Program of Study

In their first year, students will participate in curricular activities designed to foster critical thinking and broad understanding of the tools and knowledge that underpin molecular and quantitative investigations of biological mechanisms. All students must take courses in four broadly defined areas: Macromolecular Biophysics (one course), Cells and Organisms (one course), Quantitative Biology (one course), and Critical Thinking (one course). Examples of core courses in these areas are shown below. In addition to formal course requirements, first-year students are required to do at least three lab rotations, and all must take our Responsible Conduct of Research course.

Macromolecular Biophysics:

  • Biophysical Analysis of Macromolecular Structures and Interactions¬†
  • Biophysics I: Structural Methods
  • Biophysics II: Spectroscopy

Cells and Organisms:

  • Advanced Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
  • Basic Concepts of Genetic Analysis
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Physiological Systems
  • Principles of Pharmacology
  • Principles of Signal Transduction

Quantitative Biology: 

  • Biological Physics
  • Computational Methods for Analysis & Modeling of Biological Data
  • Dynamical Systems in Biology
  • Introduction to Statistics: Life Sciences
  • Quantitative approaches in Biophysics and Biochemistry

Critical Thinking:

  • Methods & Logic in Molecular Biology
BQBS Track students choose a departmental affiliation (usually the same as that of their research advisor) at the end of their first year. Each of the major participating departments has course requirements that can be satisfied in large part by courses from the four core areas mentioned above. Additional, specialized courses and electives that students take in the first and second years will enable them to fulfill the course requirements of the department they join. Track students will typically join one of the following departments: Cell Biology, Cellular & Molecular Physiology (CMP), Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry (MB&B), Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB), or Pharmacology.