Program of Study

The multidisciplinary nature of biophysics attracts students with diverse backgrounds. To develop an appropriate curriculum, each student meets at the beginning of the first year with a faculty advisory committee to select courses and to discuss laboratory rotations. These meetings continue on a regular basis until a thesis laboratory is chosen. Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology students are expected to take four to six courses in the first year. These courses may be from within the Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology Program, as well as other Programs or departments. Students are required to complete the following courses: 

Graduate Research Fundamentals (BIO 5098)
Chemistry and Physics of Biological Molecules (BIO 5357)
Macromolecular Interactions (BIO 5312)
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Seminar (Bio 5469)
Ethics and Research Science (BIO 5071)
Journal clubs and special topics courses (5 credits)
Two advanced electives

During the course of graduate studies, students in the Program take five credits of special topics courses, tutorials, or journal clubs. Two of these credits will be earned in the Graduate Student Seminar. The purposes of this requirement are (i) to provide close student-faculty interactions in a format that is less didactic than standard lecture courses; (ii) to allow students to study current research topics in great depth; and (iii) to provide students with a mechanism to learn the skills of public speaking and seminar presentation. Thus, a large component of these courses includes coaching in oral presentation. 

Participation in journal club is strongly encouraged throughout all years of graduate training.  Normally a student will receive one credit in a journal club for regular participation and a presentation.  A journal club must either be in the University Course Listings or on an approved list maintained by the Steering Committee.  Special topics 5 courses are organized by one or several faculty on a specific research topic.  Students are encouraged to approach faculty with proposals for special topics courses. 

Advanced electives are offered through the departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics as well as the DBBS.

Typically, first-year students participate in three laboratory rotations. To evaluate basic knowledge and comprehension in both biological and physical sciences, a preliminary exam is given at the end of the second year.

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