Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
In the BA/MS program, Clark Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors have an opportunity to apply their classroom learning to the research laboratory and obtain an M.S. degree by intensive engagement in research for two years, one as a senior and one as a graduate student. This will prepare students for further graduate study in a Ph.D. program, or for medical/veterinary/dental school. The program begins in the undergraduate's junior year, when the student identifies a professor whose research in biochemistry or molecular biology interests them (research projects can include those under the direction of approved qualified mentors at the UMass Medical Center or other research centers in Worcester). Although research towards the M.. can begin as early as the freshman year, it normally starts in the summer after the junior year, or in the fall semester of the senior year. The research project continues throughout the senior year (while finishing up BA course requirements), the following summer, and for a further fifth year. The goal is to generate publishable research and to be well prepared for a career in biochemistry or molecular biology.
Entry into the program
During their junior year, students contact a faculty member whose research interests mesh with their own (descriptions of Clark BCMB program faculty research interests are available on the web). With the consent of the faculty member, the student should then apply to the program.
Program of study
All courses required for the BA must be completed by the end of the senior year. At any stage of their BA degree or during the fifth year, two 200- or 300-level courses (not including research) that are in addition to those required by the major (or any minor) must be completed. During the fifth year the student is enrolled in eight 300-level courses, typically fulfilled by some advanced courses in BCMB but with at least six course credits in research. All courses must be completed with at least a B- grade.
During the senior year, the summer following it, and the entire fifth year, the student will pursue a research project. Research must begin no later than the fall semester of the senior year and the undergraduate and graduate research projects must be with the same faculty member. At the beginning of their fifth year, students must select an advisory committee of three faculty members of the BCMB program or, if the primary mentor is at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, two Clark faculty and the off-campus mentor. Students prepare a written thesis based on their original research, which must be defended during an oral presentation. The defense normally occurs during the late spring or early summer at the end of the fifth year.
Students are required to pay a on-time program fee of $1,000 which is assessed in the first semester of graduate study. Graduate students also pay a $15.00 activity fee in the fall and in the spring semesters and a one-time Enrollment Fee of $100 in the first semester of graduate study.
Please note: Students who stay beyond the fifth year must register as a non-resident student and pay the $200/semester non-resident fee as well as a $500/semester lab fee. It is also important to note that ADP students are allowed one year of non-residency beyond the fifth year.
Denis Larochelle, Accelerated BA/MS Program Director/Advisor
Lasry Center for Bioscience, 15 Maywood Street