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Division Of Natural Sciences & MathematicsMolecular and Cellular Biophysics Program

Molecular and Cellular Biophysics

Courses and Curriculum

Required Courses

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics requires 90 quarter credit hours and Dissertation. Consistent with existing PhD programs within NSM and PhD programs in related disciplines at other institutions, this program is structured such that course work credit is supplemented with significant effort and credit earned from Independent Research. The structure of the PhD program in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics is as follows: -required core courses and elective courses during the first year -required lab rotations during the first year -required seminar courses during the second year -exams first year and second year -thesis research second year to completion

First year curricula

Fall Quarter (8 credits total)
*BIOP 4100 Foundations of Biophysics (3 QH)
Elective Course (3-4 QH)
*BIOP 4993 Lab Rotation (2-7 QH)

Winter (8 credits total)
*BIOP 4150 Cellular Biophysics (3 QH) Elective Course (3-4 QH)
*BIOP 4993 Lab Rotation (2-7 QH)

Spring (8 credits total)
*CHEM 3130 Chemical Systems III (3 QH)
Elective Course (3-4 QH)
BIOP 4995 Independent Research (2-7 QH)

* = required core course

Electives can be chosen from existing 3000 or 4000 level courses in the Division and must be chosen with consultation and the approval of the steering committee. The objective of electives during the first year is to provide students opportunity to build foundations necessary for Biophysics that were areas not emphasized in their prior undergraduate or graduate degrees. This use of electives is critical given the interdisciplinary nature of this PhD program and scientific discipline and the fact that incoming students will come from a range of disciplines in the physical sciences and life sciences.

Rotation labs will be decided based on mutual interest of the student and the faculty member as approved by the steering committee. It is expected that students will finish two lab rotation projects before the end of January in order to have a clear idea about their future research goals as well as what lab may provide the best fit for them. Thus rotation projects are designed to decide labs of their interest and the best chance for long term research funding (preferably funding starting the month of June of their first year).

Students must finish the first part of their qualifying exam before the beginning of the Fall-quarter of their second year. The first part of the qualifying exam is intended to test the research and independent thinking abilities of students as described below. Students will be given a broad set of topics related to their research interest by their thesis committee (see section Ic.2 about the details of the thesis committee) to thoroughly investigate and study for four weeks. At the end of this four-week period, they will be given a specific set of questions based on these topics that they are expected to answer by submitting a written document within a week. They will be given another week to prepare and revisit answers before appearing for an oral defense. This constitutes a total of six weeks preparation between the time research topics are given and the final oral defense. A minimum grade point average of 3.0/4.0 is required along with passing the first part of qualifying exam to advance to their second year.

Second year curricula

Each term the student is required to take a 2 quarter hour course “Topics in Biophysics” (BIOP 4210, BIOP 4210; BIOP 4210) and Independent research (BIOP 5995) and additional elective courses with the recommendation of the student’s advisory committee and major thesis advisor.

Students must pass the second phase of their qualifying exam before the beginning of the Fall-quarter of their third year. This would be on their research topic and would include a NIH (F31) or other funding agency equivalent fellowship proposal (limited to six pages) along with a proposal defense to the committee. A second attempt to pass this will be to the discretion of the committee and the respective faculty advisor of the student.