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Biophysics, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #13 (ARWU) Ithaca, NY, United States
Graduate study in biophysics is interdisciplinary and highly individualized. Students majoring in biophysics are expected to obtain a broad, interdisciplinary knowledge of fundamental principles in both the biological and physical sciences. But because biophysics covers a wide range of areas, it would be unrealistic to expect to master each facet in detail.
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  • The field's members are drawn from fourteen departments in seven campus units, and include three members of the National Academy of Sciences. International and national honors won by members of the Cornell biophysics faculty include the Biological Physics prize of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry, the Pfizer Award, and Guggenheim and Fogarty Foundation fellowships.
  • Research facilities for X-ray crystallography, optical, laser, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and computation include the Cornell Theory Center (supercomputing); the Center for High Energy Synchrotron Studies; MacCHESS (Macromolecular Crystallography at the Center for High Energy Synchrotron Studies), the Developmental Resource for Biophysical Imaging Optoelectronics, the Center for Advanced Technology in Biotechnology; the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility; the Keck 3D Stereo Viewing Theater; the Biomolecular NMR Center; and the Chemistry NMR Facility.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • A student working in computational modeling of protein motions will develop a strong background in statistical physics, computational science and chemistry, while a student involved in laser studies of proteins in biological membranes will develop a strong background in quantum physics, instrumentation, chemistry and biomembranes.
  • At the point of passing the "A" exam -- usually after two years of study -- each student is expected to demonstrate competence in specific subject areas that serve as a foundation for further work. Areas of required competence are: advanced mathematics, physical chemistry (i.e., statistical mechanics and/or quantum mechanics), biochemistry and molecular cell biology, computer literacy and/or laboratory electronics and instrumentation, and advanced studies in molecular biophysics and associated areas of biological and physical sciences.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

  • Applicants must have a strong background in the physical sciences, and must submit scores on the GRE general test and on a relevant GRE subject test (physics or chemistry preferred). TOEFL scores of Writing (20), Listening (15), Reading (20) and Speaking (22) or higher are also required of all non-native English speaking applicants

Tuition Fee

  • International

    20800 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 20800 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    20800 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 20800 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Ithaca

  • 1128 - 2460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


All Biophysics students receive full support for the period of time typically needed to complete the program (between 5-6 years), as long as they are making satisfactory progress in all aspects of their program (academic, research and teaching). This support includes a stipend, full tuition as well as individual medical insurance. (Supplemental family health insurance, dental, and vision insurance is also available for the students to purchase).

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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