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IQ Biology Certificate Completion 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.

Upon completion of the IQ Biology Program, students receive a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology from the CU Boulder Graduate School, in addition to a PhD from their degree-granting home department. Completion of the IQ Biology Program requires students to fulfill specific requirements. These requirements 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-granting programs of study/departments, however formal agreements with several departments minimize time to degree.

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


COURSE REQUIREMENTS (Must receive a B- or better for each course.)

First year fall semester:

  • Core Course: Quantitative Optical Imaging (4 credit hours)
  • 1st Gap-Filling Course (3 credit hours)
  • First IQ Biology Research Rotation (3 credit hours)

First year spring semester:

  • 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 Gap-Filling Course (3 credit hours) (optional)
  • 2nd and 3rd IQ Biology Research Rotations (3 credit hours)

Before end of second academic year:

  • Ethics Course or Workshop


Before end of first academic year:

  • Three 10-week research rotations
  • Choose de Program of Study and Faculty Advisor – Choose any degree-granting program of study you were pre-approved for upon enrollment into CU Boulder, or any other approved through IQ Biology and the program of study.  To formalize your choice, you must meet with IQ Biology director and graduate chair and faculty advisor of chosen department before May 15 of first year.

Before graduation (completion of PhD requirements):

  • Annual Dissertation Committee Meetings
  • Dissertation (with demonstrated interdisciplinary focus)



  • Three IQ Biology Academic Advising Meetings
  • Weekly IQ Biology Idea Exchanges
  • IQ Biology Seminar Series
  • BioInformatics Supergroup
  • IQ Biology Symposium
  • Outreach and Community Engagement Activity - 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 first 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 first 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 first ear.

 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 of study or funding source 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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