Why choose BBMB for your graduate studies?

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology for your graduate studies:

BBMB Graduate Student Experience

Iowa State University's commitment is to help you become an innovative, broadly educated, global citizen who is culturally informed, ready to lead, and prepared for your career.

  • Make a difference through world class education and cutting edge research
  • Prepare for your career
  • Build solutions with others

The Quality of Research

  • BBMB faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their high-impact research contributions. They are well funded by federal and non-federal grants which support research and graduate student training.
  • BBMB faculty and graduate students publish consistently in some of the best journals in the field.  Recent articles were published in the journals Biochemistry, Nature, Genetics, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Journal of Biological Chemistry, among others.

Quality of Advising: (based on a national survey of students attending AAU universities):

  • 94% of ISU students report that they are treated with respect by faculty compared to 81% nationally
  • 80% of ISU students rated excellent or very good the quality of academic advising and guidance from their adviser, compared to 63% nationally
  • 70% of ISU students had another faculty mentor (separate from their advisor) compared to 56% nationally

Financial Support

  • Ph.D. degree candidates on a half-time (20 hours per week) assistantship receive a yearly stipend of $26,004 ($2,167 per month) and 100% tuition scholarship.
  • M.S. degree candidates on a half-time (20 hours per week) assistantship receive a yearly stipend of $21,600 ($1,800 per month) and 50% tuition scholarship.
  • Health benefits: Graduate students on a graduate assistantship receive
    • single student coverage free of charge and the option of paying premiums or coverage for his/her spouse and children.
    • single coverage free of charge in a prescription drug benefit program that reduces the cost of generic and brand name drugs purchased at the Student Health Center Pharmacy.
  • Travel grants, many advisers support their students to travel to professional conferences. Travel grants of $180 can also be applied for directly at the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) website
  • Arrival of child - 5 weeks paid support for students on assistantship

Quality of Life: “Great place to be a student"

  • 80% of ISU students rated excellent or very good their overall satisfaction with their student life experience, compared to 70% nationally
  • Students in the BBMB graduate program have their own graduate learning community.  The focus of the BBMB GLC is to explore professional development and careers for graduate students studying for their advanced degrees in the area of biochemistry or biophysics.
  • Social events organized by Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • Ames has been named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com, a national website that ranks quality of life amenities of America’s small and midsized cities.
  • 100 Smartest Cities in America Study.  Ames was named 5th in the 2013 report of the 100 Smartest Cities in America Study by VentureBeat, the leading source for news and perspective on technology innovation.
  • Top 100 Best Places to Live Small Cities. Ames, Iowa, consistently ranks high on in Money magazine's Top 100 Best Places to Live list.

Career Placement

  • 96.5% of our Masters graduates were placed in either further education or professional employment at 6 months after their degree
  • 96.7% of our Ph.D. graduates were placed at 6 months after their degree

Professional Development

  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) to provide a planning process that identifies your professional development needs and career objectives.
  • Regular professional development workshops centered on core competencies; teaching, research, communication, career, and wellness
  • Leadership: The challenges our society is facing require a new generation of leaders who can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives. We are committed to developing these skills in graduate students and postdocs. Each year we gather a cohort of 20 young leaders in the Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GCELA). Each cohort has broad career aspirations, industry, government, NGO, entrepreneur, and academia.
  • ISU is a member of CIRTL a consortium of 22 universities that makes available a broad range of online courses, webinars and discussions to prepare our graduate students to be better TAs and future faculty members.
  • We have one of the largest Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) programs in the country. PFF prepares graduates for faculty careers through a combination of seminars, mentoring, and practical classroom and departmental service experiences.

Diversity Support

  • Mentor program: Each incoming graduate student of color is invited to choose a more senior graduate student as well as a faculty/staff member as two additional mentors to support you as you transition to ISU.
  • The Annual GMAP Research Symposium highlights the research contributions of underrepresented minority graduate students at ISU. Students present their research in a relaxed environment allowing them to engage in fruitful discussion and to network with faculty and administrators.
  • Two student groups, Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and Latino/a Graduate Student Association (LGSA), encourage and promote excellence in teaching and research among graduate students of African descent and Latino/a graduate students. Both groups build community through regular social and professional events.
  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Services (LGBTSS) is a safe space for all members of the university community to explore aspects of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in an open and non-judgmental atmosphere. LGBTSS is committed to providing information and education that enhances the educational experience and overall quality of student life on the Iowa State University campus.

BBMB Application


  • Contact the Graduate Program office by e-mail (bbmbapps@iastate.edu) 
  • Phone: 515-294-3317 or 800-433-3464 (toll free),
  • FAX: 515-294-7629
  • or select link:  How to Apply