Skip to content

Biosciences PhD Program Comparison

The Molecular Biology (MB) Program and Biological Chemistry (BC) Program are two complementary interdepartmental PhD programs at the University of Utah that are housed under the Bioscience PhD Programs umbrella. They are designed to support multidisciplinary science and extensive collaboration among our MB and BC research groups, enriching an already diverse and vibrant PhD student training environment.Science Elevated

The research interests of the faculty in the MB and BC Programs overlap extensively, and this is reflected by the fact that many faculty members participate in both programs.

The Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology PhD Programs offer a variety of course work that provides a grounding in the wide range of scientific disciplines that are critical components on modern research. During the first year course of study, MB and BC students take several core courses focused on the the research objectives of the students as well as their respective program faculty. Thus, MB students focus on a "molecular" curriculum that includes Cell Biology and G3: Genetics, Genomes, and Gene Expression, while the Biological Chemistry students focus on a "chemical" curriculum that includes Biophysical Chemistry, Protein Chemistry, and Genetic Engineering. All first-year MB and BC students choose from the same list of elective courses, and also participate in the Protein & Nucleic Acid Biochemistry, Critical Thinking in Research, and Guided Proposal Preparation courses.

Some of the most important similarities and differences between the MB and BC Programs are highlighted in the outline below. To avoid confusion and delays in processing applications, students are asked to apply to only one of the two programs.  Students should identify the program that best accommodates their research interests and provides the most appropriate core curriculum. If you have any questions about either program, and/or their relationships to one another and the participating departments, please feel free to contact us.



Biological Chemistry PhD

Molecular Biology PhD

Bethany Buck-Koehntop Charlie Murtaugh
Research Areas
Biophysical Chemistry
Computational Biology
Bioorganic Chemistry
Structure & Function of Proteins and Nucleic Acids
Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules

Cell Cycle and Signaling
DNA Replication and Recombination
Regulation of Transcription and Translation
Membrane Biology
Cytoskeleton Structure and Function
Gene Expression
Developmental Biology
Macromolecular Structure and Function
Molecular Evolution

Participating Departments
Biological Sciences
Medicinal Chemistry
Oncological Sciences
Pharmaceutics & Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Pharmacology & Toxicology

Biological Sciences
Human Genetics
Microbiology & Immunology, Pathology
Nutrition & Integrative Physiology
Oncological Sciences

Faculty and Graduate Students

 Active Faculty ~70, Active Students ~70
Total Alumni ~320

Active Faculty ~150, Active Students ~160
Total Alumni ~939

Typical First Year Curriculum

Protein / Nucleic Acid Biochemistry (1/2 Semester)      
Genetic Engineering (1/2 Semester)
Biophysical Chemistry (1/2 Semester)
Protein Chemistry (1/2 Semester)
Ethics in Science Research
Critical Thinking in Research
Guided Proposal Preparation
3 Elective Courses (1/2 Semester)

3 laboratory rotations

Protein / Nucleic Acid Biochemistry (1/2 Semester)
G3: Genetics, Genomes and Gene Expressions (full semester)
Cell Biology (1/2 Semester)
Ethics in Science Research
Critical Thinking in Research
Guided Proposal Preparation
2 Elective Courses  (1/2 Semester)

3 laboratory rotations



Last Updated: 5/5/21