our Ph.D. students are required to take, so all courses would be transferable. However, admission to the PhD programs is not automatic. MS students must apply and be admitted into the Ph.D. program.
How many credits do I need to keep my student status?
What undergraduate classes should be taken to prepare a student for a BCB MS graduate course load?
Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry (I and II)
Where on campus do Masters students usually live?
Graduate housing may be available. Contact the Graduate school to apply for on campus housing.
Can the language proficiency test for International Students who have or will graduate from an English speaking institution be waived?
If an International student has received an UG degree from an English-speaking institution, or has successfully obtained a graduate degree from an English-speaking institution, the department can request a waiver. To ensure the email comes from the corresponding graduate program director, send the email and cc the graduate program director on the email correspondence. Clearly indicate what qualifies the student to be exempt from the proficiency test. The request will be reviewed and responded to via email.
Will the department offer conditional acceptance for those applicants who do not fulfill the English proficiency (TOEFL) requirement?
What if I submitted an application to the BCB MS program in the past, and want to apply again?
The Graduate School will allow an applicant to reapply to the same program within a year. However, the applicant cannot alter any portion of their application - he/she must use the one on file. If he/she chooses to update any information, a new pin and application must be created.
Do International students need to use the WES services to process their transcripts before sending them to us?
Can a student sit in on a class that they are not registered for?
Auditing a class requires prior permission from the instructor first; not all instructors allow students to audit their courses.
If I have taken equivalent graduate courses, how many grad credits can be transferred and applied towards my MS degree?
12 credits can be transferred (as per Grad School rules). Contact the Graduate school as this rule may vary from year to year.
Where can I go for more questions about graduate school?
The Career Center website has loads of information (http://career.stonybrook.edu). Once on the website, click on Students tab on top of page, then click on Graduate & Professional Schools. At the top of the page are 3 tabs, Contemplating, Exploring & Focusing and Preparing & Applying (probably most helpful). Check out the whole website though.