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Programs/Education » Masters Program

One-Year Masters Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

A two-semester graduate program designed to enrich and improve credentials of graduates to apply for admission to medical, dental or other healthcare-related profession programs.

Program Overview

This is a two-semester non-thesis program leading to a Master of Biomedical Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology degree.

The program is primarily designed to enrich and improve academic credentials of graduates. Our distinctive program emphasizes student development in four areas (coursework, experiential learning, presentation skills, and personal growth), and allows students to broaden and strengthen their academic foundation for further intellectual development, such as gaining entrance into medical-, dental- or health profession-related schools.

The core curriculum emphasizes clinical applications of biochemistry and molecular knowledge. Required courses include Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry and Human Medical Metabolic Biochemistry which are equivalent to Tulane’s first-year medical biochemistry course, Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship Seminar which provides students with a unique opportunity to experience Medicine Grand Rounds from the biochemical, molecular and clinical perspectives, and the Department Seminar series exposing students to novel research in the field of biochemistry.

All students benefit from several other biochemistry- or molecular biology-related courses. Program electives range from more medically-related courses such as Chromosomal Instability and Cancer, Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease, and Signal Transduction and Hormone Action to more research-related courses such as Biochemistry Research, Graduate-level Biochemistry, and Biomedical Statistics and Data Analysis. Additionally, the program has reciprocal relationships with certain courses in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Students may elect to take Tulane first-year medical course equivalents in Graduate Medical Microbiology and Medical Immunology, while enhancing their writing and presentation skills with Biochemistry Workshop – a journal club style course.

All courses are taught within the Tulane School of Medicine by full time faculty.

Program Results

Graduates of our program have been accepted into the following institutions:

Tulane University School of Medicine
Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Albany Medical College
Medical College of Georgia
Texas A&M Health Sciences Center
University of Tennessee College of Medicine
University of South Florida College of Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine
University of Southern Alabama College of Medicine
University of Queensland / Ochsner Clinic School
Wayne State University School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Moorehouse School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Master of Science degree program should have a baccalaureate degree. In general, applicants should have a minimum GPA (3.0), and either MCAT (26, pre 2015) (500, 2015-present), DATS (19). However, applicants with credentials slightly lower are also encouraged to apply.

We also look for students with a strong background in chemistry and biology: Students who have taken such courses as Organic Chemistry, Molecular or Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, etc.  Excellent letters of recommendation are also important. Lab research experience, though not required, is valuable for our consideration of application.

Degree Requirements

Students must take 30 credit hours of course work during the fall and spring semesters to complete the requirements for the degree. Additionally, students are required to take the NBME Shelf Exam in Biochemistry as a culminating experience.  Although not thesis based, this degree does involve several written assignments and oral presentations as part of the required course work. No research is required. Therefore, this is considered a "non-thesis" degree.

Program Calendar

The Masters of Biomedical Science degree program curriculum is designed for completion within two semesters. Classes begin in August or January. No courses are taken during the summer sessions.

Program Curriculum (30 credit hours):

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours from the courses listed below. 

Required Courses:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (GBCH-6020-01 fall & spring semesters, M 12:00-1:00, 1 credit hour/semester, course director: Hee-Won Park)  Students are required to attend and participate in the seminars given by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  

Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship (GBCH-7540-01, fall semester, M-Th various, F 1:00-2:00 discussion session; GBCH-7550-01 spring, M-Th various, F 1:00-2:00 discussion session, 3 credit hour/semester, course director, Hua Lu & course co-director, Jeffrey Han)  Students are required to actively attend each of the Grand Rounds offered by the Department of Medicine and an elective seminar offered by the various departments in the School of Medicine, and to give a one-page report post Grand Round. This report will summarize clinical and research topics, background knowledge, major experimental/diagnostic/therapeutic approaches discussed, key results, conclusions and significance of the studies presented in each Grand Round, as well as some critiques on the Grand Round. A one-hour discussion section on Friday will follow the seminars. Grades are based on participation and reports.

Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry (GBCH-7500-01, fall semester, lecture/discussion session, 5 credit hours, course director: David Franklin)  The objectives and content of the Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular structure and function, and the manner by which cellular processes are normally integrated and regulated.  This course stresses both the normal cellular function, and why disease states occur if normal cellular processes are disrupted. This is a medical school course equivalent. 

Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease (GBCH-7520-01, spring semester, lecture/discussion sessions, 5 credit hours, course director: David Franklin)  The objectives and content of the Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic pathways involving the four major metabolic compounds: carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides; and the manner by which metabolism is normally integrated and regulated.  This course stresses both the normal metabolic function, and why disease states occur if normal metabolic processes are disrupted. This is a medical school course equivalent.

Elective Courses:

Biochemistry Workshop (BMSP-7100-01, fall semester, BMSP-7110-01; spring semester, 1-3 credit hours/semester, course director: Zachary Pursell)  Students work in teams to present a seminar to the class on a selected research paper approved by the course instructor. Student teams will explain the topic background and specific hypothesis being tested, describe in detail the experimental design and results, and discuss the conclusions reached and whether or not they were justified. The student audience is expected to participate in class discussion following the presentation. In addition, each student is required to write a one-page summary explaining the hypothesis, content and significance of the findings for each presented paper.

Chromosomal Instability and Cancer (GBCH-7180-01, fall semester, 4 credit hours, course director: Arthur Lustig)  This is an analytical reading course in which students must present and critique data from papers that cover specified topics in molecular genetics.  The student is exposed both to the topic of interest (genomic instability) and the basic cellular processes in biochemical genetic terms.  Each pair of lectures will review a concept and then analyze how defects in the process lead to the disease state.  Three "supertopics" will be covered: 1) Chromosomal Elements; 2) DNA Damage; 3) Cell Cycle.  This course also provides students many of the concepts of molecular genetics.  Exams consist of a critique of a specific paper.

