The Ohio State Biochemistry Program

Welcome to the Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP)! This interdisciplinary graduate program trains students to investigate the biochemical basis of life and disease. In the program, students earn a Ph.D. in Biochemistry after conducting original research in world-class laboratories. The OSBP is a broad-based graduate program involving research faculty from six different colleges at the university. The interests of our faculty range from understanding fundamental biochemical pathways to dissecting molecular mechanisms that underlie human diseases. The training of our students is therefore equally broad, from basic physical biochemistry, structural biology and molecular genetics, through designing treatments for disease. Our students learn theoretical and practical aspects of biochemistry, gain skills in presenting their research, attend national and international scientific conferences, and participate in a seminar series with world-renowned speakers.


Application Deadlines


  • Domestic and International applications are due December 1.  Recommendation letters will be accepted after the application due date, however, applications will not be reviewed until they are complete.



Please note for the 2021-2022 Application Year: 

While significant research experience is normally highly encouraged, we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to many research opportunities for current undergraduate students. The OSBP admissions committee will be taking this situation into account during evaluation of 2020 applicants. We highly encourage applicants to explain in their personal statement how their existing involvement in research has prepared them for admission to OSBP, and to explain any COVID-related circumstances that may have affected their research plans.  



How To Apply

All applications must be completed online. Visit the Graduate Admissions site and read the Step-by-Step Guide. OSBP is listed as Ohio State Biochemistry Program - Doctor of Philosophy. If you are not currently an OSU student or employee, you will need to create an account first with the "create an account" link. In the application system, search for "biochemistry" and be sure to choose OSU Biochemistry Program - PhD. The Biochemistry - MS program is not affiliated with OSBP; OSBP only accepts student applying for the doctoral degree.

Upload all supplemental application materials online including:

  • Statement of Intent*
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Three Letters of Recommendation** 

*The Statement of Intent is your opportunity to share why you are a strong candidate with the admissions committee.  Be sure to state why you are interested in graduate studies in biochemistry and what you plan to do with your degree. Highlight your undergraduate research experiences and be able to communicate the scientific impacts of your work. Tell us about your research interests. Identify any faculty who you would be interested to meet or work with. Share any experiences such as extracurricular activities or community outreach that shows soft skills like  leadership, teamwork, perseverance, or independence.   Address any anomalies in your academic performance like an off semester or break in studies. It is not necessary to share your personal information like your specific health issues, but it is acceptable to say that a personal illness affected your progress or the like. Overcoming adversity is a strong asset and an indication of future success both in the program and as a future scientist.

**Recommendation letters will be accepted after the application due date, however, applications will not be reviewed until they are complete.

Upload official transcripts from all institutions directly to the Graduate Admissions web site.



The GRE General Test is not required for OSBP applicants. 

If you would like to submit GRE and/or GRE Subject Tests scores to be considered with your application, please have ETS submit scores directly:

  • GRE Homepage (institutional code is 1592, you may use 0000 for the department code)


English Proficiency

The Graduate Admissions English Proficiency site has the most up to date requirements for the university's English proficiency. The TOEFL is required for international students unless they are U.S. citizens or have obtained a 4-year bachelor's degree or higher from a U.S. institution (or an approved English-speaking country: Australia, Belize, the British Caribbean or British West Indies, Canada except Quebec, England, Guyana, Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales).  The TSE is NOT required.  Applicants who do not submit a TSE score will have an opportunity to take the SPEAK test at Ohio State.  The university minimum score requirement is 79. The OSBP average score is 99. TOEFL scores should be submitted directly:

  • TOEFL Homepage (institutional code is 1592, you may use 99 for the department code)


Admissions Timeline

  • Applications are due December 1. International students must apply by December 1 to be considered for Graduate Enrichment Fellowships and University Fellowships from the Graduate School.
  • OSBP Visitations in February. Domestic students will be invited to visit on a rolling basis, with most visits in early to mid February. International students abroad will be invited to a Skype meeting.
  • OSBP Admission Decisions in March. Most applicants will receive their admission decisions by mid March. Fellowships and NIH traineeships are typically announced between late February and late March.
  • Acceptance decisions are due by April 15.


Financial Support

OSBP students are guaranteed funding throughout the entire time they are earning their degrees, provided they are in good standing and are making reasonable progress. Funding includes full tuition and academic fees, a monthly stipend, and 85% subsidized health insurance. Student funding is typically provided by the program or a Graduate School fellowship in the first year. After the first year, funding is guaranteed by the student's advisor. Students may be supported as a Graduate Research Associate, Graduate Teaching Associate, Trainee or Fellow. OSBP students may apply or be nominated for an array of internal and external fellowships. OSBP students can also be selected as trainees of an NIH Training Program.


Training Programs

NIH Training Programs provide financial support for students, and also provide a community of scholars and increased interactions with students in a variety of graduate programs with similar research interests. Currently, OSBP students are eligible to be selected for the Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Sciences Program (CMBP), the Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP), and the Neuromuscular Diseases Training Program. Students are typically selected as applicants to the program or nominated by their participating advisors in the second or third year, and typically receive one or two years of support, depending on the program.



All OSBP students take core classes during their first year in molecular biology, protein and nucleic acid structure and function. After that, the curriculum is highly tailored to the student's research area with a large number of possible biochemistry electives in departments across the university.  Electives are completed in the spring of the first year, the fall and/or the spring of the second year.  First year students participate in a mentoring and ethics seminar. First and second year students participate in a student seminar series and in the Molecular Life Sciences seminar series.

Students typically do three 7-week lab rotations and join a lab in mid-spring. It is possible to do the first rotation in the summer before fall of enrollment, and if necessary it is possible to do additional rotations. A minimum of three different rotations is required.

All students must advance to candidacy by the end of their second year, and then meet with their advising committees annually until graduation.  The historical time to graduation is about 5.7 years. All students must graduate within 5 years of advancing to candidacy.


The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is the flagship university of the Ohio public system, and it is an entirely comprehensive university, with Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Food, Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Education & Human Ecology, Business, and Law (in additional to five others) all represented on the 1,700 acre campus north of downtown Columbus. Almost 55,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate and professional students attend the university, which has almost $1 billion in annual research expenditures. Access to resources, facilities and collaborations is virtually unparalleled.

Ohio State also provides extensive resources for enhancing the student experience, such as housing and career services, and it provides outstanding recreational and cultural experiences for the community. Ohio State is committed to a diverse learning and research environment, and strongly encourages applications from members of underrepresented groups.



Columbus is the 14th largest city in the U.S. The University helps bring a diverse group of people that makes Columbus both an affordable, friendly, and safe Midwestern city, and an ever more interesting place to live and work. Areas like the Short North, Downtown and German Village are bustling with galleries, shops, and restaurants, and there is excellent shopping at Polaris and Easton Town Center. Columbus has a mix of great college athletics at Ohio State and professional soccer, hockey and minor-league baseball.  It is home to arguably the best zoo in the world, as well as very nice museums of art and science. Columbus is also a short drive from spectacular hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.


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