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IQ Biology Certificate Criteria

To receive this certificate, students must satisfactorily complete the IQ Biology program requirements outlined in the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with each of the participating departments.

IQ Biology students receive from the graduate school a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology in addition to a PhD. Completion of the certificate program requires students to fulfill specific requirements. These prerequisites are designed to ensure that students, in addition to their disciplinary ability, demonstrate fundamental competencies in mathematics, computation, and biology. The program requirements are distinct from those stipulated by doctoral degree programs; however formal agreements minimize time to degree.

The certificate is listed on the transcript and demonstrates that the faculty have determined that the student has completed the following steps and has demonstrated that they have completed the following course, research, dissertation, and activity requirements.

Course Requirements (Must receive a B- or better for each course.)



Core Course: Quantitative Optical Imaging (4 credit hours)

First IQ Biology Research Rotation (3 credits)

1stGap-Filling Course (3 credits)



Core Course: Bioinformatics and Genomics (4 credit hours) OR Mathematical and Computational Biology (4 credit hours)

Core Course: Cells, Molecules and Tissues, a Biophysical Approach (4 credit hours) OR Biophysics (4 credit hours)

2nd and 3rd IQ Biology Research Rotations (3 credit hours)

2nd Gap-Filling Course (3 credit hours) (optional)

All domestic graduate students must file for residency with the university.


Ethics Course or Workshop


Research Requirements

Three 10-week research rotations

Choose Degree Program and Research Advisor

Annual Dissertation Committee Meetings

Dissertation (with demonstrated interdisciplinary focus)


Activity Requirements

Three IQ Biology Academic Advising Meetings

Weekly IQ Biology Idea Exchange

IQ Biology Seminar Series

Data Science Supergroup

IQ Biology Symposium


Teaching (optional)

Internship (optional)

Choose Your Degree Program – Choose any degree program you were pre-approved for, or any other by arrangement.  To formalize your choice, you must meet with graduate chair and advisor of chosen department before May 15 of 1st year.



Thesis Committee Meetings – Must be held every year and include an out-of-discipline IQ Biology Faculty member. 



Dissertation – Complete a Ph.D. in accordance to the specified degree program rules and the MOU modifications to those rules (including coursework, teaching, exams, etc.). Your dissertation must include an interdisciplinary component.

Outreach – Must participate in at least one outreach activity pre-approved by IQ Biology mentoring committee.  

Teaching (optional)  IQ Biology does not have a specific teaching requirement, but your chosen degree program may have a requirement. There are opportunities for students to teach in the IQ Biology core courses if you are interested. 

 Internship (optional)  Usually done in the summer between the 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd years.



Requests for exceptions to these requirements must be made in writing to the academic advising committee and approved by the academic advising committee. For example, a student may want to request to take a gap-filing course or ethics course after her/his 1st year if the course is only offered every other year.

Clarification of “New” versus “Current” Students:

 “New” students are those joining IQ Biology in their 1st year as a graduate student; most of our incoming students are new students. “Current” students are already pursuing a Ph.D. in one of our participating departments and have joined IQ Biology sometime after their 1st year.

 Current students are required to complete all of the above items EXCEPT:

·      They are only required to take up to one gap-filling course (as determined by the IQ Biology Academic Advising Committee).

·      They are not required to do research rotations.

·      They are not required to take an ethics course or workshop, unless their degree program requires one.

·      They have already chosen their degree program.

·      They must complete their degree according to the rules set out in their degree program guidelines (the MOUs with IQ Biology do not apply).

·      Their participation in the Core Courses and Idea Exchange will take place in their 1st year in the IQ Biology program, rather than their 1st year as a graduate student.

·      Occasionally, current students may have successfully petitioned (on their application) that previous related coursework would count in place of one of the Core Courses.



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