Degrees Offered


The department offers separate programs in Genetics or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Enrollment is open to students with baccalaureate degrees in agricultural, biological, or physical sciences or engineering. Entering students must have excellent academic records in mathematical, physical, and biological sciences.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

The Department of Genetics and Biochemistry offers the PhD in both genetics and biochemistry and molecular biology. Graduate research in both programs includes human, animal, plant and microbial biochemistry and genetics, as well as molecular and biometrical genetics. Core courses for both programs include advanced discipline specific courses, as well as courses in methods, proteomics and genomics and professional development. Additional courses are selected from the biochemistry/genetics curriculum, special offerings and supporting departments’ course offerings to provide the academic and technical competencies needed to enhance the research focus of your program.

If you are accepted as a teaching assistant, you will select an advisor and begin your thesis research after a one-year, three-laboratory rotation. If you are accepted as a research assistant, you will forgo the rotation period but must be accepted by a research advisor before admission. An advisory committee, selected by you and your advisor, determines your course work requirements, keeps track of your progress in the classroom and laboratory and administers the final examinations. Although course requirements vary for each division, breadth and depth of preparation are expected of each candidate in his or her chosen discipline.

You will be kept abreast of recent developments in genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology through seminars, colloquia, journal clubs and special courses. Much of your education will be received informally through frequent discussions with faculty and other students, both within and outside the department. You are expected to present research results at regional and national scientific meetings, publish in recognized journals and submit grant proposals in collaboration with faculty members.

The Department of Genetics and Biochemistry collaborates with several other University departments and colleges in teaching and research, including the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Textiles, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Biological Sciences and Entomology.


The laboratories comprising the Department of Genetics and Biochemistry are housed in Jordan Hall and in the Biosystems Research Complex. The department is well equipped with conventional instrumentation expected for modern genetic and biochemical analyses. Graduate students have direct access to specialized research laboratories, including a DNA-sequencing and microarray facility, genotyping analysis equipment and program packages (including a LiCor 4300 DNA Analyzer suite), a computerized bioinstrumentation laboratory, a computing cluster listed among the top 100 worldwide, a confocal/electron microscopy suite equipped for transmission and scanning electron microscopy, a flow-activated cell sorter, controlled-environment chambers, a tissue-culture laboratory, fully equipped darkrooms, isotope handling and counting facilities, plant growth chambers, a $7-million greenhouse complex suitable for use with transgenic plants, and a small-animal care facility with surgical capabilities.


Application Information

Graduate students in the Department of Genetics & Biochemistry are supported on teaching or research assistantships through a graduate advisor. Teaching assistantships are assigned by the Departmental Chair as recommended by the Graduate Committee for students with excellent oral English skills to assist in teaching the laboratory and lecture courses offered by the Department. These teaching assistantships are limited in number and are offered to outstanding applicants at the time of admission, based on their GRE and TOEFL scores, transcripts and recommendations.

Periodically, there are a limited number of research assistantships available, at the discretion of individual investigators, to qualified applicants. Qualification for these positions is based on GRE scores, transcripts and recommendations as well as their interests in research programs under the direction of particular investigators. Arrangements for research assistantships are usually coordinated between the applicant and the professor and the formal offer is tendered with the admission papers. The Graduate Admissions Committee does not accept unsupported or part-time students.

Entering students are required to have completed the equivalent of a US Bachelors degree with a satisfactory academic record. Prior to enrollment, students are required to complete basic undergraduate biology courses (cell biology strongly recommended), chemistry and physical chemistry courses (organic chemistry required, biochemistry and physical chemistry strongly recommended), a genetics course (strongly recommended), and physics (required).

Applications, as well as information on test scores and required documents can be found on the Genetics and Biochemistry Website. Required items in support of the application must be received by January 1 for fall admission and by September 1 for spring admission for full consideration.

If English is not an applicant’s native language, a satisfactory TOEFL score is required to qualify for a teaching assistantship. All applicants, whether accepted as teaching or research assistants, must also pass a test of written and spoken English upon arrival at Clemson. We strongly encourage you to check out the "Inside Scoop" information located at the for guidance on average TOEFL scores, GRE scores and GPAs of students admitted to the program.

Required Documents


Financial support is provided through grant-supported research assistantships, University-supported research and teaching assistantships, graduate fellowships and grants-in-aid. The most current information about stipends and support, as well as fees and costs can be found on our website at


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)