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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Offered By: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Onsite | Full-Time | 56 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 the science of biomedical and public health research through a core curriculum that includes courses taught by leading experts from the Schools of Public Health and Medicine
  • Training outside the lab and classroom in key skills such as communications and leadership
  • Opportunities to build strong communications skills through a range of speaking venues including journal club, research colloquium, department retreats, and national meetings
  • Access to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professional Development and Career Office, offering excellent career services and professional development, including the BMB-required OPTIONS program, a guided process of career exploration for paths from medicine to biotech to academia and beyond for careers paths from medicine to biotech to academia and beyond
  • Opportunities to participate in community service and outreach, with a focus on our East Baltimore neighborhoods, through the Johns Hopkins University community engagement and service-learning center, SOURCE


Training faculty across the School of Public Health and the School of Medicine


Schools that students can take courses in: Public Health, Arts & Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering


Two-month rotations in the first year prior to selecting thesis lab


Average number of incoming students in the BMB PhD degree program each year

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. Visit the Graduate Employment Outcomes Dashboard to learn about Bloomberg School graduates' employment status, sector, and salaries.

Sample Careers

  • Research Scientist
  • Professor
  • Science Policy Adviser
  • Biotech Executive
  • Senior Scientist
  • Patent Lawyer
  • Science Policy Analyst/Advocate
  • Science Writer/Journalist
  • Biological Sciences Teacher

Topic Areas

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
  • 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

Admissions Requirements

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

Prior Coursework

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

Ashani Weeraratna
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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.

Jennifer Kavran
Associate Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Jennifer Kavran, PhD, MS, MPhil, is a biophysicist who investigates how cells communicate with each other and their environment.

Assistant Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Danfeng Cai, PhD, combines advanced microscopy, genomics, and proteomics to tease out the functions of protein condensates in cells, with a focus on cancer.

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, VTSI supplementary materials, and all supporting documents (letters, transcripts, and test scores) by December 1, 2023. VTSI applicants are eligible for an application fee waiver, but the fee waiver must be requested by November 15, 2023 and prior to submission of the SOPHAS application.

Vivien Thomas

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.

Contact Us

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

Erika Vaitekunas
Administrative Specialist