Doctoral Studies

Biomolecular Chemistry - Field

Brief description of field

The field of biomolecular chemistry includes knowledge about the structure of biologically important molecules, and the relation between their structure and function. The field also includes methodology of carrying out and applying research on the structure and function of bio-molecules.

Goals of study

The doctoral study program in Biomolecular Chemistry provides the highest academic education in the biomolecular disciplines aimed at acquiring knowledge about the structure and function of biologically important molecules. Emphasis will be placed on independent work by students in the context of implementing research projects, including the ability to communicate and present results in the English language. The technical facilities allow students regular use of the most modern methods, both computational (quantum chemistry, molecular mechanics and dynamics) and experimental (x-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, methods of nuclear biology). Students also learn to make use of information available in literature and electronic databases. The range of specialized lectures allows students to deepen their theoretical knowledge. The program of studies is designed to be interdisciplinary, helping students learn to combine knowledge from various fields.

Profile of a typical graduate

The goal of the doctoral studies program in Biomolecular Chemistry is to prepare specialists at the highest level who will be not only specialists with detailed knowledge of certain techniques, but creative thinkers with a broad overview of the field of structural biology with good foundations in theory. A graduate of the field gains deep knowledge and practical skills in one or more of the areas covered by the Biomolecular Chemistry program: computational chemistry and methods of molecular modeling, methods of structural analysis using x-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance, methods of molecular biology and microbiology, and bioinformatics. The graduate will be a researcher accustomed to working independently, capable of producing new observations on biomolecular structure and working with information acquired through professional journals and electronic databases. The graduate will be able to communicate in the English language in the form of publications in international journals, presentations to the professional public, and through informal consultations with colleagues. Although the graduate will be qualified mainly for an academic career, he will also be a specialist capable of serving in the commercial sphere, especially in biochemical and pharmaceutical research, working with biologically-oriented databases, and in fields using advanced methods of computational chemistry. As the experience of the past few years has shown, foreign contacts and study stays can help the graduate to find work at the top institutes abroad.

Requirements for applicants

For doctoral studies in Biomolecular Chemistry, applicants must be graduates of university master’s studies in the same or related field. Previous work experience is not a prerequisite for acceptance. The applicant should, on the basis of diploma work or own publication, show the ability to do creative work in the field. He should also have basic knowledge of biochemistry and structural biochemistry. Also required is the ability to communicate in the English language on the level of being able to translate texts for general readership on topics in the field from English into Czech, write a short summary in English, and carry on general discussion in matter such as one’s own life experience, and university and research work. During entrance examination, scientific (max. 100 points) and language (max. 100 points) knowledge is evaluated. Succesful applicants must reach at least 160 points.  Part of the acceptance process is the recommendation of an advisor (from the list of advisors previously approved by the academic council of the Faculty of Natural Science, and named by the Dean), and a general study plan. It is therefore desirable, that the applicant consult with his potential advisor before the application is submitted.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Doctoral studies may take place in presentation or combined form (for those employed). Presentation form usually takes 3 years (during that time a study stipend is guaranteed), with a maximum of 4 years; with the combined form 5 years is standard, 7 years maximum. Studies are concluded with a state doctoral examination, and defense of doctoral dissertation work. Studies take place according to an individual study plan, which determines the time schedule for classes, academic and research work on the dissertation thesis, and possible study stays at other institutions including those abroad, the extent of participation in teaching activities, the dates of course exams, and other requirements.

Individual study plan

Annual individual study plans are assembled by the doctoral candidate in consultation with his supervisor. In creating and fulfilling the study plan, each student must adhere to the following rules and conditions:

1) At the beginning of each academic year, the student must attend a required two-hour, no-credit bloc lecture C7777 Working with Chemical Substances; attendance is a necessary requirement for enrollment in any classes in which chemical substances are handled (dissertation work, etc.)

2) During the course of study students must obtain 20 credits in courses expanding and deepening the student´s knowledge selected from the subjects that are being offered at the Faculty of Science and other faculties of Masaryk University, and which the student did not take during his bachelor’s and master´s studies. The suitability of a subject for doctoral studies is determined by the advisor. This category includes also XD101 Literature study (completed with a colloquium, 3 cr, can be enrol twice), C9870 and C8970 Scientific data presentation I and II (completed with a credit), S5030 (spring term)/ S5035 (autumn term) MU Life Sciences Seminar (completed with a credit, 2 cr) or XD104 Literature research (completed with a credit, max 5 cr).

3) Each semester students are obliged to complete NCBR seminar CC060 (spring term)/CB060 (autumn term) - completed with a credit, 2 credits.

4) Students re-enroll the subject Teaching assistance XD102 (credit value 1-10, totally 20 credits, completed with a credit), where they assist an authorized teacher providing seminar and laboratory teaching in Bachelor and Master degree programmes.

5) Students are obliged to enroll for and complete the subject XD106 Lecture for the scientific community (credit value 2-10, completed by colloquium), that demonstrates their ability to present the results of their research project at an international scientific forum.

6) Students re-enroll for the subject XD100 PhD Thesis (credit value 5-30, totally 160 credits, completed by the credit). Students are obliged to enroll the subject XD105 Scientific publication writing once during studies.

7) The student must gain 240 credits and successfully finish all parts of the state doctoral examination.

The dissertation is composed of the results gained during the PhD study. The preferred form is a set of publications or manuscripts accepted for publication dealing with the subject of dissertation, accompanied by a comprehensive introduction and commentary (article 31, paragraph 2 of the MU Study and Examination Regulations).  At least three publications in peer-reviewed journals with impact factor are expected; when the combined impact factor exceeds 4, the number of publications may be lower than three. The student is usually  the first author for at least one publication.

The annual evaluation of doctoral students

The Doctoral Board for the doctoral study program in Biochemistry decided, on 17 February 2016, that the annual evaluation of doctoral students according to article 27, paragraph 6, letter h of the MU Study and Examination Regulations will be carried out through the University Information System.
Every year, before the end of May, all students have to provide a progress report covering the past academic year. In the IS agenda "Doctoral Students Evaluation" they fill in the fields "Doctoral thesis status" (description of research activities, a summary of the results obtained, the full citations of publications and conference papers in a given period), "Internships, stays for the purpose of work and study as well as other activities" (report of the internship, if it took place, and other activities, eg. work with youth, popularization of science etc.), and "Overall comment" (fulfilment of the individual study plan) .
If the supervisor agrees with the student’s report, he/she accepts the texts for permanent storage by choosing "Pre-fill all the texts prepared by the student," and adds his/her commentaries. In the case of the disagreement he/she may ask the student for amendments, or instead give only his/her own opinion. Supervisor alone fills in the field "Performance of the student's duties" visible for the student. A hidden field "Private Note" is also available for the supervisor. If the student is ending the third year of the full-time study and has not yet a first-author publication, the supervisor should establish, in the "Performance of the student's duties" field, a plan and a time-line for the student on how to meet publication requirements by the end of the fourth year.
The Doctoral Board will conduct a final evaluation in the "Commentary by the Board for Doctoral Studies". When appropriate, further communication with the student and the supervisor may be initiated.

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages

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