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:

​Chem 665 is offered in the fall and spring semesters every year. Chem 668 is offered every other year in the fall semester. 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.

Advanced Electives

In addition to the required classes, students must take at least 6 credits total of advanced 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.

The program recognizes that it is important that these courses are tailored for the specific research topic of each student. Students who are interested in different courses, could petition to have them count as an elective course towards their 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.

Pre-approved Elective Courses

Ethics Course

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

Seminar Course

  • The Biophysics Seminar, Chem 872, is a requirement for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students
  • After their 3rd year, students are required to attend four more seminar classes in total before their graduation.  These are typically a 900-level one-credit course based on presentation and discussion of journal article or individual research.
  • Informal journal or research talk clubs that meet weekly but are not formally offered as a class may count towards this requirement, if approved by the Steering Committee

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.