Interdisciplinary PhD in Structural and Computational Biology and Quantitative Biosciences



The Graduate School requires PhD students to complete a minimum of 51 graduate-level credits in order to obtain a PhD Degree. These 51 credits are fulfilled via core curriculum courses, an ethics course, seminar courses, 990 research credits, and specialty courses. Please keep in mind that all major course requirements must be completed before a student undergoes their oral preliminary examination.

Core Curriculum

All students are required to take:

​Because Chem 668 is only offered every other year, students will be advised upon joining the program when they will need to take the course.

Additional Courses

In addition to the required classes, students must take at least 6 credits total of elective courses. All elective courses must be at least 2 credits. That means that students can, for example, take two 3-credit courses, three 2-credit courses, or one 2-credit and one 4-credit course to satisfy this requirement. The following list of courses have all been approved as elective courses by the Biophysics Steering Committee. If you are interested in a different course, in order for it to count as an elective course towards your Biophysics graduate degree, the course needs to be approved by the Steering Committee. Please email the coordinator at a syllabus from the course and a short paragraph detailing why the class is relevant to your research.

Approved Elective Courses

Ethics Course

All students are required to take an ethics course in their first year.

Seminar Course

Students are required to participate in seminar courses for the duration of their studies. Initially, all students are required to enroll in Chem 872: Selected Topics in Macromolecular and Biophysical Chemistry for both fall and spring semesters. Once a student has successfully achieved dissertator status, they are eligible to enroll in alternative seminars with permission from the program.

990 Research Credits

These are the courses in which students will be conducting their independent research. First semester students will register for 990 research credits in the department of the Biophysics Program Chair, Alessandro Senes. Once a thesis lab is selected, these credits will be conducted in the Thesis Advisor’s home department.

Specialty Courses

To fulfill the remainder of required credits, students can take specialty courses. It is recommended to take courses in areas such as biotechnology, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, molecular biology, or physics. Students should consult with their Thesis Advisor and thesis committee members about appropriate specialty courses to take pertaining to individual training goals.


The Graduate School requires that the overall grade point average (GPA) of non-research courses be 3.0 (B average) or better. In addition, the Biophysics Program requires a cumulative Biophysics GPA of 3.0 or better in the core, ethics, and specialty courses. Research and seminar course grades are not included in the Biophysics GPA.

Credits are not counted from courses in which a grade of BC or below is obtained for either of the Biophysics core courses. In the event of an unsatisfactory grade, the student must repeat the course and obtain a grade of B or better in order to graduate.

The Biophysics Graduate Degree Program Coordinator will monitor course enrollment and completion. Any deficiencies will be discussed with the Biophysics Steering Committee and could lead to academic probation.