In the BA/MS program, Clark Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) majors have an opportunity to apply their classroom learning to the research laboratory - and obtain an MS degree by intensive engagement in research for two years, one as a senior and one as a graduate student. The goal is to prepare students for further graduate study in a PhD program, for medical/veterinary/dental school, as well as prepare students for a career in biochemistry or molecular biology.
Departmental Eligibility Requirements
The program is open to BCMB majors. During the senior year, the student must take two BCMB courses at the 300-level; one in each semester of the senior year which counts toward the undergraduate degree requirement (non-major) and the MS degree. All courses required for the BA must be completed by the end of the senior year.
No later than the beginning of the junior year, students must contact a faculty member whose research interests mesh with their own (research projects can include those under the direction of approved qualified mentors at the UMass Medical Center or other research centers in Worcester). With consent of the faculty member, the student applies to the MS program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.
Students are required to meet with the BCMB Accelerated Degree Program adviser as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MS program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.
Program of Study
The BCMB degree requires a total of 10 course units and a defended thesis (includes the two 300-level courses taken during the senior year). During the fifth year the student enrolls in eight 300-level courses, typically fulfilled by some advanced courses in BCMB but with at least six course units in research. All courses must be completed with at least a B- grade.
During the senior year, the summer following it, and the entire fifth year, the student will pursue a research project.
Students who are provisionally accepted to the program must complete two science courses at a 300-level with a grade of B- or above. These two courses may count toward the 32 credits needed for graduation, but not toward the undergraduate major requirements.
Research must begin no later than the fall semester of the senior year and the undergraduate and graduate research projects must be with the same faculty member.
Students must complete 8 additional units with a minimum grade of B- at the graduate level distributed as follows:
- 6 units of research in BCMB 317 and/or BCMB 399
- 2 units of 300-level CHEM or BCMB courses
Students continue with their research and prepare a written thesis based on their original research, which must be defended during a public oral presentation. The defense normally occurs during the late spring or early summer of the fifth year.
Students in this program someetimes take longer than the fifth year to complete the culminating requirement (i.e. thesis/master’s paper). Students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (fall and spring) to complete all requirements for the master’s degree.
Student pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Students also pay a $20 activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.
Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed one year of non-resident status after the fifth year presumably to complete research and the master’s thesis. Please note there is a $200 fee associated with the non-residency status registration. There is a $500 lab fee, in addition to the non-resident fee for students conducting research in the labs.
*There is a mandatory fee of $25 for ProQuest to provide the University with a copy of the thesis to be cataloged in Goddard Library.
Students are required to meet with the designated program adviser and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Adviser Form. The signed form confirms that the student and program adviser have discussed the requirements of the program. This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website.
The designated program adviser is:
Deborah Robertson, Accelerated BA/MS Adviser
Lasry Center for Bioscience, Room 231
Your academic adviser will be the faculty person with whom you are conducting your research.
Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures.