Program Description 

The Biochemistry and Biophysics graduate program focuses on structural and mechanistic biology at the molecular level, an area that is an intellectual meeting ground for students and faculty in the disciplines of chemistry, biology, and biomedical science. At The University of Montana, we have an enthusiastic cadre of faculty and students who share a passion for studying life processes at the molecular level and whose formal departmental affiliations are in the Division of Biological Sciences, the Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. This program brings faculty members and students together based on shared academic interests, rather than by departmental affiliation alone, and creates an interdisciplinary learning environment to better train graduate and undergraduate students for today's multidisciplinary approaches to molecular level biological research.
There are currently approximately 15 faculty members who are active participants in the program. The common research theme is that all Biochemistry and Biophysics participants are engaged in structural or mechanistic studies of biological molecules. Specific research areas include metabolic engineering and biosynthesis, DNA-metal interactions, nucleic acid-protein interactions, RNA-RNA interactions, viral RNA structure and dynamics, protein structure and folding, metalloprotein function, biological electron transfer reactions, neurotransmitter transport, and vesicular transport.
Research facilities available to Biochemistry and Biophysics students and faculty are outstanding, with state-of-the-art core facilities for ensemble and single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, biomolecular NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, Micromass LCT, QTOF, MALDI-TOF and ICP mass spectroscopy, DNA sequencing, microscopy, cytometry, and cell growth.  Research laboratories are highly collaborative and include facilities in Chemistry, the Division of Biological Sciences, and Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. These buildings are clustered on the south side of The University of Montana campus.

Program Degree Offered
Biochemistry and Biophysics M.S.; Ph.D


Degrees Offered

This program is geared primarily toward the Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics.  In some instances the M.S. degree  will be granted, however, applications to the program with the M.S.  degree as the ultimate goal will be given lower priority than those for the Ph.D. degree.
All students entering the program are expected to have completed one year of Calculus, one year of Calculus-based Physics and year-long upper-level undergraduate courses in each of Biochemistry and Physical Chemistry.  If either of these two latter courses has not been completed prior to entrance into the program, BIOC481/482 or CHEM371/372 must be taken in the first year.

M.S. Biochemistry and Biophysics

30 credits, thesis and thesis defense.   Course requirements are as described below for the Ph.D.  degree.

Ph.D. Biochemistry and Biophysics

Completion of at least 60 semester credits, comprehensive exam, dissertation and dissertation defense.

The core courses of the Biochemistry and Biophysics curriculum are BIOC581 "Physical Biochemistry", BIOC582 "Proteins and Enzymes", BIOC584 "Nucleic Acids" (3 credits each and BIOC600 "Advanced Cellular Biochemistry" (4 credits).  All BSD students will take these courses in their first  two years. In addition, students are required to take at least two graduate elective courses, selected from offerings in BIOC, CHEM, and BMED. Students are also required to do one laboratory rotation during the first semester in residence, and to prepare oral and written presentations on the rotation project.  Students choose their Research Advisor by the end of spring semester of the first year and from their Advisory committee at this time.  Additional credits will be accrued through participation in seminar series, research, and additional coursework as stipulated by the student's Advisory Committee.  More details are available at the Biochemistry and Biophysics program web site.


1.) Application Materials and Deadline

 Fall - Priority will be given to complete application packets received by February 1st. Complete application packets received after this date will be considered on a space available basis.

Instructions for applying to the Graduate School are in the Applying for Admission section on this web site.

In addition to the application materials required by the Graduate School, the Biochemistry and Biophysics Program also requires:

  • A statement of purpose and research interests (1-2 pages).
  • A curriculum vitae. 
  • Three letters of recommendation (We prefer electronic submission through the Admission Application. If the electronic method is used there is no need to send paper copies of the letters to the department.)

 2. Program Requirements for Admission

Admission is competitive and based on GRE scores, GPA (overall and in biology and chemistry courses), course work, letters of recommendation, other evidence of scholarly achievement, area of interest and the availability of resources.
The applicant's background or experience should be in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or a closely related field. Students accepted into the program are required to have taken undergraduate courses considered basic for a degree in these fields.  Preference will be given to applicants who have completed one year of Calculus, one year of Calculus-based physics and year-long upper-level undergraduate courses in each of Biochemistry and Physical Chemistry.   In some cases, students may be required to take courses that do not carry graduate credit to make up deficiencies in their background.
 Grade point average of at least 3.0 for all college work (4.0 = A).

 GRE scores - minimum combined score of 1100 in the verbal and quantitative ability sections.

 The Biochemistry and Biophysics program does not accept GRE scores that are more than 5 years old.

3. International Students

See information in the International Admission section on this web site.

 Financial Assistance

For additional information about financial assistance, see the Financial Information section on this web site.

Biochemistry and Biophysics Program 

Department website
Campus Location
Chem. Pharm., 310
Federal Express Delivery - Street Address
32 Campus Drive #1656
Missoula, MT 59812-1656
Graduate Program Coordinator
Dr. Bruce E. Bowler
(406) 243-6114
Fax: (406) 243-4227