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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Biology

University requirements for the Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

The graduate program in Structural Biology leads to the Ph.D. degree. The department also participates in the Medical Scientists Training Program (MSTP) in which individuals are candidates for both Ph.D. and M.D. degrees.

The graduate program is intended to prepare students for careers as independent investigators in cell and molecular biology. The principal requirement of a Ph.D. degree is the completion of research constituting an original and significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge. The requirements and recommendations for the Ph.D. degree include:

  1. Training in a major with connections to biophysics (e.g., 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. 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 Department of Structural Biology. 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 and expressing a contribution to knowledge in the field of structural biology.
  7. The student must pass the University oral examination, taken only after the student has substantially completed the research. The examination is preceded by a public seminar in which the research is presented by the candidate.

Applicants to the program should have a bachelor's degree and should have completed at least a year of course work in biology, mathematics, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and physics. Application forms must be received by the department before December 15 for notification by April 15. Application to the National Science Foundation for fellowship support is also encouraged. Remission of fees and a personal stipend are available to graduate students in the department. Prospective applicants should contact the Department of Structural Biology for further information.

Current topics of research in the department lie in the areas of gene expression; theoretical, crystallographic, and genetic analysis of protein structure; and cell-cell interaction. See for further information.

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