Biochemistry & Structural Biology Theme

Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to the Graduate School.

Director: Dr. David Schneider
Program Manager: Kristin Boggs
Phone: (205) 934-7810

Theme Information


Biochemistry & Structural Biology is looking for students who have a strong desire to understand life at the molecular level. Our goal is to teach the skills, implant the inspiration, encourage imagination, and nurture the dedication essential for our graduates to become world-class researchers.

Our faculty and students are dedicated to excellence in both coursework and research programs, and we are honored that our team’s accomplishments and discoveries have been chronicled in (Nature, Structure, other names here) and other noted journals and publications of record.  New students join a select family of faculty and students who work and study together within the Biochemistry and Structural Biology Theme at UAB. We teach you how to think- what questions to ask and where to search for answers. We give you the skills and background necessary to launch a successful scientific career as an independent researcher.

Whether you choose to pursue advanced studies in molecular genetics, stem cell biology, or many of the diverse areas of research within the Biochemistry and Structural Biology theme, you will find the work interesting, challenging and rewarding. It piques the curiosity, sparks the imagination, enlists your resourcefulness and brings a sense of fulfillment that comes from exciting research and exhilarating discover.

Admission Requirements

The BSB theme encourages applications from students interested in receiving a graduate degree in biomedical sciences. Applications are strongly encouraged from individuals with previous work experience, a master's degree in related area, or a professional degree such as the M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M. or O.D.

Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Biomedical Sciences Admissions Committee. Acceptance will be based on undergraduate performance (both the curriculum and grade point average), letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a personal statement of research interests, performance in other graduate programs or research activities and, if possible, a personal interview.

Acceptance into the BSB theme requires a bachelor's degree including undergraduate coursework in calculus, general and organic chemistry, and at least one introductory course in zoology or biology by the time of entrance.

The general requirements for acceptance into the program are –

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Combined verbal/quantitative score on the GRE of 300 (new test) or 1100 (old test) 
  • A strong background in biology, chemistry, and/or mathematics. Undergraduate level courses in cell biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, and genetics are strongly encouraged.  Undergraduate mathematics through calculus and physics are also recommended.

International students must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) earned within the last two years.  Applicants with scores of 600 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based) or higher will be considered.

Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB) Curriculum


Laboratory Rotations
  • Three laboratory rotations - 10 weeks each
  • Select dissertation advisor in the Spring following lab rotations.

Course Work

  • August - October: GBS Core Course; 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. every weekday
  • November - December: BSB Laboratory Methods Course; 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. every weekday

 January - April:  BSB courses - 1 month each:

  • January - Molecular Enzymology
  • February - RNA Biology
  • March - Molecular Genetics
  • April - Stem Cell Biology 


  • Choose Thesis Committee - Mentor plus four faculty members
  • Thesis Research
  • Three Advanced Courses
  • Journal Club
  • Graduate Student Research Meeting (meets once a month)

YEARS 3 and 4

  • Completion of advanced course work
  • Thesis Research
  • Journal Club
  • Graduate Student Research Meeting (meets once a month)
  • Qualifying Exam on thesis project - Written proposal and defense (3rd yr.)


  • Dissertation research
  • Dissertation Defense (public and private)

Biochemistry & Structural Theme Faculty

The faculty listing for the Biochemistry and Structural Biology theme is located at

Additional Information

Application Deadline Refer to Theme website for deadline information:
Letters of Recommendation Three letters required
Entrance Tests GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

For more information, contact:
Kristin Boggs
Program Manager, Biochemistry & Structural Biology Theme
1825 University Blvd; SHEL 120-E
Birmingham, AL 35294
Tel: 205.934.7810
Fax: 205.996.6749