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Graduate Program in Biophysics

For information on the University's basic requirements for the Ph.D. degree, see the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

A small number of qualified applicants are admitted to the program each year. Applicants should present strong undergraduate backgrounds in the physical sciences and mathematics. The graduate course program, beyond the stated requirements, is worked out for each student individually with the help of appropriate advisers from the Committee on Biophysics. The requirements and recommendations for the Ph.D. degree include:

  1. Training in a major with connections to biophysics such as physics, chemistry, or biology, with a quantitative background equivalent to that of an undergraduate physics or chemistry major at Stanford.
  2. Completion of the following background courses or their equivalents at other institutions:
    1. CHEM 131, 171, 173, and 175
    2. BIOC 200, 201
  3. Completion of the following courses or their equivalents:
    1. SBIO 241 and 242
    2. at least four additional graduate level courses in physical or biological science
    3. BIOPHYS 250
    4. MED 255
  4. Opportunities for teaching are available during the first nine quarters, at the discretion of the advising committee.
  5. The student must prepare a dissertation proposal defining the research to be undertaken, including methods of procedure. This proposal should be submitted by Winter Quarter of the third year, and it must be approved by a committee of at least three members, including the principal research adviser and at least one member from the Biophysics Program. The candidate must defend the dissertation proposal in an oral examination. The dissertation reading committee normally evolves from the dissertation proposal review committee.
  6. The student must present a Ph.D. dissertation as the result of independent investigation that expresses a contribution to knowledge in the field of biophysics.
  7. The student must pass the University oral exam, taken only after the student has substantially completed the dissertation research. The examination is preceded by a public seminar in which the research is presented by the candidate.

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