Graduate Biochemistry (GBCH-6010-01, fall semester, 4 credit hours, course director: William Wimley)  The course objectives are to provide graduate level exposure to basic Biochemistry, including the structure and function of proteins, membranes and lipids, the basis of enzyme function and metabolic cycles, glycoconjugate biochemistry, and DNA/RNA structure and function. Grades are assigned based on three exams given over the semester.

Graduate Medical Microbiology (MIIM-7500-01, fall semester, 4 credit hours, course director: Lucia Freytag) This course is designed to introduce graduate students to bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens that are the etiological agents of the most significant infectious diseases worldwide. The course will focus on the basic mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis with emphasis on the host-microbe interactions and the most recent advances on therapeutic and prophylactic treatments to combat these diseases. Important historical discoveries along with current scientific strategies to study the molecular basis of virulence will be discussed, and recent high impact publications will be assigned for reading and discussion. This is a medical school course equivalent.

Signal Transduction and Hormone Action (GBCH-7570-01, spring semester, 2 credit hours, course director: Brian G. Rowan) Current molecular mechanisms for cellular signal transduction pathways and hormone action including membrane receptors and downstream pathways, second messenger systems, receptor-ion channels, kinase/phosphatases, extracellular matrix signaling, signaling and cell death, Wnt signaling pathways and nuclear receptor signaling.

Medical Immunology (MIIM-7600-01, fall semester, 2 credits) This course is designed to provide a basis of terminology relevant to the basic concepts of immunology. It commences with the important components (cell, tissues; antibodies; immunoglobulins) involved in host defense against infectious agents. Introductory lectures serve to describe and differentiate between natural defense (innate) mechanisms and adaptive immunity mediated by functional B and T lymphocytes and their products. Subsequently, cellular interactions, especially the differentiation of helper T cells subsets and the production of relevant cytokines, will be described. This will include the mechanisms of T cell activation and regulation. Finally, clinical immunology will be discussed: autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases; hypersensitivity reactions, including atopic disorders and asthma; mechanisms of transplant rejection; and immunodeficiency disorders. This is a medical school course equivalent.

Medical Physiology (GPSO-6010-01, fall semester, 6 credits) A major physiology course taught by various faculty in the Physiology Department. This course covers most important concepts in medical physiology, along with updated information and in-depth discussion in all fields of interest related to physiological function.

Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease (GBCH-4060-01, spring semester, 1 credit hour, course co-directors: Samir El-Dahr and Zubaida Saifudeen)  The objectives and content of the course provide the student with an understanding of the pathophysiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of pediatric diseases. This course will link clinical aspects of pediatric diseases to basic science mechanisms and instruct the student on how to apply basic science information in the clinic.

Biochemistry Research (Independent Study, fall & spring, 2 credit hours (approx 6+ hrs/week lab time), course director: Yu-Teh Li) Each student will work in a laboratory to learn how different methods are used to carry out research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At the end of the semester, the student is required to write a 2-3-page paper describing the principle of the methods and the results of the work. The grade will be based on the feedback of the laboratory PI and report.


Full-time tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year is $24,500 to be paid on a two-semester basis ($12,250 per semester). This is a discounted rate from Tulane's regular tuition of $23,163 per semester. No tuition waivers or stipends are available for this program. Information on the possibility of financial aid loans can be found at the Tulane University Office of Financial Aid website at  Students will also be charged the following estimated fees on a per semester basis: Academic Support Services ($400 max.), Student Activities ($120), Reily Recreation Center ($180), and Student Health Services ($320).

Application Process

The application for admission to the Master of Biomedical Science degree program should be submitted to the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received and applicants will be admitted on a competitive basis. Therefore early submission of applications is highly encouraged.

1) To apply to the program, an online application must be filled out. APPLY NOW

NOTE: Several PhD and MS programs at Tulane use this application service. Be careful to indicate that you are applying for a MASTERS degree with BIOCHEMISTRY. You may also wish to send an email to Dr. David S. Franklin (program director,, Dr. William Wimley (program co-director, or Kelly Ragland Boyd (senior program coordinator, to notify us that you have submitted an online application to our program.

In addition to the online application, you must also submit ALL of the following items:

2) An application fee of $50.00 payable online to Tulane University at the time your application is submitted.  This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. 

3) MCAT or DAT scores must be reported on the application. If reporting MCAT scores, students must include their 16 digit VERIFICATION CODE from the AAMC website.  International students must also have official TOEFL scores sent, and all application materials must be in English.

4) An OFFICIAL transcript from EACH college or university attended.  Have your registrar send the official transcripts directly to the following address:

Attention: Master's Applications
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, #8643
Tulane University School of Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

5) Three letters of recommendation from professors, preferably from your science classes.  In lieu of letters of recommendation that have been prepared specifically for this application, recommendations on file from undergraduate career development offices may be submitted, but we need more than a single summary letter.  This year you may submit letters online through CollegeNet. The application website linked above should explain this procedure.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for the fall and spring semesters.  Qualified students will be considered for Fall 2017 until the class is filled.  Candidates who apply after the Fall class has been filled will be considered for acceptance for the Spring 2018 semester.  All materials must be received for your application to be considered.

For questions regarding the program, please contact Dr. David S. Franklin (program director,, Dr. William Wimley (program co-director, or Kelly Ragland Boyd (senior program coordinator,


1430 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112