Graduate Program Survival Kit

The Graduate Program (in general)

Q: What is the goal of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Graduate Program?

A: Our goal is to prepare our students to succeed as future scientists and educators.

Q: What's the difference between degrees in BMB vs. general biomedical sciences?

A: BMB is a traditionally recognized discipline that suggests to potential employers that you have mastered certain skills and have a particular knowledge base. It can be an advantage in your job search, particularly if you want to work for a drug company or teach biochemistry in an academic setting.

Q: What are potential employers looking for in Ph.D. graduates?

A: Depending on the type of job, potential employers are looking for evidence of productivity, creativity, trainability, and ability to work independently or in groups.

Q: Does productivity refer to publications and is that the most important part of my professional record?

A: Yes in both cases.

Q: How much will my grades count in obtaining jobs after I earn my Ph.D.?

A: Surprisingly, very little. Potential employers will pay little attention to your grades.

Q: But won't it count for something that I have a 4.0 GPA as a grad student?

A: Yes, but not much. Good grades do impress funding agencies, both internal and external, to help you get assistantships or fellowships both during and after graduate school. Even though postdoctoral fellowship applications usually include your transcript, your grades will not likely be considered as the major criterion for funding. Graduate school serves as a transition during which the criteria by which you were judged during most of your academic career, i.e., grades, marks, test scores, and GPA, are replaced by new standards - research publications and presentations, recommendation letters from those who know your work, and your ability to define a scientific problem and design and execute experiments to address it.