Molecular Biology, Applied (APMB)

Department of Biological Sciences

STEPHEN MILLER, Graduate Program Director

BIEBERICH, CHARLES J., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Developmental biology
FARABAUGH, PHILIP J., Ph.D., Harvard University; Molecular genetics
LINDAHL, LASSE, Ph.D., University of Copenhagen; Molecular biology, gene expression
OSTRAND-ROSENBERG, SUZANNE, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology; Immunology
ROBINSON, PHYLLIS R., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Signal transduction in the visual system. Elucidation of the mechanisms of activation and deactivation of vertebrate visual pigments.
WOLF, RICHARD E., JR., Ph.D., University of Cincinnati; Molecular biology, gene regulation

Associate Professors
BLUMBERG, DAPHNE D., Ph.D., Tufts University; Developmental biology
BREWSTER, RACHEL, Ph.D., University of Michigan; Developmental biology, neuroscience
BUSTOS, MAURICIO M., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Plant molecular biology
CRAIG, NESSLY C., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Molecular biology of mammalian cells
EISENMANN, DAVID M., Ph.D., Harvard University; Developmental biology, signal transduction
LEIPS, JEFFERY W. Ph.D., Florida State University; Molecular and organismal ecology, molecular biology/genetics, ecology, environmental biology
MILLER, STEPHEN M., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Development, plant biology, evolution
OMLAND, KEVIN, Ph.D., State University of New York, Albany; Evolution, molecular systematics, animal behavior, ecology
SCHREIER, HAROLD J., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Microbiology, gene regulation

Assistant Professor
ERILL, IVAN. Ph. D. Autonomous University of Barcelona; Computational modeling of transcriptional regulation and evolution, and machine learning methods for genome analysis.
KANN, MARICEL, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Computational approaches for the detection of protein domains and protein interactions, and bioinformatics methodologies to understand the molecular basis of diseases.
LIN, WEIHONG, Ph.D., Colorado State University; Developmental biology
LOHR, BERNARD, Ph.D., Duke University; Neuroscience and Evolutional biology
LU, HUA, Ph.D., Texas A&M University; Molecular genetics and cell biology
MENDELSON, TAMRA, Ph.D., Duke University; Evolution, mechanisms of speciation, sexual selection
STARZ-GAIANO, MICHELLE. Ph.D, New York University; Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cell migration during development, using Drosophila genetics to identify novel genes and components of signaling pathways.

Senior Research Scientist
ZENGEL, JANICE, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Genetics

Senior Lecturer
WOLF, JULIE B., M.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Degree Offered


Program Description

Biotechnology remains a major growth industry. Professionals trained in recombinant DNA techniques and other aspects of modern molecular biology are in great demand. Much of this demand is for master’s-level graduates who have the theoretical knowledge and laboratory experience to carry out research projects. To meet the need for this kind of science professional, a professional M.S. program in Applied Molecular Biology (APMB) was established at UMBC in 1981. The program complements existing master’s and doctoral programs and takes advantage of vigorous, ongoing research programs in molecular biology and related areas at UMBC.

The course of study was developed in collaboration with several biotechnology companies in the Baltimore-Washington area. The M.S. degree in Applied Molecular Biology is designed to be completed in two semesters for holders of a baccalaureate degree. In addition, UMBC undergraduates majoring in Biological Sciences or in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology may participate in a combined B.S./M.S. program that requires a minimum of one semester in the Graduate School after the bachelor’s degree has been obtained; up to nine credits may count toward both degrees. The APMB program also provides excellent training for students intending to enter a a doctoral program in molecular biology after completing the APMB M.S. degree. Many of the course requirements for the UMBC Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cell Biology are met by the courses taken for the M.S. degree in APMB and, as such, several APMB graduates join UMBC Ph.D. programs each year.

Program Admission Requirements

At a minimum, applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 and have taken the Graduate Record Examination. The following courses or their equivalents should be completed prior to enrollment in the program: general chemistry (two semesters), organic chemistry lecture and laboratory (two semesters), genetics (one semester), cell biology (one semester), biology laboratory (two semesters), physics (two semesters) and calculus (one semester). Foreign applicants must have a TOEFL score higher than 550 (paper-based).

