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About the Programs

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.

Admissions Requirements

Students matriculating into the graduate program are required to have completed a 4-year Bachelors degree (or equivalent) with a superior academic record. The Graduate Admissions Committee meets several times a year to consider applications and will notify applicants of their status at these times. For full consideration of Fall admittance, application should be complete at the Graduate School by January 1. For full consideration of Spring admittance, applications should be complete at the Graduate School by September 1. We continue to look at applications that are submitted after the deadlines, but cannot guarantee they will have the same consideration.

The average GRE scores of students presently in the program are 156 on the verbal and 158 on the quantitative. A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a scale of 4.0 and a total GRE score above 290 is required for a competitive application.

If English is your second language, you must have a TOEFL score of 100 in order to qualify for both teaching and research assistantships. Exceptions will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Graduate Committee. You must also pass a test of written and spoken English upon arrival at Clemson.

Prior to enrollment, students are required to complete 1 year of General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics.

In addition to the above required courses, it is highly recommended that students enrolling in the program have completed at least one semester of Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Calculus.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. degree in Genetics, or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, requires 15 hours of coursework. Additional hours required for full-time status are fulfilled by doctoral research. At least 18 hours of doctoral research are required for the Ph.D. In addition, all students must register for seminar each semester of enrollment.

Program Curriculum

First Year

Fall Semester

GEN 8140 - Advanced Genetics
BCHM 8140 - Advanced Biochemistry
GEN/BCHM 9910 - Doctoral Research
GEN/BCHM 8250 - Seminar

Spring Semester

GEN/BCHM 8050 - Issues in Research
GEN/BCHM 8100 - Principles of Molecular Biology
GEN/BCHM 9910 - Doctoral Research
GEN/BCHM 8250 - Seminar

Subsequent Years

Fall and Spring Semesters

GEN/BCHM 9910 - Doctoral Research
GEN/BCHM 8250/8510 Seminar



Beginning in the second year of enrollment all genetics students are required to present Research in Progress (RIP) seminars as part of the GEN 8250/8510 requirements. Pre-doctoral students will present 15-20 minute seminars; doctoral candidates will be given a full hour to present.

Comprehensive Examinations and Defense

Successful completion of written and oral comprehensive examinations will admit the doctoral student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Comprehensive examinations are administered following the end of the second year, but before the end of the fifth semester of the program.

The student must prepare a Ph.D. dissertation describing the original research accomplished and the results obtained. When the dissertation has met the approval of the students Major Advisor, the student will present his or her research before the public and defend the research before the Advisory Committee and all faculty who wish to attend in a private oral examination.