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Biomolecular Sciences Track (Pharmacognosy)


Biomolecular Sciences is one of the tracks of the Pharmacognosy Graduate Program. (Formerly known as the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology track)

Three to four students per year are admitted to the Biomolecular Sciences track each Fall. Applications are considered on an individual basis. Because of the course schedule, Spring admission is not offered. The Biomolecular Sciences track exclusively admits PhD applicants.

In the Biomolecular Sciences track of the Pharmacognosy graduate program, students take a number of required and elective courses, with a strong emphasis on the basic sciences. The great variety of available elective courses makes the program highly flexible: it can be tailored to the students’ interests and needs.

During the first two semesters, students conduct three 10-week research rotations in laboratories of the Center for Biomolecular Sciences (CBS). By the end of the first year, a student chooses a lab to pursue PhD Research. During the spring semester of the second year of studies, students take a preliminary examination in the form of a project proposal defense.

Depending upon the availability of funds, students admitted to the program are usually supported through a teaching or research assistantship during the first two semesters of their studies (currently at a rate of $23,640 per year). After a student joins one of the labs for their PhD studies, he/she is usually supported from lab research funds as a Research Assistant at approximately the same level.

Graduates from the Biomolecular Sciences track have gone on to industrial research positions in biotechnology companies, academic research, and teaching positions at leading universities and positions in the government. Some of the students doing PhD research with the faculty members of the Center are affiliated with the Graduate Program in Medicinal Chemistry, the Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology, or the Graduate Program in Bioengineering. Students coming to the Center through this program are fully integrated into the Center research, life, and activities.

Most of the graduate students doing research within the Center are in the Biomolecular Sciences track, which is part of the Graduate Program in Pharmacognosy. The track offers a variety of research opportunities in basic and applied sciences such as mechanisms of antibiotic action, structure-assisted drug design, protein synthesis, protein folding, cancer research, microbial genomics, systems biology, and protein crystallography.

Students seeking a Doctor of Philosophy degree are admitted to the program in the Fall, and carry out their Ph.D. research in one of the laboratories of the Center. Because of the course layout Spring admission is not offered. The track does not offer a Master of Sciences option.


Applicants are considered on an individual basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Baccalaureate Field: : Must be in the biological or chemical sciences or pharmacy with a strong basic science component. Prior laboratory experience is required.
Grade Point Average: At least 3.00 (A=4.00) for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study.
Tests Required: GRE general.
Minimum English Competency Test Score:

  • TOEFL: 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based) or 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
  • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
  • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.

GRE and TOEFL submission code: 1851
Letters of Recommendation: Three required.
Personal Statement: Required. Personal statement should indicate why you wish to be a student in the Biomolecular Sciences track.


The application procedures for the Biotech Track are as listed in the Pharmacognosy Program page.


Graduate Program inquiries should be directed to the Biomolecular Sciences Track Coordinator:

Dr. Michael Federle
Center for Biomolecular Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago
900 South Ashland Avenue
3152 MBRB, MC 870
Chicago, IL 60607-7173
Telephone: (312) 413-0213
FAX: (312) 413-9303