Master's in Biochemistry

Master of Science
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 8032 Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission Status: graduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom only Location/s: main campus
Admission Materials: none

An applicant for admission to the master's program in biochemistry should have an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, chemistry or in a related area. Typically, a minimum of eight semester courses should have been taken in four of the five major fields of chemistry: organic, analytical, physical, inorganic and biochemistry (required); as well as appropriate courses in mathematics and physics. Applicants may be admitted on a provisional basis with the requirement that undergraduate deficiencies be corrected during the first year of study. Proficiency examinations are administered to all new students the week before the beginning of classes as an aid in planning each program of study.

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented in the Academic Overview section. All admitted students are enrolled in the nonthesis option by default.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Biochemistry is based on successful completion of either a thesis option requiring a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours following an approved program plan, a research proposal, thesis and oral examination in defense of the thesis; or a nonthesis option requiring 30 graduate credit hours following an approved program plan that includes the 3-credit hour Chemical Research Project (CHM 5095), and a final program examination. Students will be placed in the nonthesis option by default.

Thesis Option (department head approval required)

A thesis based on research conducted in residence at Florida Tech under the direction of a member of the chemistry department graduate faculty is required. During the first academic semester, the student selects a faculty member to serve as research advisor. During the same semester and with the assistance of the advisor, the student selects an advisory committee, prepares a program plan and defines a research topic. The student then progressively continues through the stages of research proposal, research, thesis and oral examination. Throughout this period, the advisory committee provides assistance and direction to the student and serves as the review board for the research proposal, thesis and oral examination.

Nonthesis Option (default option)

The nonthesis option requires advisor guidance in selection of six credit hours of coursework relevant to the student's area of interest, and Chemical Research Projects (CHM 5095) in lieu of the thesis. Research will be primarily literature-based and includes successful completion of a final program examination.


Each student follows an individual program plan. The program plan must have a minimum of 30 credit hours including two of four core chemistry courses, five additional chemistry/biology courses, and nine credit hours of thesis for the thesis option or six credit hours of relevant coursework and CHM 5095 for the nonthesis option. Students in either option must register for Chemistry Graduate Seminar (CHM 5900) each semester offered. All courses selected for inclusion on the program plan are subject to approval by the department head.

The thesis option requires successful completion of 21 semester credit hours and the nonthesis option requires successful completion of 27 semester credit hours from the following course lists. At least six semester credit hours must be taken from the core course list.

Core Courses

(minimum of six credit hours from the following)

  • CHM 5002 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes structure and stability in coordination chemistry, spectroscopy of transition metal compounds; descriptive transition metal chemistry and reactions of metal compounds; and lanthanides and actinides. Introduces bioinorganic chemistry.
  • CHM 5111 Advanced Physical Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Selected topics in physical chemistry. Includes statistical mechanics and molecular modeling.
  • CHM 5304 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes electrode processes, thermodynamic and kinetic considerations, electrochemical methods and recent research articles.
  • CHM 5500 Advanced Organic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Fundamentals of physical organic chemistry. Includes stereochemistry and structure, methods of mechanistic elucidation and selected mechanistic descriptions.
Chemistry/Biology Electives
Choose From:
  • BIO 4101 Molecular Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Presents the structure, function and regulation of genetic information. Includes in-depth discussion of nucleic acid replication, transcription and translation. Introduces uses and applications of nucleic acids in current research.
  • BIO 4201 Immunology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers basic immunology and the fundamental principles relating to clinical immunology. Studies the two functional divisions of the immune system, the innate and the adaptive immune systems, along with the cells and the soluble factors responsible for the immune response.
  • BIO 4301 Cell Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Emphasizes the interdependence of three systems: a membrane-cytoskeletal system, a system that directs genetic information into synthesis of cell constituents; and a system integrated into membranes that converts energy, supplied to cells as nutrients or light, into cell function and cell synthesis.
  • BIO 5012 Protein Biotechnology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces the fundamentals in protein biotechnology in industrial, medical and agricultural applications. Includes expression of recombinant proteins and analysis, transgenic animal and transgenic plant for protein production, gene therapy and the current status of the protein biotechnology industry.
  • BIO 5029 Chemical Ecology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies how small molecules regulate interorganismal interactions. Focuses on the molecular components and downstream physiological responses of the organisms involved. Examples show the technologies and techniques available for research in this area along with potential applications.
  • BIO 5501 Cell and Molecular Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Overviews molecular mechanisms used to regulate fundamental cellular processes. Emphasizes gene expression, cell growth, replication and differentiation, and on intercellular communications.
  • BIO 5502 Molecular Biology of Signal Transduction
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces current concepts of cellular signal transduction. Includes hands-on experience in essential techniques including production of fusion proteins and quantitative microinjection.
  • BIO 5575 Biology of Cancer
    Credit Hours: 3
    Comprehensively overviews the biology and molecular biology of neoplastic disease. Emphasizes recent research with oncogenes and oncogenic viruses. Presents lectures on causes, spread and treatment of cancer.
  • BIO 5585 Protein Structure and Function
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces the essential biochemical and biophysical techniques used for protein expression, purification and characterization. Covers current research topics in protein metabolism and human diseases. Also covers protein-based drug and biosensor development in nanomedicine.
  • BIO 5630 Sensory Biology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces vertebrate sensory systems, emphasizing the mechanisms of sensory processing and perception of events of varying complexity. Includes student review and discussion of current literature and several experiments.
  • CHM 5018 Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers advanced topics in inorganic chemistry. May include organometallic compounds, compounds of the less familiar elements, ligand field theory and advanced concepts in coordination chemistry.
  • CHM 5201 Green Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Extends and reinforces the basic knowledge introduced in undergraduate chemistry courses. Emphasizes chemistry for a sustainable environment, current clean chemical technology and waste minimization. Introduces new areas such as process design and solvent alternatives. Teaches recognition of the impact of green chemistry on daily life.
  • CHM 5501 Interpretation of Chemical Spectra
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies modern spectroscopic methods in organic chemistry. Includes the interpretation of 1D and 2D spectra obtained by ultraviolet, infrared, proton and carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance and mass-spectral techniques.
  • CHM 5507 Natural Products
    Credit Hours: 3
    Surveys organic natural products, emphasizing marine organisms. Outlines major structural families and their sources. Includes the role of natural products in the environment, approaches to their analysis and structure elucidation, and biosynthesis of major classes of secondary metabolitesis.
  • CHM 5508 Bioorganic Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes structure-function interrelationships, the role of cofactors, origins of efficiency and selectivity, recognition phenomena and artificial enzymes.
  • CHM 5520 Medicinal Chemistry
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies the chemical nature of physiological mediators, the hormones that mediate life processes. Includes isolation, structure determination and synthesis of the mediators. Preparation of inhibitors or activators of enzymes that work on those mediators or agonists or antagonists to the mediators to correct imbalances that cause disease.