Graduate Program (MSc / PhD)


Head of Department: Nes'e Bilgin
Professors: Aslı Tolun, Esra Battaloğlu, Hande Çağlayan, Kuyaş Buğra, Müge Türet, Nesrin Özören, Nes'e Bilgin
Associate Professors: Arzu Çelik, Ibrahim Yaman, Stefan Fuss, N.C. Tolga Emre
Assistant Professors: Necla Birgül-Iyison, Umut Şahin



MBG offers postgraduate programs at the Master of Science (M.Sc.) and doctorate (Ph.D.) level. Admission to the MBG Graduate Program is open during spring and fall semesters and acceptance of new students follows an official selection process.

For more information on Admission to the Graduate Program follow the link:              Admission Guidelines


Master of Science Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics

Course Requirements

The M.S. Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics requirements include a minimum of 7 courses and 21 credits, an obligatory non-credit seminar course, and completion of a Master's thesis. Of these courses, 12 credits comprise required courses and the remaining 9 credits are made up of elective courses to be chosen with the approval of the student’s advisor. Students entering from other disciplines may be granted up to two additional semesters to take undergraduate Biology courses to strengthen their backgrounds in MBG.

The required courses are:

Code Course Credits
BIO 500 Modern Techniques in Molecular Biology 3
BIO 501 Advanced Molecular Biology 3
BIO 511 Advanced Genetics 3
BIO 520 Laboratory Projects in Biology 3
BIO 579 Graduate Seminar non-credit
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
Total Credits: 21
Course Descriptions

MS students can select from undergraduate (400 codes) and PhD (600) courses as electives. One hour of graduate seminar (Bio579) is required for all graduate students. Students register for this course in their first full-time graduate semester, but must attend seminars throughout their entire academic career. These include all of the MBG departmental seminars.

Laboratory Rotation

Must be done in the student’s first semester in the program. The purpose is to introduce students to several members of the faculty and the experimental approaches, techniques, and styles of their laboratories, and to help students select a thesis advisor. The rotations also provide an opportunity for the faculty to evaluate the students as well.

At the beginning of the Fall semester, members of the Biology faculty give presentations to decribe their research interests. Students then select three faculty research laboratories in which they will work under the direction of the faculty member for a period of about one month. Work done in all three labs will count towards the required Bio 500/Bio 601 course work and a consensus grade will be given by all three faculty members. The students who have already worked for at least 3 months in a certain laboratory in the Department and would like to continue working towards their thesis work in the same laboratory are exempted from lab rotation. Their Bio 500/Bio 601 course work will be evaluated by the faculty member in charge of the particular lab.

Specific requirements and expectations for each of the rotations should be arranged at the beginning of each lab rotation in consultation with the faculty member in charge of each lab. At the end of each rotation, the professor will certify in writing that the student has successfully completed the assigned work and give a grade reflecting the students work.

Students are required to complete their lab rotations prior to chosing a mentor, even if they enter the program with a particular laboratory and faculty mentor in mind; this permits changes in a student’s selection without prejudice. It also provides an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ in different fields, learn a variety of techniques and approaches, and make personal contacts with faculty and fellow students.

Thesis Presentation

No later than the completion of their course work (typically within the first two semesters) with a grade point average of at least 3.00, a thesis advisor must be appointed and a thesis title should be defined and the Graduate Institute should be informed. Once the thesis subject is decided the student should prepare a powerpoint presentation approximately 30 to 45 minutes and present it orally during the third semester. This presentation is open to all department members. Following the presentation, there will be no oral defense.

Thesis and Defence

Subsequent to the thesis presentation and approval, the student is required to carry out a supervised research project that culminates in a Master’s thesis. The maximum time allowed to complete this work is 6 semesters with the approval of the Executive Council of the Institute for Graduate Studies in Science and Engineering. The thesis should be distributed to the advisory committee members and a copy should be placed at the departmental office at least one week prior to the presentation date. The thesis oral presentation should be 40 to 50 minutes in duration and is open to all department members. The student must defend the thesis. The thesis committee should be made up of 3 (thesis advisor, 1 faculty from the Department, 1 faculty from outside of the department/university). The selected thesis committee will be approved by the Institute for Graduate Studies in Science and Engineering.


