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Doctor of Philosophy in Biophysics and Computational Biology

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  • Course description
    Biophysics and Computational Biology offers a doctor of philosophy degree program. In rare circumstances and with special permission of the director and advisor, a current student may obtain a terminal master's degree after meeting the requirements of the degree. Biophysics students are not admitted initially into the program for a Master’s Degree. Opportunity also exists for specializing in computational science and engineering within the department's graduate programs via the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Option .


    The objective of the program in biophysics program is to give students sufficient training in physics, chemistry, and biology to enable them to apply the conceptual, instrumental, and mathematical approaches of the physical sciences for solving biological problems. The curriculum is broadly based and provides sufficient flexibility for students entering with either previous training in the physical sciences or for students with a background in biology and some experience in the physical sciences.

    Admission requirements are usually one year of college biology, one year of college physics, chemistry through organic chemistry, and mathematics through calculus; however deficiencies in one of these areas can be corrected during the first two years of study. Most applicants who are accepted into the program have general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in the 70%-90% range. The Biophysics and Computational Biology Program does not require the subject GRE for admission. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) or IELTS is required for international applicants.

    The Ph.D. degree is a research degree, and the program is designed with a major emphasis on individual research.
    A qualifying examination is offered each spring. This qualifier must be passed by the end of the second year. After formulating a definite research problem, and by the end of the third year, the student takes a preliminary examination where the chosen research topic is presented to the student’s faculty committee. The committee also examines the candidate on their chosen general research area. Finally, a thesis is defended at the final examination. The Ph.D. thesis is based on original work of the student. The thesis and the exam must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of theory and techniques in one of the areas of biophysics.

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