Curriculum

The Graduate School does not set course requirements; these are set by the Field of Biophysics and your Special Committee (see Course Enrollment).  You should talk to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and/or your Special Committee about the courses that you should take. Dates for course enrollment are set by the University Registrar (https://registrar.cornell.edu/).  Make sure that you register in accordance with the published dates.  NOTE:  The Graduate School will only consider Course Enrollment Petitions in extremely extenuating circumstances.

Federal regulations require that all students enroll in at least 12 credit hours/semester.  You should not feel obligated to enroll in 12 credit hours of actual coursework unless your DGS/Special Committee consider(s) it necessary.  Enroll only in the courses that you need/want to take.  In the fall and spring semesters, the Graduate School will enroll students in their Graduate Dissertation Research course in order to ensure that your record reflects 12 credit hours.  

Summer Enrollment:  All graduate students are required to enroll in the Graduate Dissertation Research (via Student Center) for the summer; the deadline for this is the end of May.  This is necessary if you are receiving a stipend or plan to use university facilities such as libraries, computer centers, and the Gannett Health Center.  (Please note:  If you register after May 31, FICA taxes will be withdrawn from your paycheck.)

Time Away From the University:  The graduate student schedule/calendar does NOT follow the undergraduate schedule. Graduate students are paid on a 12-month stipend and are expected to be present and actively working on their academics and research project unless the university itself is officially closed.  If you plan on being gone for a significant period of time, you must have the approval of your advisor and notify the Graduate Field Assistant of your intentions.

Courses should be taken for letter grade with a minimum grade of B-. Option of S/U for one course is allowed. Audits are not acceptable. Subject or Course Subject Complete 1.

Grade Expectations: For courses with a letter grade, students are expected to receive a “B” (3.0) or better in order to remain in good standing in the program.  If a student receives a C+ or lower grade in any core Biophysics course, no credit is given for that course, implying that the course must be retaken if it is a required course.  

1. Advanced Mathematics:

One or more semesters at the advanced level; two semesters of graduate level mathematics are recommended.

  • AEP 4210 (Mathematical Physics I) and AEP 4220 (Mathematical Physics II)

or

  • MATH 4200 (Differential Equations & Dynamical Systems) and MATH 4220 (Applied Complex Analysis)

or

  • TAM 3100 (Introduction to Applied Mathematics I) or TAM 6100 (Methods of Applied Mathematics I) and TAM 6110 (Methods of Applied Mathematics II)

or

  • CHEM 7870 (Mathematical Methods of Physical Chemistry)

2. Quantum Mechanics:

One or more semesters at the graduate level

  • CHEM 3890 (Honors Physical Chemistry I)

or

  • CHEM 7930 (Quantum Mechanics I)

or

  • PHYS 4443 (Intermediate Quantum Mechanics)

or

  • PHYS 6572 (Quantum Mechanics I)

3. Statistical Mechanics:

One or more semesters at the graduate level

  • PHYS 6562 (Statistical Physics I)

or

  • PHYS 7653 (Statistical Physics II)

or

  • CHEM 7960 (Statistical Mechanics)

4. Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology:

One or more semesters of basic biochemistry; and one semester of molecular cell biology.

Basic Biochemistry
  • BIOMG 3300 (Principles of Biochemistry, Individualized Instruction)

or

  • BIOMG 3330 (Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins, Metabolism, & Molecular Biology)

or

  • BIOMG 3310 (Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins & Metabolism) and BIOMG 3320 (Principles of Biochemistry: Molecular Biology)
Molecular Cell Biology
  • BIOMG 4320 (Survey of Cell Biology)

or

  • BIOMG 4400 (Laboratory in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

or

  • BIOMG 6310 (Protein Structure & Function)

or

  • BIOMG 6360 (Functional Organization of Eukaryotic Cells)
  • Note: BIOMG 6390 (The Nucleus) is a valuable course, but does not satisfy requirements on its own

5. Advanced Studies of Molecular Biophysics and Associated Areas of Biological and Physical Science

  • AEP 4700 (Biophysical Methods)

or

  • One Elective

6. Ethics

  • BIOMG 7510 (Ethical Issues & Professional Responsibilities)

7. Computer Literacy

Laboratory Electronics and Instrumentation: In lieu of undergraduate experience, computer experience may be gained through either appropriate course study or research experience.

  • PHYS 3360 (Electronic Circuits)

or

  • AEP 3630 (Electronic Circuits)

or

  • Research experience

8. Fall Biophysics Symposium (required yearly)

  • BIOMG 4310 Frontiers in Biophysics