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Biophysics Requirements

Pre-candidacy doctoral students are permitted five years from the time of first enrollment to achieve Ph.D. candidacy. Doctoral candidates are permitted four years from the time of advancement to candidacy in which to complete all degree requirements. All Biophysics students must comply with the following requirements for Ph.D. candidacy.

1. Passing the Qualifying Examination at the Ph.D. Level: Details on the qualifying exam can be found here.

2. Two Semesters of Biophysics Seminar (BIPH698L): It is expected that students will routinely attend weekly seminars.

3. Research Rotations (two semesters of BIPH699): Students are expected to complete 3 rotations during their first academic year. Students will begin research rotations their first semester of study. All students must produce a small presentation at the end rotation. Each rotation must be approved by the program director. A student may opt-out of their 3rd rotation and continue working in their 2nd rotation or return to their 1st rotation placement, only with approval by both the 1)Biophysics Program Director 2) Lab PI.

If a student completes two rotations in the same lab during the Spring Semester, it is expected that there has been a commitment made to support the student during the summer. You may view the Biophysics faculty and their current research here.

4. Advance to Candidacy: The student completes the preliminary stage of his/her research and by the end of the fifth semester he/she must present a research proposal. The research proposal is a document that demonstrates the ability of the candidate to analyze the topic/subject of his/her research, present preliminary data, and propose a realistic plan for the project. We do not stipulate the length or specific format, but the written proposal must have elements of a typical grant application: background and significance, problem statement, aims, preliminary data, and a research plan. A scholarly paper (for theoreticians) can present an in-depth analysis of a problem that may or may not be directly related to the primary topic of student research. The written proposal/paper is sent to a committee of 3-4 faculty a week before presentation. The written document and formal oral presentation of the research proposal are judged and discussed by the committee, which then provides recommendations for the thesis completion. Further information on advancement to candidacy can be found here.

5. Advancement to Candidacy cannot be less than six months prior to the students Ph.D. defense.

6. 12 Credits of BIPH 899 (Doctoral Dissertation Research).

Timing Summary

Year 1: The enrolled student takes and passes Chem687 and Chem684. Alternatively, he/she takes and passes the Thermodynamics/Stat Mech part of the Chemical Physics Qualifier. The student successfully completes 3 rotations (BIPH699) and by the end of the second semester chooses the laboratory for his/her Ph.D. research. In August the student takes and passes the comprehensive oral qualifier in Biology and other subjects based on the courses taken during the year.

Year 2: The student embarks on obtaining preliminary results for of his/her research project. During both years the student stays in touch with the advisory committee and every semester sends brief progress reports to the Program. The students can present a scholarly paper and advance to Candidacy by the end of the fourth semester.

Years 3-5: By the end of the fifth semester the student must present a research proposal and defend the proposal (Advancement to Candidacy). The student continues and completes his/her research which resolves in a Ph.D. defense. It is strongly recommended that approximately 6 months before the defense the student gives a public seminar.