Graduate Program

Graduate Program

Study Among the Best

With 2 Nobel Laureates, research recognized by membership in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and 6 faculty in the National Academy of Sciences, Duke’s Department of Biochemistry is one of the pre-eminent programs in the country. We offer a wide range of research options and close collaboration with our faculty—training you to become a skilled scientist who’s ready for academia, industry, or government.

Applications to the Biochemistry PhD (except the Medical Scientist Training Program) are submitted through the Graduate School. Once you've set up a user account, on the application "Program Information tab," first choose Intended Degree “Ph.D. (Biomedical Sciences Programs – School of Medicine),” then select "Biochemistry" for the Department/Degree of interest. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2020.

If you'd like to learn more about the biochemistry program and our research, sign up here.

A Note About the GREs
This program does not require applicants to provide GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or other graduate entrance exam scores, but does allow you to upload scores if you feel they enhance your application. If you choose to submit test scores, you may enter them on the Test Scores page. If you choose to enter self-reported test scores, official test scores will become a required component of your application. The Admissions Committee of the Graduate Program in Biochemistry evaluates all candidates holistically, on the basis of academic performance, laboratory research experience, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. 

Biochemistry graduate students learn the fundamental concepts in biochemistry and physical biochemistry and the critical analysis of published research through:

You will work with Primary and/or multi-disciplinary faculty to choose a thesis topic from a wide range of current research projects including:

  • Analysis and design of protein and RNA structure
  • Biogenesis of membrane proteins
  • Cytoskeleton structure
  • Drug design
  • Enzyme mechanisms
  • Glycoproteins
  • Ion channel structure and function
  • Membrane receptors and signal transduction
  • Membrane vesicle production and function
  • Mechanisms of DNA repair and DNA repair defects in tumor biology
  • Mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, drug resistance and tolerance
  • Metalloproteins
  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription and gene regulation
  • RNA modification
  • X-ray crystallography and NMR studies on macromolecular structure and folding

Broaden Your Horizon. Focus Your Career Plan

We provide resources that start you on your career trajectory with leadership instruction and professional development and teacher training workshops. In a testament to our career development, our graduates have taken positions in academia, industry, and government agencies. See where they're working.

Our Location Fosters Collaboration

The Department of Biochemistry is an integral part of the world-renowned Duke Medical Center and sits adjacent to the Arts and Sciences Campus—placing our faculty and students in the center of a highly productive and collaborative scientific community.

"I chose Duke for my PhD in biochemistry because I was drawn to their research, to the connections and collaborations Duke has to offer, and to the friendly community of people already in the department." 

—Sarah Ermatinger, 2018 Matriculant


We’re Here to Help  

You’ll have access to multiple resources that will help you transition to your PhD in Biochemistry and make your graduate experience just a little bit easier.

The Duke Graduate School
The Graduate School fulfills the academic, financial, social, personal, and cultural needs of all graduate students by promoting diversity, encouraging faculty/student communication, and advocating for your primary student role—immersion in your research.

The Department of Biochemistry
Within the department, there are the Faculty Advisory Committee, Research Mentors, Curriculum Advisors, and the Biochemistry Graduate Student Office that works for your success and helps you plan for your future. 

The Biochemistry Graduate Student Council (BGSC)
This council is composed of five, annually elected members who represent the graduate student body. Three members serve as core BGSC representatives; the fourth member coordinates volunteer and outreach opportunities; while the fifth member is the department's Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) representative. The BGSC helps identify and solve graduate student life issues by working with the department and the Graduate School.  And at monthly meetings, the council and interested students discuss upcoming BGSC hosted events.