Metabolic Biology Graduate Programs

Graduate degree programs in metabolic biology may be titled Metabolic Biology, Nutritional and Metabolic Biology or Nutrition and Metabolism degree programs. These on-campus programs are usually available as 2-year master's degree programs or doctoral programs that usually take 5 to 6 years to complete. Find out more about the programs and requirements below.

Courses in Graduate Degree Programs in Metabolic Biology

Typically available as Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy programs, degree programs in metabolic biology culminate in a thesis for master's students and a dissertation for doctoral students. These degree programs often include lab and research work, seminars, lectures and different electives. Here you can learn about some of the more common courses offered in these programs.

Molecular Biology

Some programs may require students to take a general course in molecular biology or a course that specifically looks at the molecular biology of nutrition. General courses in molecular biology allow students to explore topics in DNA replication, gene expression, biochemical processes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, cell cycle control and more. Courses that focus on the molecular biology involved in nutrition look at topics in micronutrient signaling, nutrient requirements throughout the life cycle and molecular biology research.


Students in metabolism courses examine how nutrients from food are delivered to cells and participate in cellular metabolism. Students explore topics in energy metabolism, activation of nutrients, metabolic regulation, toxicity of nutrients and more. These courses also discuss major metabolic pathways and may include a class discussion component in addition to lectures.


Students in metabolic biology programs typically take courses in biochemistry that focus on cell biology and the biochemical processes that take place within the cell. They look at the biochemical processes involved in nutrition and metabolism, protein structure, receptor signaling, regulation of gene expression and more. Students also study the various biomolecules, such as amino acids, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, and their roles in these biochemical processes.

Human Nutrition

Students in human nutrition courses learn about the cellular processes in nutrient action. Students study how these process should occur in normal development, as well as what happens with over- and under-nutrition. Topics in these courses include, but are not limited to, caloric restriction, nutrient and gene interactions and disease mechanisms.

Research Methods

Students in these programs usually take courses in nutrition research methods, typically to learn the skills necessary to conduct their own research for their thesis or dissertation. Students often work closely with faculty members or other professionals in the field to practice various experimental methods and design clinical research projects. They may explore methods and concepts related to nutritional issues like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

Common Entrance Requirements

Master's and doctoral degree programs in metabolic biology often require students to submit their official transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a personal statement and/or a resume with their graduate application. Some programs may also accept test scores from the MCAT or DAT exams. It is also common for these programs to require a minimum GPA of 3.0 and ask doctoral applicants to complete an interview process. Some of these degree programs may require applicants to meet standard pre-medical requirements, which may include observation skills, communication skills, quantitative abilities and more.

Students can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in metabolic biology that concludes with a thesis or dissertation. These degree programs incorporate research in metabolic biology and cover a wide range of topics in human nutrition and metabolism.

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