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Program Overview

We seek applicants who have demonstrated strong ability in one field and who exhibit solid experience in a secondary field (through a minor discipline or research and work experiences). Once enrolled, you will be encouraged to achieve greater disciplinary knowledge, expand your familiarity with a secondary discipline and further explore a third.

IQ Biology is a certificate PhD program through CU Boulder's BioFrontiers Institute. The certificate is earned in concordance with a degree-granting PhD program. Students learn Interdisciplinary Quantitative skills, while also gaining in-depth knowledge of their field through their degree-granting PhD program of study with one of our ten partner departments' degree-granting programs of study.

Through the IQ Biology program, students learn the essential competencies demonstrated by knowledgeable, and well-rounded researchers who collaborate effectively across disciplines. These competencies are attained in a number of ways, including courses, lab rotations, outreach activities, and science engagement.

Three interdisciplinary “core” courses have been developed to provide IQ Biology students with a deeper knowledge of mathematical and computational approaches to solving bioscience and bioengineering problems. These core courses serve as the foundation of the IQ Biology curriculum and are taken together by all first-year IQ Biology students:

  • Quantitative Optical Imaging Lecture and Recitation 
  • Bioinformatics and Genomics OR Mathematical and Computational Biology
  • Cells, Molecules and Tissues, a Biophysical Approach OR Biophysics

These courses are augmented by two elective "gap-filling" courses that allow students to learn more in relevant areas to which they have been minimally exposed. 

Students also experience three 10-week research rotations with faculty across two or more departments to gain laboratory, experimental, and computational skills across disciplines.

Agreements have already been worked out between IQ Biology and the degree-granting programs of study to ensure that the combination of your certificate in IQ Biology and your PhD will not add more than an additional semester of graduate work. After joining a particular degree program of study, your participation in the IQ Biology program will continue to ensure greater access to interdisciplinary resources, collaborators, and ideas.

Click here for more details about curriculum. Click here to learn more about our partner degree-granting programs of study/departments. Click here for more information about graduate education at the University of Colorado Boulder.

After completing all program requirements, graduating students will receive a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology in addition to their PhD. 

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