University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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156 Davenport Hall MC-147, 607 South Mathews Avenue Urbana, IL 61801 USA
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Director: Robert M Clegg       Administrative Coordinator: Cindy Dodds
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Program in Biophysics Graduate Student Handbook

Biophysics Requirements

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Requirement Time Allotted Comments
BIOP 401 (Intro to Biophysics) Must complete within 1st semester All students are required to take this course.
First 32 hours of coursework Must complete by the end of first year fall, spring, summer Includes any biophysics course. Meet by registering full-time all 3 terms.
Computational Biology OR Lab Course Must complete by end of 3rd year If research is computational in nature, must take a lab course (BIOC 455, PHYS 598OM, PHYS 552 or equivalent).  If research is experimental in nature, must take a computation course (BIOP 470, BIOP 586C or equivalent).
500-level Biophysics coursework Must complete by end of 3rd year 2 courses from pre-approved list. May petition to substitute 500-level courses from other departments, but work must be biophysical in main content, and courses must be pre-approved by Director before registering.
Additional 400- & 500-level coursework to bring science courses to 2nd 32 hours of coursework Must complete prior to prelim Includes coursework in Biophysics & other science and engineering departments.
BIOP 581, 582, 583 (Lab Rotations) Must complete before end of 1st semester Each rotation = 2 hours (3 rotations required - 1 per rubric)
BIOP 586 (Tutorials) Must complete by end of 3rd year Each tutorial = 1 hour (2 tutorials required)
BIOP 590 (Individual Research) Must complete at least 1 semester before taking BIOP 599 After joining a lab, register for BIOP 590 with advisor.
BIOP 595 A (Seminar) ALL 1st year and 2nd year students Must be taken for 4 semesters. 1 hour
BIOP 595 B (Faculty Research Seminars) ALL 1st year students Available only in the Fall. 1 hour
BIOP 599 (Thesis Research) Register every semester after passage of BQE/32 hours of coursework (generally after 2nd year) Graded DF until graduation. 0-12 hours per semester. Total of 32 hours of 599 required for graduation.
Qualifying Exam (BQE) Must complete before end of 2nd year; offered spring semester only after 2007. Passing based on: written exam, oral exam, total academic record, student's objectives and motivation, research potential, acceptance into research group (additionally, International students must pass SPEAK).
Preliminary Exam By end of 3rd year in the program, after passing BQE
(If more than 5 years elapse between the prelim and final, a 2nd prelim must be passed before allowed to defend)
20-30 minute oral exam to examine the validity of the research & test the student's fitness to carry out independent research, based on 20-30 pg proposal. Must also submit a 1- page project summary report to Biophysics office.
Final Exam May not be taken sooner than 6 months after Prelim, but must be taken before end of 5 years after first registration Public presentation and defense of thesis work, usually 50 minute presentation, then Q&A session.
Teaching Strongly suggested to complete by 2nd or 3rd year ALL students minimum of one semester.
Ethics course Must be taken in 1st year All students in their first year minimum of one semester course on ethics in science. MCB 580 is taught each spring semester and meets the requirement.
EPI test Must pass by end of 1st year
(UIUC allows students to attempt 3 times)
International students are required to pass EPI test before can be a TA, and for passage of the BQE.
Annual Review by faculty or Director To be conducted annually ALL students. Students should provide 2-page synopsis of work completed/progress each year, if requested.


Tutorials may NOT be taken on the same topic as a lab rotation and cannot be taken with advisor!!

Tutorials = Meet with professor to determine subject to research. Write a 6-10 page paper on readings agreed upon by student and the professor.

Lab Rotations = Meet with professor weekly to determine research work and progress.