For admission, a candidate must present a clear and consistent case that he/she has the background, desire, and ability to complete a Biophysics graduate degree. An online admission form must be completed and the fee paid.

The application deadline is Friday, January 5, 2024There is no Spring semester admission.  

Program Goals

The Biophysics Ph.D. degree prepares students for original research and scholarship in biophysics. This preparation is achieved through a combination of advanced coursework, seminars, and original research in experimental and/or theoretical biophysics.

Students are exposed to a broad range of modern theories and experimental methods in order to enable them to address broad issues and problems in biophysics research. Students are expected to develop strong written and oral communication skills during the course of their education. Students will be taught to initiate original research problems, develop plans to solve the research problems, execute the plans, and document the scientific results in scientific publications and through participation in regional, national and international meetings and conferences.

Biophysics is a cross disciplinary program and students enter the program with a wide range of backgrounds, interests and experiences. The course curriculum will be tailored to each student individually in order to furnish them with a solid foundation in both the physical and biological sciences.

Financial Aid

We provide financial aid in the form of Teaching Assistantship (TA) and Dean's Fellowships to all entering graduate students. Funding also includes tuition remission and health insurance benefits. Outstanding students are automatically considered for University wide fellowships. In addition, individual faculty may offer Research Assistantships (RA) to exceptionally qualified students. It is expected that all students will be RAs after they choose their advisors.

Participating Institutions

Students, with the consent of UMD advising committee, can work in the neighboring National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well. Financial support for such students will come directly from NIST, NIH, or NCI-UMD Partnership. One participating faculty from the University of Maryland will oversee the progress of students who work outside the campus.

Road Map to a Ph.D.

When new students arrive they are assigned a two-member committee consisting of two Biophysics Faculty members. The students meet with the committee twice the first semester and once each following semester. In these meetings progress in courses, Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships and any other concerns of the students or faculty are discussed. One of the purposes of this committee is for students to get to know faculty members who they can ask for advice and later for recommendations for postdoctoral study/jobs. Once a thesis adviser has been selected, the adviser becomes part of the committee.

Mutual Expectations: The qualifier exam is taken during August at the end of the first year. At the end of the first year of the program, most students will mutually choose a thesis adviser and will work in the research laboratory of that adviser. They may take/audit one or two courses but generally they will concentrate on their research. Admission to candidacy varies but is generally at the end of the second year. Students make a research presentation to their three-member committee and the Director of the Program in order to be admitted to candidacy. The program usually takes five years to complete.


The participating faculty and others affiliated with the Biophysics program offer a number of courses to enable the students to enter the research phase of the program quickly. Because the program is interdisciplinary, the courses may be taught by more than one instructor with each one bringing different and unique perspective to the topics of interest. There are no formal course requirements. However, we advise the students to take enough courses so that they can pass a required qualifier exam to be taken nominally at the end of the first year in residence.

To sample a spectrum of research, we require participation in a research program (BIPH 699 - Research in Biophysics) in which a student spends a minimum of eight weeks in three laboratories in the first year. This course is two credits per semester. Students are expected to join a research laboratory at the end of their first year.

Existing Courses

  • BCHM461, Protein Folding/Dynamics, 3 credits
  • BCHM661, Nucleic Acids I, 2 credits
  • BCHM675, Biophysical Chemistry, 3 credits
  • BIOL622, Membranes and Ion Channels, 3 credits
  • BIOL708, Cell Biology for Physicists, 3 credits
  • BIOL708A, Advanced Topics in Biology: Cell Biology, 3 credits
  • BIOL708O, Advanced Topics in Biology: Cell Biology from a Biophysical Perspective, 3 credits
  • BSCI426 and BIOL622, Membrane Transport Phenomena, 3 credits
  • CHEM699D, Protein Structure, Folding and Dynamics, 3 credits
  • CHEM684, Thermodynamics, 3 credits
  • CHEM687, Statistical Mechanics, 3 credits
  • CHEM689, Introduction to Biological Physics, 3 credits
  • CHEM699E, NEW COURSE: "Theory of Soft Matter and Biopolymers", 3 credits
  • PHYS789N, Basic Biophysics for Motion in Cells, 3 credits
  • PHYS601, Theoretical Dynamics, 3 Credits
  • PHYS603, Methods of Statistical Physics, 3 credits
  • PHYS604, Methods of mathematical physics, 3 credits
  • PHYS606, Electrodynamics, 4 credits
  • PHYS615, Nonlinear Dynamics of Extended Systems, 3 credits
  • PHYS622, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I, 4 credits
  • PHYS623, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II, 3 credits
  • PHYS818M, Special Topics in General Physics: Physics of Cancer, 2 credits

Courses to be Developed

  • Graduate Laboratory Course in Biophysics, 4 credits