Enrollment in the program is limited to 12 students per year. Students are encouraged to apply early in the spring semester because admission decisions are made on a rolling basis; if space is available, applications will be accepted until July 1. Ordinarily, students begin the program in the fall semester. However, students accepted into the program may choose to begin the program in the spring semester by taking one or both of the required lecture courses, or they may choose to follow a two-year program in which the lecture courses are taken in the first year, and the laboratory courses are taken in the second year. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School.

Degree Requirements

A Master of Science in Applied Molecular Biology will be awarded upon completion of the courses listed subsequently. In addition, all students will submit a scholarly paper (APMB 798) and pass a written comprehensive examination. These are the requirements of the Graduate School for non-thesis programs. The program emphasizes goal-oriented research projects conducted in a laboratory course setting and involving state-of-the-art methods of molecular biology; the ability to work independently is gained by this approach. Students will be dismissed from the program if they receive a “D” or “F” in either of the two required laboratory courses (BIOL 635L and BIOL 636L).

The Two-Semester Program

Fall Semester
BIOL 626: Approaches to Molecular Biology [4]
BIOL 430: Biological Chemistry [4]
BIOL 635L: Advanced Molecular Biology Lab I [7]

Spring Semester
BIOL 614: Eukaryotic Genetics and Molecular Biology [4]
BIOL 634: Microbial Molecular Genetics [4]
BIOL 636L: Advanced Molecular Biology Lab II [7]
APMB 798: Research in Applied Molecular Biology [1]

Note: Up to nine credits earned by UMBC undergraduates for their baccalaureate degree may count toward the above courses required for the APMB M.S. degree.

Financial Assistance

Applicants should contact the financial aid office at UMBC if they wish to explore sources of financial aid. Students may be eligible for student loan programs. Half-time teaching assistantships in a given semester may be available for students with a reduced course load that semester, for example, because the course was previously completed at UMBC as part of the combined B.S./M.S. program. Contact the graduate program director for information.


APMB 798
Research in Applied Molecular Biology [1]

Students will write and submit for evaluation a scholarly paper on research undertaken in BIOL 635L and BIOL 636L during their applied molecular biology program. Enrollment is limited to students in the APMB program.

BIOL 614
Eukaryotic Genetics and Molecular Biology [4]

Genetics and molecular biology of lower and higher eukaryotes and their viruses. The course will focus on the maintenance and expression of genetic material as it relates to cell growth and development. It will cover current topics in the molecular genetics of several lower and higher eukaryotes at an advanced level, including mechanisms of genetic control that operate at the level of DNA replication, transcription and translation. The course will involve intensive study of published papers from the current scientific literature. (Spring) Prerequisites: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 and consent of instructor.

BIOL 626
Approaches to Molecular Biology [4]

BIOL 430
Biological Chemistry [4]

BIOL 634
Microbial Molecular Genetics [4]

BIOL 635L (Fall)
BIOL 636L (Spring)
Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory I and II [7, 7]

This two-semester course is designed to demonstrate the approaches and methodologies of molecular biology used to study the organization, expression and regulation of genes. Emphasis is on acquiring facility in designing experiments, analyzing data and troubleshooting, as well as in developing a broad range of technical skills and the ability to use modern laboratory equipment. The first part of the course focuses on in vitro or recombinant DNA/cloning techniques and emphasizes the isolation, manipulation and molecular characterization of DNA and RNA. The second part involves in vivo genetic analysis in selected prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Though particular experimental systems and molecular techniques used in any given semester will vary somewhat depending on the faculty members who are involved in the course, the goal of the course is to present the current principles and methodology of molecular biology. Co- and prerequisites for 635L: BIOL 626 and BIOL 430 or CHEM 437. Enrollment is limited to AMB students. Prerequisite for 636L: BIOL 635L. These courses may not be repeated.