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In recognition of the extraordinary challenges and new opportunities in biological research, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) offers a PhD degree umbrella program that trains students to be simultaneously conversant in the languages of biology, physics, and mathematics.

The Integrative Program in Quantitative Biology (iPQB) brings together coursework that focuses on applying physical, mathematical, and systems approaches to biological problems. It prepares students to tackle the most challenging problems in understanding cellular structure and function in molecular detail.

Applicants interested in the Biophysics PhD degree program or the BI pathway of the BMI PhD degree program will submit one application to iPQB, and are accepted into the iPQB umbrella program. Students will then select a graduate program at the end of their first year. Graduate study in iPQB leads to a PhD degree in either Biophysics or Bioinformatics. Complex Biological Systems is a designated emphasis within each of these degree-granting programs, and will be listed on the graduate’s diploma if chosen.

iPQB’s core curriculum is drawn from the:

  1. Biophysics Graduate Program (BP)
  2. Bioinformatics (BI) pathway of the Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program (BMI)
  3. Optional designated emphasis in Complex Biological Systems (CBS) offered in both.

iPQB combines a remarkably rich and collaborative environment with beautiful, new research facilities at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus to provide an ideal opportunity for training students at the interface of the physical and life sciences. iPQB is designed to equally accommodate students with a broad range of backgrounds, from pure mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science to biology, biochemistry, and cell biology. The program includes more than 50 faculty members from six different UCSF departments; and more quantitative faculty members being actively recruited. Approximately 95 students are currently enrolled in the program.