Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Offered By: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Onsite | Full-Time | 5–6 years
About the PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program
In the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology PhD program, faculty, and students work together to increase knowledge of the biochemical and molecular bases of normal and abnormal cellular processes. Our program trains students to be successful independent scientists and gives them the knowledge, research training, and leadership skills to continue to provide new insights into the biomedical issues that have a profound impact on public health.
Students engage in a rigorous course curriculum and a range of structured and informal activities outside the classroom and lab to build their skills. They will pursue their thesis research in the lab of one of our over forty training faculty across the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Visit our dedicated PhD program website to learn more about the diverse research training opportunities of the program.
PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program Highlights
Our position within the School of Public Health provides a unique setting in which students learn how biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry, cell biology, and genetics can be used to solve significant problems in public health and medicine. Our program offers:
- Training faculty from across the School of Public Health and the School of Medicine
- A strong grounding in basic biology and public health topics through a curriculum that combines core courses in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department with electives that can be taken throughout the School of Public Health
- Training outside the lab and classroom in key skills such as communications and leadership
- Opportunities to communicate research findings in a range of venues, from department retreats to national meetings
- Access to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professional Development and Career Office, offering excellent career services and professional development for careers paths from medicine to biotech to academia and beyond
- Opportunities to participate in community service, engagement, and outreach, both within the Bloomberg School, and beyond, with a focus on our East Baltimore neighborhoods, through SOURCE
Training faculty across School of Public Health and the School of Medicine
Schools that students can take courses in - School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of Arts and Sciences
Two-month rotations in the first year prior to selecting thesis lab
Average duration in years
What Can You Do With a PhD In Biochemistry And Molecular Biology?
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology PhD program prepares students for a range of biomedical and health sciences careers, including in academia, industry, policy, and beyond.
- Research Scientist
- Science Policy Adviser
- Biotech Executive
- Senior Scientist
- Patent Lawyer
- Science Policy Analyst/Advocate
- Science Writer/Journalist
- Biological Sciences Teacher
The BMB PhD program faculty conduct research to gain new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal cellular processes, and their relevance as targets for improving health and treating disease. Our training program places particular emphasis on mechanistic approaches to research problems.
Common topic areas within our faculty's diverse research interests include:
- Biophysics and Structural Biology
- Cancer Biology
- Chemical Biology and Proteomics
- Cell Biology
- Cellular Stress and Cell Signaling
- Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
- Genetics, Genomics, and Gene Regulation
- Immunology and Infectious Diseases
- Translational Research
Curriculum for the PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The BMB PhD offers students a rigorous course curriculum, including a set of common core classes from the Schools of Public Health and Medicine. A rich array of seminar programs and journal clubs are also available to all students.
Browse an overview of the requirements for this PhD program in the JHU Academic Catalogue and explore all course offerings in the Bloomberg School Course Directory.
Courses in core curriculum
Minimum elective credits
Seminars on current research presented by experts from across Johns Hopkins and other biomedical research institutions
Courses available across Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Arts and Sciences
For the general admissions requirements see our How to Apply page. The specific program also requires:
Prior Work Experience
Laboratory research experience (from academia, industry, etc.) is required
Strong background in the sciences, particularly in chemistry, biochemistry, or biology
Standardized Test Scores
Standardized test scores (GRE) are optional for this program. The admissions committee will make no assumptions if a standardized test score is omitted from an application, but will require evidence of quantitative/analytical ability through other application components such as academic transcripts and/or supplemental questions. Applications will be reviewed holistically based on all application components.
Program Faculty Spotlight
Ashi Weeraratna, PhD, studies how cancer cells move to distant sites and how changes in the normal cells around a tumor contribute to their movement, especially as we age.
Michael Matunis, PhD, studies how protein modification by SUMO—the small ubiquitin-related modifier—drives changes in key cellular pathways from stress response to DNA repair.
Fengyi Wan, PhD, dissects the interactions between host cells, the microbiota, and pathogens to understand health and diseases in the colon.
Jennifer Kavran, PhD, MS, MPhil, is a biophysicist who investigates how cells communicate with each other and their environment.
Vivien Thomas PhD Scholars
The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI) is an endowed fellowship program at Johns Hopkins for PhD students in STEM fields. It provides full tuition, stipend, and benefits while also providing targeted mentoring, networking, community, and professional development opportunities. Students who have attended a historically Black college and university (HBCU) or other minority serving institution (MSI) for undergraduate study are eligible to apply. To be considered for the VTSI, you will need to submit a SOPHAS application and VTSI supplementary materials. Check back in Summer 2023 to learn about application fee waivers and VTSI application deadlines.
Tuition and Funding
All full-time PhD students receive the following support for all years of the program: full tuition and fees, individual health insurance, University Health Services fee, vision insurance, dental insurance, and a stipend for living expenses for students who remain in good academic standing. PhD students are required to serve as a teaching assistant for at least one term, in either their 2nd or 3rd year.
Need-Based Relocation Grants
Students who are admitted to PhD programs at JHU starting in Fall 2023 or beyond can apply to receive a $1500 need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to be able to attend JHU. These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their PhD program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need. View more information about the need-based relocation grants for PhD students.
Questions about the program? We're happy to help.
Mike Matunis, PhD
PhD Program Director
Roza Selimyan, PhD
BMB Executive Director for
Academic Affairs and Education Programs
Academic Program Administrator
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