Ph.D in Biochemistry and Biophysics

Interdisciplinary by design.

The Biochemistry & Biophysics (BCBP) graduate program includes a broad grounding in the mathematical, chemical, physical, and biological sciences.

Candidates for the Ph.D. must satisfy the requirements of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) including passing the first year Core Course, which serves as a qualifying exam with a grade of B or better. In addition to satisfying Institute requirements for the Ph.D. degree, entering students must either complete the Molecular Biochemistry I course (BCBP 4760), or have had the equivalent as part of their previous education. They must complete graduate versions of three of the Molecular Biophysics Module courses. Additional courses may be chosen relevant to the area of specialization of each student’s research.

Entering students must complete three rotations in the first year. A thesis advisor must be chosen from the list of participating faculty by the end of the second semester. A seminar must be presented, and a candidacy exam completed by the end of the second year of study. The latter consists of a written and an oral portion. Degree candidates also must submit a dissertation based on an original research project, present their findings in a public seminar, and defend their work in an oral examination. Additionally, all doctoral candidates are required to participate in teaching for at least one semester under the supervision of a faculty member. Seventy-two credit hours are required for the Ph.D.


Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • explain general principles and concepts from a variety of sub-disciplines within the broader field of biochemistry and biophysics.
  • demonstrate expert knowledge of a specialized field of biochemistry and biophysics and be able to ask and answer challenging questions in that field.
  • critically analyze and interpret the scientific literature and scientific presentations.
  • independently design, prepare, and execute experiments, using appropriate research techniques.
  • critically interpret research data and evaluate findings using appropriate statistical analyses.
  • independently design and execute a research strategy aimed towards answering a pressing scientific question in the field.
  • effectively communicate their scientific research and findings in a variety of written and oral formats, including the ability to prepare a manuscript of original research for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  • discuss issues related to scientific ethics and scientific misconduct and apply ethical standards to their research and professional conduct


The science and engineering faculty members of the Center for Biophysics listed below provide a variety of research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the Biochemistry and Biophysics degree programs. Faculty members from the Biology and Chemistry Departments who are involved in the teaching of biochemistry and biophysics courses are designated with an asterisk (*).