The Graduate Center - The Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City
A graduate school of arts and sciences, the Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York, offering more than 30 doctoral degrees. In addition to rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a PhD- focused, scholarly environment, the Graduate Center fosters globally significant research across the faculty and in a wide variety of centers and institutes. It is an inclusive community of 7,000 students, scholars, and researchers, drawing upon the widest possible range of experience of race and ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. Extensive library resources are found at the GC and at each senior college campus throughout New York City.
Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry
The program is unique in that a large consortium of colleges and other institutions participate in pedagogical and research activities available to students. Lecture course are nearly all taught at The Graduate Center in Manhattan while research laboratories are located throughout the five boroughs of New York City at Brooklyn College, City College (CCNY), Hunter College, Lehman College, Queens College, College of Staten Island, York College and the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC). Over one hundred faculty members constitute the doctoral faculty teaching and sponsoring research in the program. Students in the program number around 90. Each year, approximately 20 are newly admitted.
A standard Biochemistry Core and Advanced course curriculum, as well as a specialized Molecular Biophysics track are available to students in the Biochemistry Doctoral Program at The Graduate Center. Mastery of current bodies of knowledge in core areas of biochemistry including macromolecular structure and function, molecular biology, enzymology and metabolism, bioorganic and biophysical chemistry, thermodynamic principles, techniques for analysis of structure and function is provided in core and advanced courses during the first two years (60 credits). Core courses include two courses in Advanced Biochemistry with associated seminar courses, one course each in Bioorganic Chemistry and Physical Biochemistry, and at least two additional advanced courses, usually in Bioinformatics, Enzymology or Cell Biology
Molecular Biophysics and two special seminars in that topic are part of the Molecular Biophysics track.
Seminar courses address the interpretation of current literature, grant writing, oral presentation skills, and career development. Research rotations (three or four) are required during the first year to allow students to become familiar with faculty research and to choose a mentor. The courses and experiences during the first year provide a foundation for research in one of the over one hundred doctoral faculty members' laboratories throughout the CUNY system and in affiliated institutions.
Milestones to the degree
During the first year, students take First Level Exams parts 1 and 2 at the end of the fall and spring semesters, covering topics presented and analyzed in the Advanced Biochemistry lecture and associated seminar courses. By the end of the first year, students will have chosen a research mentor and begun research full-time. At the end of the second year, doctoral students write and defend a Second Level Exam, which is in the style of a research proposal, based on their field of specialization. It is defended before the 5-member thesis committee established by that time. An original doctoral thesis is ultimately defended before the same committee for completion of the degree and graduation.
Wealth of Research Experiences
State-of-the-art equipment supporting research efforts are housed at the Advanced Science Research Center and other senior college campuses listed above. Representative techniques include: high resolution and solid state NMR, EPR, UV, and optical spectroscopies including laser techniques and circular dichroism; microcalorimetry, rapid kinetics measurements, surface plasmon resonance, cryoelectron microscopy, confocal microscopies, LCMS, GCMS and high resolution mass spectrometry, cell cytometry, advanced imaging, small molecule x-ray crystallography, high-throughput crystallography; and high performance computing for modeling and chemical calculations.
Federal agencies (NIH, NSF) and other sponsors currently support research in areas such as macromolecule-ligand interactions, molecular biology of cancer and anti-cancer drugs, ribosome function and RNA structure, drug design and synthesis, de-novo protein design, toxic metals, peptides for epigenetic therapies, biosynthetic pathways in human pathogens, kinases as regulators, photoreceptor physiology, and telomeres, among many others.
Most candidates enter the program with an undergraduate major in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or less often, Biology/Biotechnology. Competitive candidates will have taken Physical Chemistry and Calculus courses and have had research experience and a GPA in the sciences of at least 3.0.
Applications are completed online through the Apply Yourself portal where applicants will be required to upload all required documentation. The admission deadline is January 1 for attendance starting the following fall semester.
Required Documentation Transcripts, GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative, Writing), Letters of recommendation from two or three professors, Scores on English proficiency exams (required of foreign applicants)
Financial Support, Tuition Waivers, and Low Cost Health Insurance
All students receive financial support (CUNY Science Scholarships) and full tuition waiver for five years. Subsidized health insurance and parental accommodation are also available. Other mechanisms for support include privately funded fellowship opportunities and grants.
Most students will be assigned to teach at a senior college, most often a Chemistry undergraduate laboratory course as part of their financial support after the first year.
Degrees & Awards
Entrance Exam GRE General Test
|Doctoral Degree Exam||GRE General Test|
|International Students||Exam||Details||TOEFL: Required|
Tuition & Fees
|Black or African American||3.13%|
|White or Caucasian||20%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||Not Reported|
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||Not Reported|
|Two or more races||Not Reported|