PhD Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics

Conditions for Admission

Applicants must hold either a B.S. or a M.S. degree in Biology, or a related science. Applicants are selected based on performance on a written exam of Biology and an interview. Students with a M.S. degree from MBG, wishing to continue their studies, with a GPA of 3.5 may be admitted to the Ph.D. program given the consent of the M.S. thesis advisor. No examination is required. MS students with a GPA of 3.6 can apply to transfer
to the PhD program.

Coursework

The Ph.D. program in Molecular Biology and Genetics requires completion of a minimum of 21 credits*, a Ph.D. thesis and a first-author publication stemming from the dissertation and submitted to a SCI indexed journal. Of the course work, 12 credits comprise required courses. For two semesters the student must register for the laboratory course Bio601/602. It is also required that the students should take additional 500/600-level courses from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and /or other University MBG departments. Students may take up to one third of the 21 credits out of the university.

The required courses are:

Code Course Credits
BIO 601 Advanced Techniques in Molecular Biology 3
BIO 602 Advanced Techniques in Human Genetics 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
BIO Biology Electives 3
Total Credits: 21
Course Descriptions

* Students starting the program directly after receiving their BS degree are required to complete 42 credits.

Qualification exam

Students should complete their course work within 2 semesters (maximum of 4 semesters) with a GPA of at least 3.00. After completion of the course work, the student should be appointed an advisor which is subject to approval by the Executive Council of the Institute for Graduate Studies in Science and Engineering. Within that semester the students should take the qualification exam which is comprised of a written and an oral section. For the written section the student is assigned 10 papers chosen by the qualification exam committee and given 1 month to study these papers. The written exam (2 days, 5 hours each) focuses on the discussion of these papers. The written exam is followed by an oral exam on the third day.

If a student fails the exams, he/she must register again as “Q=qualification” and repeat the qualification exam. The student can repeat the qualification exam a maximum of 3 times. If a student fails from all allowed qualification exam attempts, he/she has to repeat the 21 credit courses and should take the qualification exam again. If a student is successful in his/her first attempt of the qualification exam, he/she can register for “T=thesis”.

Thesis proposal

After successful completion of the qualifying exam, within 1 month, the student should be
assigned a “thesis advisory commitee” approved by the Executive Council of the Institute for Graduate Studies in Science and Engineering. The student should then prepare a thesis proposal (10-20 pages long). This proposal must be sent to the advisory committee to be examined a week before the thesis proposal presentation. The student will then give a presentation (30 to 40 min.) describing the proposal, which is open to all department members. After the presentation, the student will orally discuss this proposal with its committee members. The preparation/evaluation of the thesis proposal should be completed within 6 months after the successful qualification exam.

If a student fails his/her thesis proposal, the rules in “Section 27-6 of Graduate Students Regulations Catalog” are applied.

Advisory committee

Advisory Committee meeting
Once the student successfully passes the thesis proposal, every 6 months he/she has to prepare a thesis progress report and present it to the advisory committee in written form. The progress report is then presented as an oral presentation and discussed with the committee members. Advisory committee members should include the thesis advisor, one faculty member of the department and one faculty member from outside of the University.

Thesis and defence

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conferred on candidates who have demonstrated general proficiency and attainment of knowledge and competence in their special field of study as well as the capacity to carry out independent research. One first author publication from the thesis work has to be submitted and under review by a SCI journal. The thesis defence presentation must be announced at least one week in advance and
should be 40 to 45 min. After the presentation, the student must successfully defend his or her work in front of an oral defense committee. The defence will be open to both committee and faculty members; however, only the committee members will vote on the student’s performance.

The thesis defence committee should have 5 members with following possible combinations; 3 faculty members from the advisory committee, at least 1 faculty member of another University, 1 faculty member from the Department. If there is a co-advisor, then the jury members should be 6 persons.

Other requirements

The MBG Department requires, as part of its PhD degree requirements, that all its Ph.D. candidates have at least one publication submitted to and under review at a scientific journal in the Science Citation Index prior to the defense of their Ph.D. thesis. Individual faculty advisors reserve the right regarding journal publication requirements beyond one paper under review.