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Biophysics Policies and Procedures

  1. Qualifier Exam
    1. CHEM 687 & CHEM 684
      1. Beginning in the Fall of 2015, the Qualifier Exam for Chem687 (Statistical Mechanics) and Chem684 (Chemical Thermodynamics) will now be satisfied by taking both courses, including written Final Exams, and passing them with at least a grade of "B".
      2. If a student does not enroll in either course, that student must take a written qualifier exam for that course. The written qualifier exam will be the same qualifier exam question used for the Chemical Physics program.
      3. New students will be given a "free try" opportunity to take the written qualifier exam in these courses before their first semester of enrollment in the Biophysics program. If a student fails the exam during this free try, he/she will be strongly encouraged to enroll in the Chem687 and Chem684 courses. If the student chooses not to enroll in the course, the student will be held to first policy item above.
    2. BIOLOGY (BIPH704) & 4th COURSE
    3. The qualifier exam for student's Biology course (usually BIPH704-Cell biology) and the fourth course of the student's choosing, will now be satisfied by a one hour comprehensive oral exam with a 3-member committee who will grade the exam. If student's performance on the qualifier is deemed unsatisfactory, the committee decides on a scope of remedial work and one re-take within 6 months.

  2. 2-Member Advisory Committee and Candidacy Examination Committee
    1. Students will be assigned a 2-member advisory committee at the time they enroll in the Biophysics program. One of the purposes of this committee is for students to get to know faculty members who they can ask for advice and to expand the range of available expertise. Each student is expected to have an advisory committee throughout the entire period of student's education.
    2. By the end of the first year the student is supposed to find an advisor and join his/her research group. Rotations through three research labs (BIPH699) should assist students to make a choice. By the end of the 5th semester the student is expected to present a scholarly paper that may or may not reflect the planned line of his/her Ph.D. research and give an oral presentation on this topic followed by a candidacy examination. This constitutes Advancement to Candidacy. For the candidacy examination the student should invite three members of examination committee besides the advisor. This committee may evolve into his/her Ph.D. committee which will follow student's progress to the graduation. These committees can change as students advance in their research. Thus the Ph.D. committee can, but does not have to be the initial 2 or 3-member advisory committee that was formed upon enrollment or include all members of the candidacy examination committee.
  3. Student Progress Reporting
    1. 1st and 2nd Year Students:
      1. Students must meet with their 2-member advisory committee once per semester during their first 2 years of enrollment. A committee meeting form, provided by the Program Coordinator must be completed and returned to the program coordinator.
      2. For all students, a progress email must be sent every semester. The student must write a single email of a paragraph's length to his/her advisor and committee members outlining his/her progress for the semester. This email with advisor's comments is then forwarded to the Program Coordinator.
    2. 3rd Year and Beyond:
      1. Students must meet with their advisory committee once per year during their 3rd year of enrollment and beyond. A committee meeting form, provided by the Program Coordinator must be completed and returned to the program coordinator.
      2. For all students, a progress email must be sent every semester. The student must write a single email of a paragraph's length to his/her advisor and committee members outlining his/her progress for the semester. The email with advisor's comments is then forwarded to the Program Coordinator.
  4. Requirements and Timing Summary
  5. 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.