Feb 27, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry (MS)

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The Master of Science in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry is designed to provide outstanding students in life science majors with a rigorous, quantitative experimental experience in molecular genetics, genomics, evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry (depending upon the research area selected). The program is intended to position and stimulate students for possible advanced study leading to a PhD in one of the areas stated above, and/or provide an important research experience to the background of a prospective medical student. The program will also provide fundamental tools and expertise for entry into master’s level positions in academic, government or private sector research laboratories, including biotech, pharmaceuticals or diagnostics. This is a terminal degree. Students who wish to pursue their doctorate at USC should apply directly to the PhD program.

Applicants must be undergraduate majors in the life sciences, who possess a cumulative and science GPA of 3.0 or higher and have the following courses completed or in progress at the time of admission: one year of introductory biology (BISC 120Lg /BISC 220Lg  or BISC 121Lg /BISC 221Lg , or equivalent), one semester of molecular biology (BISC 320Lg  or equivalent), one year of general chemistry (CHEM 105aLg /CHEM 105bL  or CHEM 115aLg /CHEM 115bL , or equivalent), and one year of organic chemistry (CHEM 322aL /CHEM 322bL  or CHEM 325aL /CHEM 325bL  or equivalent). All of the above must carry labs and be available for major credit in the natural sciences at a four-year college or university.

Because this degree is based on research, students must identify a faculty adviser prior to enrollment and submit a research proposal approved by that adviser to the master’s degree committee. It is recommended that students have performed the equivalent of independent study or a research internship (equivalent to BISC 490x ) in their laboratory of choice prior to admission. Students are expected to perform 6 units of research in both fall and spring semesters; alternatively, with the adviser’s approval upon enrollment, they may choose to perform the research component in variable increments in summer, fall and spring semesters to equal 12 units. This may be the preferred schedule if students wish to take additional electives during the academic year.

This program requires 32 units, of which 24 must be at the graduate level.

Core Courses

Additional Requirements

Students will complete a summative research paper that is written in publication format. The student will submit a proposed outline to the faculty mentor and one other molecular biology faculty member by January 15 for initial approval. The final paper is due on April 15. In the rare event that the final paper is not acceptable to the faculty, students may enroll for one more summer semester to perform revisions. If the paper is still not acceptable, the MS component of the degree will not be granted.

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