The aim of the molecular biophysics core curriculum is to select and educate researchers who are capable of applying the tools and concepts of the physical sciences to the solution of significant biological problems. Many important contributions in molecular biophysics are a synthesis of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics not found in a single traditional discipline. The molecular biophysics core curriculum therefore goes beyond the curricula of individual academic disciplines and sets its own guidelines for courses and the character of dissertation research. The requirements are, nevertheless, consistent with those of existing graduate programs at Rutgers so that the students can earn a Ph.D. in one of the major academic disciplines with a concentration in molecular biophysics.
Supplemental work for molecular biophysics is designed to enable the students to do the following: (1) receive broad exposure to the principles and methods of molecular biophysics along with rigorous training in the relevant physical science, (2) combine course requirements with those in existing predoctoral programs, (3) choose from a wide range of courses in molecular biophysics not specifically included in the requirements, and (4) master a curriculum that meets his or her individual needs.
Because students in the program come from a variety of backgrounds and have different interests, the course structure is flexible. Formal course requirements are limited to a core program in biophysical chemistry and a choice of two advanced courses.
All students are expected to complete a sequence of laboratory rotations and to register every semester for the core curriculum seminar. The laboratory rotation is intended to provide students with broad exposure to the methods of molecular biophysics and to assist them in choosing dissertation advisers. The aim of the seminar course is to provide in-depth exposure to new developments in the field as well as to unify the molecular biophysics students and faculty. Students also work in depth with a faculty mentor on a dissertation problem. The emphasis of the research training is on the structures, interactions, and physicochemical properties of biological macromolecules.
The program additionally offers wide latitude in the choice of advanced electives, allowing students and faculty to design curricula to match individual needs. Students in the program are expected to have a common minimal background in the physical and biological sciences. Courses are taken to fill gaps in background as well as to provide intensive training in the particular area in which the student plans to carry out research. The departmental courses offered at Rutgers provide a rich resource for this purpose. Most students are expected to take four to five years to complete degree requirements.