Interdisciplinary PhD in Structural and Computational Biology and Quantitative Biosciences

Program Guidelines

This page provides a brief overview of the structure of the program. For a more detailed view, please see the Handbook.

Course Requirements

All students are required to take:

  • Chem 665, Biophysical Chemistry
  • Chem 668, Biophysical Spectroscopy

Additional Courses

In addition to the required classes, students must take at least two other elective classes that fall into the following categories:

  • Structure Courses
  • ​Modeling Courses
  • Molecular Biology Course
  • Neuroscience Courses
  • Spectroscopy/Microscopy 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.

990 Research Credits

These are the courses in which students will be conducting their independent research, and students are required to enroll in research credits every semester.

Thesis Committee

The Thesis Committee is comprised of at least 5 members, including the Thesis Advisor.  The committee will help guide the student throughout their independent research until completion of their PhD Degree. The student and Thesis Advisor will choose four other faculty members to serve on the committee. At least one of the four additional members must be in a different department than the Thesis Advisor. Three of the five committee members must be trainers in the Biophysics Program. It is recommended that students form their Thesis Committee soon after beginning in their lab, but this should be done by the end of the spring semester of the student’s first year in the Biophysics Graduate Degree Program.

Preliminary Exam

Passing a preliminary exam is required for students to obtain dissertator status. Students must complete the preliminary exam by the end of the fall semester their third year in the program, however, we recommend taking the exam the summer after their second year in the program. The student prepares a written research proposal based on their thesis project and modeled after an F31/F32 NIH grant application. The thesis proposal is then defended orally in front of their thesis committee.

Thesis Defense

Successful completion of a research program culminates in the written and oral presentation of the work and its defense to the thesis committee. The average time to degree for a PhD in the Biophysics program is 5.2 years.

Doctoral Minors

The Biophysics program does not require a minor; however, many of our students have special interests and choose to pursue minors. Examples of minor options pursued by some Biophysics students include:

  • Quantitative Biology for students interested in biophysics, systems biology, bioinformatics or biostatistics. This interdisciplinary minor includes coursework in quantitative methods, biological science, and integration of quantitative biology.
  • Life Science Communication for students interested in the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies or the future.
  • Doctoral Business Minor for students who are interested in careers in biotechnology